Jazz vs. Nuggets NBA Picks and Odds Analysis

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Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz blocks Harrison Barnes #40 of the Sacramento Kings. Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images/AFP

The Utah Jazz are pretty banged up as they head into Denver tonight to play the Nuggets.

Utah is a road favorite in the NBA odds, but their injury report has the money coming in on the Nuggets.

Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets

Wednesday, January 05, 2022 – 10:00 PM EST at Ball Arena

Protocols Have Hit Utah

The Jazz have been relatively spared from the rash of health and safety protocols that hit the NBA over the last month, but that changed recently with Joe Ingles headed into isolation.

While Ingles is the only member of the team to get a positive result, the injury bug has also hit the Jazz and it’s making handicapping their game tonight in Denver a little tough. Several other members of the Jazz rotation and starting lineup are questionable, which has sent these NBA odds plummeting.

Rudy Gobert, Bojan Bogdanovic and Royce O’Neale are all questionable for Wednesday with various injuries and off the bench, Hassan Whiteside is questionable as well.

With the potential for both Jazz centers to be out tonight, that doesn’t bode well for their chances. If Bogdanovic and O’Neale sit out as well, that will leave the Jazz thin on the wing too. Some of them could suit up but with four guys listed questionable, it’s hard to see them all being upgraded to probable by game time tonight.

The Sharp Analysis

While the Jazz injury report is a little tricky, for our purposes, only Gobert really matters. Gobert’s defense has been other-worldly this year and it’s showing up in almost every metric you can think of. With Gobert on the court this season, the Jazz are 5.5 points per 100 possessions better on defense.

The good news is that, as of writing this, the only player that the Jazz have added on a 10-day contract is Danuel House, which might be bad news for Bogdanovic and O’Neale’s statuses.

However, they haven’t yet signed another big man, which will hopefully bode well for Gobert, because we need his defense in a game where I’m shooting my shot at the first half under.

The Nuggets have clawed their way back to respectable on defense, especially at home. Denver ranks ninth in first-half defensive efficiency at home, while the Jazz rank sixth.

Furthermore, lately, the Nuggets have really started to ramp back up their first-half defense. Over their last five games, Denver is allowing just 100 points per 100 possessions in the first half, which ranks second-best in the NBA over that stretch.

The first time these two teams met, way back in October, the first half was a fast-paced shootout with both teams dropping more than 60 points.

The Sharp Pick

With all the injuries since then for both teams and with the Denver defense playing much better since the start of the year, I think they will hold each other down in the first half of this one for our NBA pick tonight.

Be on the lookout for Gobert’s status, but in an ideal world, we will get him to play and everyone else will sit, hurting the Utah offense more than their defense in this matchup.

I also like the full-game under, but the first half should have the best value for now, until we find out more about the Jazz injury situation.

NBA Pick: 1st Half Total Under 108.5 (-110) at BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review)

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1st Half Total Under 108.5 (-110)
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