Jazz vs. Nuggets Betting Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions: Back Utah on Back-to-Back?

Jazz vs. Nuggets Betting Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions: Back Utah on Back-to-Back? article feature image

Photo credit: Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Utah Jazz

Jazz at Nuggets Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions

  • Spread: Nuggets -1
  • Over/Under: 215.5
  • Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: TNT

Odds as of Thursday afternoon and via FanDuel, where Action Network users get a risk-free bet up to $500.

The Jazz are on a road back-to-back in altitude in Denver, but how much should that be worth to the spread?

Will the Nuggets rally in this big game despite missing three key contributors in Jamal Murray, Paul Millsap and Mason Plumlee? Below I break down some key betting trends, how sharps are attacking this game and my personal thoughts on the matchup.

Betting Trend to Know

In division games, when the under is getting half the bets or less and the total has moved down or stayed even, it’s been historically profitable to tail that line movement (data from Bet Labs):

The under matches currently in this game, as the over has gotten 71% of the bets, but the total hasn’t budged since opening at 215.5.

How Sharps Are Betting This Game

The public is on the Nuggets and the over, as those sides are getting 57% and 71% of the bets, respectively. But the total hasn’t budged, and the spread has actually moved from Nuggets -1.5 at opening to -1 at most books. That’s due to a steam move on the Jazz at +2:

The Jazz and under definitely seem to be the sharp sides so far today: While those sides are getting the minority of bets, they’re each getting 65% of the total money wagered.

Bryan Mears: Back the Jazz on Back-to-Back?

I think it’s important to remember that an efficient betting market is designed to highlight a spread and total — and thus predicted points and the outcome — for a median performance. But life and sports don’t work that way; everything has a range of outcomes, and often things don’t fall right in the middle.

So just because you lost (or won) a bet, it doesn’t mean you didn’t correctly find value on that median outcome. Perhaps a team, or both teams for a total, just played way above or below median expectations, falling in the tails of a range of outcomes plot.

That happened last night with the Jazz against the Spurs, who hit 71.4% (30-of-42) of their mid-rangers. They went 10-of-14 for the same percentage specifically on long mid-rangers. At the rim, the Spurs hit eight of their nine shots.

The Jazz actually defended the outside very well, but the Spurs just drained everything. It’s a make-or-miss league, and the Spurs didn’t miss. Even on tough shots: Per NBA.com, the Spurs posted an 82.1% eFG% on tightly-contested shots.

Now if this was a bad defense, I’d be more hesitant to call it a fluke. Some teams give up a lot of open shots and are more liable to give up higher range-of-outcome performances. But the Jazz don’t do that: Over the last month, they’ve ranked in the top 10 in expected eFG% allowed. The defense, while not as elite as it was last season, is still a very good unit.

Speaking of the last month, the Jazz’s data is still incredible despite the loss. In that time, they’re second in the league with a +11.3 Net Rating, first with a 121.5 Offensive Rating and 10th with a 110.2 Defensive Rating. The Nuggets, meanwhile, are 16th, 12th and 23rd, respectively, in those categories.

And honestly, the Nuggets haven’t exactly impressed even in their recent wins. They put up just 96 on the Grizzlies in a loss on Tuesday, beat a Rockets team that’s reeling and was missing James Harden, beat a weird Pelicans team that was getting used to Zion Williamson entering the rotation and got blown out by that same Rockets team when Harden actually played.

They are still dealing with injury concerns, as Jamal Murray and Paul Millsap remain out. Torrey Craig is currently starting a point guard, although in that starting unit obviously Will Barton and Nikola Jokic will run the offense. Monte Morris, an awesome backup last year, has had growing pains this season.

The data without those guys continues to be poor, despite getting some wins without them lately (again, against questionable teams). With Murray and Millsap off the floor, the Nuggets have posted a -3.5 Net Rating. Even with the rest of the starters on, the team in a small sample has posted an Offensive Rating in the ninth percentile.

Now, it’s important to note the Jazz are on a road back-to-back here, and the Nuggets have historically done well in these spots given the elevation. But 1) the Jazz have been awesome on back-to-backs this season, posting a +9.7 Net Rating, and 2) I’m not sure the edge really applies, as the Jazz are used to elevation themselves, training and playing in Salt Lake City constantly.

Maybe I’ll look like a fool again, but I’m continuing to buy this Jazz team, which has seemingly fixed its early-season issues: protecting the ball and shot profile.

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.

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