Sunday NBA Playoffs Odds, Picks & Betting Predictions: Jazz vs. Nuggets Game 4 (Aug. 23)
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Rudy Gobert, Jamal Murray
- The Jazz are favored over the short-handed Nuggets in Game 4 of their first-round series.
- Reed Wallach thinks the market has overreacted and that bettors should buy low on Denver on Sunday night.
- Get his full breakdown and analysis below.
Jazz vs. Nuggets Betting Odds
|Jazz Odds||-3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Nuggets Odds||+3.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-167/+140 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||215.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
Off back-to-back blowout wins, the Utah Jazz have taken control of their first-round series against the Denver Nuggets.
The Jazz really let the Nugs have it in Game 3, winning 124-87 and covering as the late-action 1.5-point favorite. The onus is on Denver to respond to the embarrassing loss, with Friday’s game being an indictment of the team’s effort.
Will Mike Malone rally the troops and fight back to even the series, or will the Nuggets roll over and take the beating for two more games? Let’s break it down.
With Mike Conley back in the rotation, the Jazz went from figuring it out to firing on all cylinders.
After leaving the bubble for the birth of his child last week, Conley used the apparent baby boost to score 27 points on 9-of-13 shooting — he was a +24 on the floor in his first game back in Orlando. The Jazz were 14 points better with him on the floor in the seeding games, and his presence takes some of the pressure off Donovan Mitchell while also giving them a steady ball handler.
Utah has continued to make Denver pay from beyond the arc.
By attacking lackadaisical Nuggets rotations, the Jazz have swung the ball around the perimeter quickly and efficiently, drilling the open shot with ease. In Game 3, Utah shot 18-of-37 from deep and had firm control of the matchup by the middle of the second quarter. On top of the incredible shooting display, Utah was +7 in turnovers and got to the free throw line 15 more times than Denver.
For Quinn Snyder and his club, the key will be maintaining the aggression.
The Jazz have brought energy that has yet to be matched by the Nuggets since the late stages of Game 1 of this series. Utah has won all the 50/50 balls and Rudy Gobert imposed his will on Nikola Jokic in the battle of foreign big men, going for 24 points and 14 rebounds in 31 minutes on Friday.
There is a path for Denver to win the ever-important Game 4, but if Utah is going to bring the intensity level it brought to Game 3, the Nuggets will be looking ahead to the offseason.
In the worst performance of the postseason thus far, Denver got worked up and down the floor on Friday.
From the jump, Jokic and Co. did not seem very interested in making the necessary rotations off Mitchell penetration or hustling for loose balls. The Jazz established a double-digit lead by the end of the first quarter, and were at one point leading the Nuggets by 39 points in the fourth before winning by 37.
There’s not much to take from the game, Denver just got beat — badly. Now the question is: How do the Nuggets respond?
The Denver team that went seven games against the Portland Trail Blazers in last season’s Western Conference Semifinals is still mostly in tact. Clearly, the Nuggets are feeling the effects of losing Will Barton and Gary Harris, who added some defensive punch to check Mitchell. Barton remains sidelined while Harris has been upgraded to doubtful for Game 4, but be sure to check the Labs NBA Insiders tool for the latest updates.
Before the series started, Denver had the role player edge, but that hasn’t been the case through the first three games. But while the Nuggets need more from their reserves and complimentary players, Jokic will need to bring a significantly better effort in Game 4.
Jokic is an all-world talent and needs to show some fire for Game 4 unless he wants his season to end abruptly. Gobert is a reigning back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year and Jokic is far from that, but that is no excuse to get beat to rebounds play after play.
Jokic worked the Stifle Tower in the regular season, yet he has not had nearly as much success in the bubble postseason.
Part of Nuggets’ strategy should be getting to the free throw line more often. They settled for jump shots way too often on Friday and are last among current playoff teams in free throw attempts, averaging 17 per game. They were bottom of the league in attempts over the regular season, but still had nearly four more per game.
It’s time for the Nuggets to start getting some easy opportunities — and that starts with bringing some fire to the floor.
Will Denver respond to getting it so bad from Utah? Well, it starts with the coach, and Malone did not have his team ready to go on Friday — a fundamental failure on all parts.
That said, Malone has historically gotten the best from his players off a bad loss: In the game following a loss of 15 or more points, Malone’s clubs are 34-22-1 (58%) against the spread, a 13.1% return on investment according to our BetLabs data — though it can’t go unsaid that two of those losses ATS have come in the postseason.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Utah opened as a 2.5-point favorite and was quickly bet up to -3. Now the Jazz are -3.5 as of writing.
Utah just punked Denver in two straight games and now has all the confidence in the world. But just like when I bought low on the total and went with the under in Game 3, I’m going to buy low on the Nuggets for Game 4.
If Utah is going to just blow the doors off Denver for four straight games after losing Game 1 in overtime, I guess I’ll pay to see it. But the Nuggets have the talent to not only hang with the Jazz, but beat them. It just starts with effort, and after back-to-back blowouts, I would think there’s a spirited effort from Denver.
Remember that this Nuggets team trailed an inferior Spurs team 2-1 in the first round of the last postseason before winning that series. Let’s see if Denver can turn it around again.
We haven’t seen it yet, but with backs against the wall, there is no better time to dig in and play some defense. Denver has been a bad defensive team since the restart, but I do think that merely putting up more of a fight on that end can tip the scales back — defense turns into offense and that can lead to confidence, which can help jumpstart Jokic and Jamal Murray.
I’ve been high on the Nuggets and they have let me down the past two games, but I do think this is the right spot to buy low on them in a must-win situation.
THE PICK: Denver +3.5 (wouldn’t play past +2.5)