Nuggets vs. Jazz NBA Odds & Picks: Back Jokic, Denver on the Road in Utah (May 7)
Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic.
- In a potential preview of a Western Conference playoff matchup, Utah and Denver meet for the third and final time in the regular season.
- Denver hasn't skipped much of a beat since losing Jamal Murray for the season, while Utah has won three in a row.
- See which side Roberto Arguello is backing, below.
Nuggets vs. Jazz Odds
|Moneyline||+128 / -152|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds as of Friday morning and via FanDuel.|
The Jazz host the Nuggets Friday night in the third and final meeting between these teams this season. The season series is split one game a piece, with each team winning on the road in January.
While the Nuggets are coming off of an impressive 113-97 win over the red-hot Knicks on Wednesday, the Jazz have won three-straight games after blowing out the Spurs in consecutive games on Monday and Wednesday.
This is an important matchup in the Western Conference as the Jazz sit one game ahead of the Suns for first place, while the Nuggets are tied for third (own tiebreaker) with the Clippers.
If the Nuggets cover as road underdogs, they need Michael Porter Jr. and Nikola Jokic at their best, as their four highest-scoring guards will all be out. Jamal Murray (torn ACL) is out for the season while Will Barton (right hamstring strain), PJ Dozier (right adductor strain), and Monte Morris (right hamstring strain) all remain out.
Jokic, the frontrunner for MVP, remains dominant, averaging 26.4 points, 10.9 rebounds and 8.4 assists per game this season. With the backcourt’s health an issue, Jokic has stepped up lately to help the Nuggets win 10 of 12 games since Murray’s injury.
Jokic has scored at least 30 points in four of the last five games, including Wednesday’s dominant win over the Knicks when he scored 26 points in the first half. His improved 3-point shooting (up to 40.5% this season from 31.4% last season), paired with his incredible vision and passing has made him the best player in the NBA this season.
Nikola Jokic just put on a clinic in the first half 🔥
And four dunks 👀pic.twitter.com/knkL6cgV4S
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 6, 2021
Alongside Jokic, Porter will need to continue being efficient on high usage. Porter has been incredibly efficient as a scorer this season. His 132.5 points per 100 shots rank in the 97th percentile among forwards this season, per Cleaning The Glass. He has excelled at cutting without the ball, and he continues to shoot the ball at an elite level, as his 44% accuracy on 3s ranks in the 91st percentile among forwards.
The Nuggets also need secondary scorers like Aaron Gordon, JaMychal Green, Austin Rivers and Facundo Campazzo to play well. Gordon is playing with a lower usage rate than when he was in Orlando, but he has been more efficient, scoring at a higher rate per touch while dribbling less often.
Green needs to make 3s consistently, as he is the only Nuggets player available besides Jokic and MPJ who is shooting better than 38% on threes while taking more than one 3-point attempt per game.
If the Jazz win and cover, as home favorites, Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic need to score efficiently from the 3-point line.. The Jazz need shooters like Joe Ingles, Georges Niang, Bogdanovic and Clarkson to play well, as leading scorer Donovan Mitchell (ankle) remains out indefinitely and All-Star Mike Conley (hamstring) is also out.
With Mitchell and Conley out, Bogdanovic ‘s scoring will be important for the Jazz to cover. While his 116.5 points per 100 shots are the lowest in his last four seasons, he has found his rhythm lately, scoring at least 22 points in each of the last five games, including a season-high 34 points in Saturday’s win over the Raptors.
The Jazz beat the Spurs for the second straight game, led by Jordan Clarkson's big night 🙌
2-4 3PM pic.twitter.com/StxZbPOyzZ
— ClutchPoints (@ClutchPointsApp) May 6, 2021
Clarkson, a frontrunner for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, hasn’t been incredibly efficient. He is a streaky shooter, but his 30 points on just 16 shots in Wednesday’s blowout of the Spurs led the Jazz.
While both teams are without key scorers, the value is on the Nuggets and the points. While Gobert is a great defender, he won’t contain Jokic singlehandedly, and the Nuggets will open up the paint as Gobert guards Jokic on the perimeter, creating room for cutting and putting the Jazz in an uncomfortable position.
The Nuggets will get enough scoring from their perimeter players while Porter continues to score efficiently.
Take the Nuggets at +3 on the spread at FanDuel (with value down to +2) or bet them to win outright at +128 (with value down to +100), although there should be better value to target them at +150 or better on the live moneyline.
Pick: Nuggets +3 (bet down to +2)