Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets Preview and Pick

Utah Jazz (31-18) at Denver Nuggets (29-18), 9 pm Eastern Wednesday
by Zman of Predictem.com

The leadership of the Northwest Division will be at stake when the Utah Jazz hit the Mile High City to take on the Denver Nuggets Wednesday night.

Basketball Sportsbooks list Denver as two-point home favorites for Wednesday’s game, with a total of 219. Also, the Nuggets are posted at around -135 on various Vegas moneylines, with the Jazz getting +120 as road underdogs.

Utah pounded New Orleans Monday night 110-88 for its ninth consecutive victory. Thanks to their recent winning ways, in which the Jazz have outscored their opponents by an average of 14 points per game during their streak, Utah has grabbed first place in the Northwest Division, and now lead the second-place Nuggets by one game heading into Wednesday’s action. The Jazz also own the fourth seed in the Western Conference race.

Denver has won three straight and seven of its last 10 after beating Portland in overtime Monday 105-103. So the Nuggets sit in second place in the Northwest Division, just a game back of Utah, and also sit in the seven spot in the West. But Denver is just a game and a half from being left out of the playoffs.


Utah is 26-22 against the spread this season, but just 10-15 both straight up and vs. the numbers on the road. Meanwhile, Denver is 24-22 ATS this season, 20-5 SU and 15-10 vs. the numbers at home.

In the first meeting this season between these two teams, the Nuggets beat the Jazz 120-109 three weeks ago also in Denver. But Utah took three of four games from the Nuggets last season, all after Denver had picked up guard Allen Iverson in a trade with Philadelphia. The o/u is 4-1 in those last five games in the series between these two teams, which have averaged 215 total points.

Statistically speaking, the Jazz rank 4th in the league in point differential at +6.1 per game, while the Nuggets rank 12th at +2.4 per game.

Utah is shooting 49% from the floor as a team this season, which ranks #1 in the league, 37% from 3-point range and 75% from the free-throw line. Meanwhile, Denver is shooting 45% from the field, 33% from long range and 76% from the line.

The Jazz rank 6th in the league in rebounding at +2.2 boards per game, while the Nuggets rank 21st at -.6 per game. And while Utah, thanks largely to the talents of point guard Deron Williams, ranks 5th in the league with a 1.79 team assist/turnover ratio, Denver ranks 14th at 1.53.

On the injury front, Jazz forward Andrei Kirilenko, who’s averaging 12 points, six boards and five assists per game this season, missed Monday’s game with the flu and is listed as questionable for Wednesday. On the other bench, Nuggets forward Marcus Camby, who’s averaging nine points and 14 (!) rebounds per game, has missed Denver’s last two games with a bum knee and is listed as both probable and doubtful for Wednesday.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks Utah 5th at 95.8, the Nuggets 13th at 92.0. Sagarin’s current NBA home-court advantage figure is 3.1.

The o/u is 25-24 in Jazz games this season, which are averaging 204 total points, while the totals are 24-23 in Denver games, which are averaging 210 points.

Update: Kirilenko is said to be probable for tonight’s game (As of 5:20PM EST)

Zman’s Pick: Under 218 points.