In an intriguing matchup between Western Conference playoff teams, the Utah Jazz and the Denver Nuggets will meet on Saturday afternoon. Both teams have struggled in the bubble, with Bojan Bogdanovic's (wrist) absence leaving a gaping hole for the Jazz and Denver's rotation in flux due to injury and illness concerns. In this matchup, Utah is on the second night of a back-to-back, though the majority of the team's key contributors took the day off on Friday. For Denver, Gary Harris (hip) and Will Barton (knee) are out, with Jamal Murray (hamstring) and Troy Daniels (hip) listed as questionable to play.
William Hill lists Denver as the 1.5-point favorite in the Jazz vs. Nuggets odds for this 3:30 p.m. ET tip-off in Orlando. The over-under for total points expected is 222. Before making any Nuggets vs. Jazz picks, check out the latest NBA predictions from the SportsLine Projection Model.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it's already returned well over $4,200 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks this season. It entered the week on a blistering 54-32 run on top-rated NBA spread picks, returning almost $1,900 on those picks alone. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Nuggets vs. Jazz spread: Nuggets -1.5
- Nuggets vs. Jazz over-under: 222 points
- Nuggets vs. Jazz money line: Nuggets -125, Jazz +100
- DEN: The Nuggets are 4-6 against the spread in the last 10 games
- UTAH: The Jazz are 5-5 against the spread in the last 10 games
Why the Nuggets can cover
The Nuggets are keyed by a dynamic offense, with Nikola Jokic at the center of it all. The All-NBA center is averaging 20.2 points, 10.0 rebounds and 7.0 assists per game this season, and Jokic is fully capable of serving as the engine for Denver's offense in a variety of ways. While the potential absences of Murray and Barton could be detrimental to the Nuggets, Denver has a budding standout in Michael Porter Jr., who is flashing his considerable upside in the bubble.
The talented forward is averaging 31.3 points and 13.0 rebounds per game in the last three contests and, for the season, Porter Jr. is shooting 51 percent from the floor and 44 percent from 3-point distance. Look for that pairing of Jokic and Porter Jr. to do considerable damage, even against a stout Utah defense captained by Rudy Gobert.
Why the Jazz can cover
Though the Jazz are missing Bogdanovic, there is plenty of firepower in Utah's starting unit. Donovan Mitchell, who is questionable (leg), is averaging 24.0 points per game this season and, while Gobert garners attention for his elite defense, he is also an impressive rim-runner on the offensive side. Denver's defense leaves openings for its opponents, and the Jazz rank as the second-best team in the NBA in effective field-goal percentage.
Defensively, Gobert makes life difficult on anyone trying to attack the rim, and Utah's defense is stellar as a result. The Jazz rank in the top nine in points allowed per possession, defensive shooting efficiency, defensive rebounding and free-throw allowance, running the gamut in terms of deterring opponents.
How to make Nuggets vs. Jazz picks
SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total, with Mitchell and Porter Jr. both projected to exceed their scoring averages. The model also says one side of the spread hits in almost 60 percent of simulations. You can only get the pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Nuggets vs. Jazz? And which side of the spread hits almost 60 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Jazz vs. Nuggets spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up over $4,200 on its NBA picks this season, and find out.