Sunday, August 23:
(3)Denver Nuggets vs. (6)Utah Jazz (-3)
- Moneyline: UTA -160
- Over/Under: 215.5
- Coverage: TNT at 9:00pm EST
The Utah Jazz have won two consecutive games over the Denver Nuggets in a first round series that has proven entirely unpredictable thus far. The Nuggets jumped out of the gates to a 1-0 series lead to improve their season record against the Jazz to 4-0, only to get obliterated in games two and three by margins of 19 and 37, respectively. Denver had Utah’s number during the regular season despite being chronically short handed and facing fully healthy Jazz teams, but Utah has since flipped the script and seized momentum in the series.
Much of Utah’s recent success can be attributed to the stellar play of Donovan Mitchell, who is averaging nearly 36 points this series, and the return of Mike Conley, who led all scorers with 27 points on Friday in his first contest back after welcoming the birth of his third child. The Jazz are also incredibly dangerous when they embark on a winning streak; they rattled off multiple streaks of 4, 5, and even one of 10 consecutive wins during the regular season, and they’re 8-0 this season in games immediately following back to back wins. It’s easy to overthink this matchup, but when the Jazz are hot, it’s tough to bet against them.
Game Pick: Utah Jazz -3
Prop Pick: Nikola Jokic Over 23 Points
Nikola Jokic has logged several impressive performances over the Jazz this season. In his three regular season meetings with Utah, Jokic dropped 28, 30, and 30 points, and he’s since added 28 and 29 point efforts during the playoffs. The lone contest opposite Utah this season in which Jokic failed to notch 23 points was game three on Friday night when he managed only 15 points, but that failure can be chalked up to limited playing time due to the blowout situation that unfolded in the second half. With Gary Harris listed as doubtful and Jamal Murray averaging just 16 points over his last six starts, the Nuggets will continue to lean on Jokic for leadership on the offensive end of the floor.
- AP Photo/Ashley Landis, Pool
- Justin Tafoya/Getty Images