NBA Free Premium Play 12/26
FREE NBA Pick: 511 Utah Jazz @ 512 Denver NuggetsRating: 4 units - Regular Play
Pick: Utah Jazz (+5.5) (Play up to +5)
Odds: -102 / 1.98 on Pinnacle Sports OR -107 / 1.93 on BetOnline
We're catching Denver in here in an overrated position, as they're coming from two huge wins on the road. However, it's important to note that they played at Portland, who was playing without Lillard for the first time this season, while Golden State was banged up and clearly already thinking about yesterday's game against Cleveland.
With Hood back, Utah will have some edge on backcourt depth, with Bucks and Hood getting the upper hand over Barton, Beasley and Mudiay. Utah's offense could only score 79 and 89 points against Oklahoma City, but they were efficient against San Antonio. Those poor offensive numbers against the Thunder are easy to explain, as their offense relies a lot on the pick n roll with huge volume on ball handlers. The difference is that while Oklahoma City's defense is #1 against this play with 0.70 PPP allowed, the Nuggets are only #21 in the league with 0.85 PPP allowed.
Denver will have some edge near the basket with Gobert out, but the Jazz are still being solid at protecting the basket even without their star defender. I expect a tight game, so Utah getting 5.5 points is too much in my opinion. My true line would be Denver -3/-3.5, so I'll be taking Utah tonight.