Despite a plethora of injuries, the Denver Nuggets remain afloat in the competitive Western Conference. However, they may be out of their depths when they host the Utah Jazz on Wednesday night. The Jazz have won seven of their past eight, scoring 115 or more points in all but one of those contests. Based on our projections, that leaves an edge in backing the visitors in Denver.
The Jazz have been the best offensive team in the NBA this season, ranking first in points per game, field goal percentage, and offensive efficiency. That’s been even more evident over their recent sample, in which they are averaging 117.6 points per game over their past eight games. Their offensive efficiency is nearly the same on the road as at home, which will create issues for a Nuggets’ defense that is missing some key players.
PJ Dozier has been one of the best defenders on the Nuggets this season, ranking in the top five in Defensive Box Plus/Minus, while Monte Morris sits in the top six in Defensive Win Shares. Both players are unavailable as Dozier tore his ACL, and Morris remains in the league’s health and safety protocols. They are two of the seven regulars who are unavailable for the Nuggets against the Jazz.
The Nuggets have been among the worst defensive teams in the NBA this season, allowing the eighth-worst shooting percentage. One of their biggest weaknesses is allowing points in the paint, as they rank 19th in the league, allowing 47.6 points per game. They will be exposed by a Jazz team that ranks in the top five, collecting 48.6 points in the paint per game. Points in the paint is one of the factors dragging the Nuggets’ defensive efficiency rating down to 1.063, ranking in the bottom half of the league.
Based on our projections, there’s a significant advantage in backing the Jazz on Wednesday night. The Jazz have been one of the best offensive teams in the league, while the Nuggets rank in the bottom half of the league in nearly every defensive metric. On that basis, the Jazz moneyline wager is rated as a 5-star play, and the -2.5 spread wager is rated as a 4-star play. There’s also a modest advantage in betting the over, rated as a 1-star wager.