Nuggets vs. Jazz Game 3 Odds and Pick (Friday, August 21)
Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic and Rudy Gobert.
- The Denver Nuggets are 1-point favorites over the Utah Jazz in Game 3 of their first-round series (4 p.m. ET, TNT).
- The Over/Under for the game is set at 218 points at DraftKings and Reed Wallach thinks that Utah's hot shooting may be providing value on the Under.
- Read his full betting preview for Jazz vs. Nuggets:
Nuggets vs. Jazz Odds
|Nuggets Odds||-2 [BET NOW]|
|Jazz Odds||+2 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||-125/+105 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||218.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||4 p.m. ET|
Well, that’s how you even a series.
After coming up short in overtime in Game 1, the Utah Jazz responded by whooping the Denver Nuggets 124-105, covering as four-point underdogs and blowing past the total of 217.
Now the Jazz have momentum on their side as Mike Conley nears his return from quarantine. Meanwhile, Denver is still banged up. Will Barton left the bubble to rehab his knee, and there is no clear timetable for Gary Harris’ return from a hip injury.
The Jazz are gaining reinforcements while the Nuggets’ injury woes persist. Now, Utah may be in prime position to take control of this series.
Let’s see what Game 3 has in store for us:
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The story of Game 2 was that Utah caught fire from beyond the arc. Since the season restart, the Jazz have ranked among the league’s top three offenses in 3-point rate. That bubble trend continued in Game 2 as Utah hoisted 44 shots from beyond the arc and nailed 20 of them.
After allowing Donovan Mitchell to go for 57 points in Game 1, the Nuggets overcompensated defensively. Denver allowed Utah’s wings to get open looks from 3, and the Jazz made them pay. The trio of Royce O’Neale, Joe Ingles, and Jordan Clarkson shot 11-of-22 from 3-point range in addition to Mitchell’s six long balls.
Now the Jazz are back in the series, and Mike Conley Jr. is probable to return for Friday’s Game 3 matchup. Conley was fantastic in the seeding games, and Utah was more than 14 points better when he was on the floor. He may not put up the gaudy numbers that his backcourt mate Mitchell does, but he is a steadying force and reliable ball-handler to attack the Nuggets defense.
Not only did Denver fail to extend its series lead in Game 2, but the team actually took a step backwards. From the jump, the Nuggets defense was all out of sorts. Denver’s pick-and-roll coverages were out of whack, and Utah capitalized with red-hot perimeter shooting. The Jazz exploded in the third quarter, shooting 72% from the field and nine-of-12 from beyond the arc.
Denver never established a rhythm in the contest, and Utah’s ability to blitz Jamal Murray in the pick-and-roll clearly bothered him. The Nuggets have ample offensive weapons to figure it out on that end of the court, but the defensive end is worse for wear.
Denver was getting gashed from 3 prior to the playoffs in Orlando, allowing teams to shoot over 40% from beyond the arc. Utah let the Nuggets off the hook in Game 1, but Denver’s defensive weaknesses were exposed in their second meeting.
The dependable bench that helped get Mile High that 1-0 lead was nowhere to be found on Wednesday. In fact, Jordan Clarkson outscored the Nuggets’ non-garbage time role players, 24-to-18.
The Jazz may cool off, but the Nuggets’ weak perimeter defense has been exposed. With the slow-footed Nikola Jokic unable to get up to challenge the ball-handler off the screen, Denver is leaking points. It can quickly become a math problem, especially if Utah shoots like it did in Game 2.
On the offensive end, the Jazz are likely going to throw Conley on Murray and continue to send hard hedges at him to force him to pass. Jokic is going to need to take his game up a level on the other end to make up for his defensive issues.
On top of that, Denver may need to utilize more Monte Morris and Murray lineups. I’m not sure if Morris is up for the task of checking Mitchell at times, but he would give Denver another ball-handler to liberate Murray as an off-ball threat. The duo of Morris and Murray was strong on the floor together this season, posting a Net Rating of +9 in 306 minutes of combined action.
Betting Analysis & Pick
Game 3 opened at Denver -1.5, which makes sense given Utah’s blowout win and Conley’s impending return to the lineup. I think that Denver has a pretty sizable talent advantage, but Utah is doing a fine job of exposing the Nuggets’ issues on the defensive end.
If Denver is going to let Utah rain down on them from beyond the arc, then the Nuggets are in trouble. I expect Denver to make a more concerted effort to run the Jazz off the arc in Game 3. The Nuggets would likely live with the game devolving into the Rudy Gobert show.
I’m going to stay away from a side in this one, because I’m not sure which teams we are going to see. However, I do see some value in the total.
The Game 1 total closed at 214.5, Game 2 landed at 217, and Game 3 opened at 219 before quickly moving to 218.5. I think that number may be a bit too high. This might be the time to grab the under, fresh off an exceptionally hot shooting game from Utah.
Yes, Denver’s defense hasn’t been able to stop a nosebleed since the restart. But, there were about 88 possessions in this one, according to NBA.com’s box score. That is a slow pace, and the final score was inflated due to Utah’s insane shooting.
I think it might be time to squeeze your nose and root for a bit of a slugfest, as this total has run away from its typical number.
Pick: Under 218.5 (Play down to 218).