February 4, 2011

Utah Jazz vs. Denver Nuggets: NBA Expert Handicapper Pick



Utah Jazz
(29-21, 22-27-1 ATS)

Denver Nuggets
(29-20, 21-25-3 ATS)

Wrap up your NBA betting action on Friday night with a nationally televised clash in the Western Conference, as the slumping Utah Jazz look to get back in front of the Denver Nuggets in the playoff chase.

With Mehmet Okur already out of the lineup for certain, it would be a tremendous loss for the Jazz to not have both Andrei Kirilenko and Deron Williams in the fold on Friday night against the Nuggs. This is a team that has already lost eight out of ten games dating back to January 17th, and the lineup without these two really does look subpar at best. Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson are legitimately the only two stars that are left to shine if this is the case, and the bench is made very, very short. The good news is that the two big men are both outstanding. Millsap is averaging 16.9 points and 7.8 rebounds per game, while Jefferson is at 16.7 points and 9.1 boards per game. Beyond that though, the rest of the starting five against the Houston Rockets featured Raja Bell, Earl Watson, and Gordon Hayward, and CJ Miles was the only man off the bench that was really worth all that much. Yikes. Needless to say, we’re not excited about backing Utah on the road unless we’re getting a ton of points or we know that the stars are going to be back in the lineup.

Denver has a significantly deeper team right now than the Jazz do, as the Nuggs really can go nine deep if need be. Carmelo Anthony is obviously the star of the show, averaging 23.9 points per game, but Chauncey Billups, in spite of the fact that he just hasn’t gotten his shooting groove together quite yet, is still the No. 2 man in charge. The difference here for Denver is that it has a ton of big men that it can throw at any team in the game. Al Harrington and Chris Andersen make for a great duo off the bench, as both do have double-double capabilities on a regular basis, while Kenyon Martin and Nene have both found their strokes as well. Nene really thought that he was going to be an All Star this year, as he is averaging 15.1 points and 7.3 rebounds per game, along with having one of the best shooting percentages in the league at 64.1 percent, but he was left off the roster. Don’t forget about JR Smith and Ty Lawson off of the bench either, as these two are combining to average over 22 points per game. There’s a reason that this club is averaging the most points per game in the league at 107.6.

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We never thought that we’d be saying that there is a team in the league that has more bigs than the Jazz, but that’s really the case. We know without Williams in the lineup that this Utah team really doesn’t look like a postseason contender, and it should really show on Friday night.

NBA Free Pick: Denver Nuggets

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