Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic
Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, center, drives between San Antonio Spurs forward Keldon Johnson, front, and center Jakob Poeltl during the first half of an NBA basketball game Friday, Oct. 22, 2021, in Denver. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)


Kyle Barrette

A rematch of the first round of last year’s Western conference playoffs will tip off tonight. This series was very competitive and ended up going the full seven games, eventually leading to the Nuggets advancing. Both teams picked right back up where they left off last season, starting the year out 2-0. The Nuggets started their season with an impressive 12-point win over the Suns. The Jazz started the year with two wins over two lower ranked teams in the Thunder and the Kings and will face their first real test when they take on the Nuggets. 

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The scoring is down to start the season from what we are used to seeing out of this group. The Nuggets are only averaging 106 points in their first two games. While 106 was good enough to get the win, there is no doubt that number will have to increase if the Nuggets want to make it back to the playoffs. The defense has improved nicely in the first two games, not allowing 100 points to either team and holding the Suns, who were in the finals last season, under 100 is a nice improvement. Jokic continues to pile up the offense averaging almost 30 points per game through the first two to go with almost 15 boards. Denver will need to get others going, namely Michael Porter Jr who has underwhelmed by his standards to start the year, only going for a combined 22 points in his first two games. The Nuggets will continue to improve. This is a seasoned team that knows what it takes to win, the question here will be can they turn it around in time to beat this Jazz team.  

Utah has started their season against underwhelming competition and as expected have come into this matchup undefeated. Utah’s offense has also been underwhelming from what we have been used to seeing. Utah has only averaged 108.5 points through the first two games, a big difference from one of the top offenses in the league last season. Mitchell leads the Jazz in scoring again this season and much like Jokic he hasn’t had too much help on the offensive end. The Jazz have kept up the defensive pressure and are holding teams to 38% shooting. The Jazz will have the advantage of playing at home and getting the Nuggets on the second day of their back-to-back. A key in this game is that the Jazz are currently holding opponents to only 20% from three-point range, if they can continue this they have a good chance for a home win. 

Jazz vs Nuggets the Pick: Nuggets +7.5
This is just too many points for the Nuggets. It’s early but the Nuggets have been more impressive in their first two games than Utah. The travel for the back-to-back is not very long and it won’t have as big an impact as the books are making this line out to be.

Same Game Parlay:
Nuggets +7.5, Nikola Jokic Over 26.5 Pts, Nikola Jokic over 11.5 Rebounds and Nikola Jokic to score 30+ Points.

SGP Odds +554

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