Utah Jazz vs Denver Nuggets 8/19/20: Starting Lineups, Matchup Preview, Betting Odds

Utah Jazz vs Denver Nuggets Preview

This is the matchup between the #3 seed (Jazz) and #6 seed (Nuggets) in the Western Conference. In the first matchup, plenty of fireworks were on display as Denver defeated Utah 135-125 in overtime. Jamal Murray was the most crucial player for the Nuggets as he scored 10 of his 36 points in the overtime period to put the Jazz away for good. Murray had an absurdly efficient performance as he went 13-20 from the field, 6-9 from 3-point range, and 4-4 from the free-throw line in 40 minutes. Nikola Jokic also had a solid game despite the difficult matchup against Rudy Gobert, as the Nuggets’ star center produced 29 points, 10 rebounds, and 3 assists in 42 minutes. Murray and Jokic had a +16 and +10 net rating for the game, respectively, the two highest marks on the team. They are the two superstars for Denver, and as long as they keep playing well, the Nuggets will have a chance to make a deep playoff run.

For Utah, Donovan Mitchell was the star of the show as the third-year guard scored 57 points in the game, the most in franchise history and the third-most all-time in an NBA playoff game. At 23 years old, Mitchell became the youngest player to score 50+ points in the playoffs since Michael Jordan scored 63 points against the Celtics when he was also 23 years old. The Jazz will need to find scoring from outside of their franchise guard if they want to compete in this series. Other than Mitchell (40%) and Joe Ingles (41.6%), no player on the floor for the Jazz shot better than 33% from 3-point range. The Jazz will be hoping to get more production from their bench in the next game – other than Jordan Clarkson (18 points in 39 minutes), the team had just 8 bench points. Mike Conley will miss Game 2 in this series, although he may be able to clear quarantine protocols in time for Game 3.

TV Schedule

Date: 8/19/20
Time: 4:00 PM ET
Arena: AdventHealth Arena, Orlando, FL
Channel: TNT

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Injuries

Jazz: Mike Conley (out), Bojan Bogdanovic (out), Ed Davis (out)
Nuggets: Will Barton (questionable), Gary Harris (questionable), Vlatko Cancar (out)

Jazz Starting 5

PG: Donovan Mitchell
SG: Joe Ingles
SF: Juwan Morgan
PF: Royce O’Neale
C: Rudy Gobert

Jazz Analysis

Utah’s starting lineup has shifted recently as they are without two of their most frequent starters this season in Bojan Bogdanovic and Mike Conley. Bogdanovic is out for the remainder of the season and Conley will certainly miss Game 2 of the series as he will still be in the quarantine process, so I expect the team’s starting lineup to remain the same from Game 1. That means Donovan Mitchell will shift up to point guard again, a position where he put up 57 points, 9 rebounds, and 7 assists last time out. Perhaps he’s been a natural point guard all along. He’ll be matched up with Jamal Murray, the flashy point guard for Denver. Joe Ingles shifts up to shooting guard in this new starting lineup, where he produced 19 points, 3 rebounds, and 6 assists in Game 1. Ingles is going to continue to be relied upon for scoring and secondary playmaking with Bogdanovic and Conley out of the lineup.

At small forward, Juwan Morgan made his first start of the season and just his 22nd appearance of the season. The rookie out of Indiana had underwhelming raw stats with only 3 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 assist, but he did all of the little things exceptionally well and finished with a team-leading +17 net rating in 25 minutes. Jordan Clarkson played 39 minutes off the bench to allow Mitchell to shift back down to shooting guard and Ingles to shift back down to small forward, and he wound up playing more minutes than both Morgan and Royce O’Neale, who is set to start at power forward. O’Neale had just 3 points and 7 rebounds in 32 minutes against the Nuggets and will need to go better than 1-6 from the field if this team is going to win a game in the series. Rounding out the starting lineup is Rudy Gobert, the Defensive Player of the Year from each of the past two seasons. He arguably has the toughest defensive matchup of anyone in the Jazz lineup as he’s forced to guard Nikola Jokic, a surefire All-NBA player this season.

Nuggets Starting 5

PG: Jamal Murray
SG: Torrey Craig
SF: Michael Porter Jr.
PF: Paul Millsap
C: Nikola Jokic

Nuggets Analysis

The health of Will Barton and Gary Harris, both of whom are a part of the Nuggets’ most-used starting lineup this season, is still a major question mark heading into this game. I’m leaving both players out of the starting lineup until we get more information on their status before the game. In their places, Torrey Craig and Michael Porter Jr. started on the wings in Game 1. MPJ started the game hot but ended up with just 13 points on 5-13 shooting from the field. He has the upside to be a very effective scorer for the Nuggets in this playoffs, and I have him labeled as their biggest X-factor for the postseason. Craig, meanwhile, has more of a defensive profile, but he did score 11 points on 4-7 shooting in Game 1. Jerami Grant played more minutes than both players off the bench, and it would not be a surprise to see him join the starting lineup for Game 2. He had 19 points on 5-11 shooting in Game 1 and produced some stellar defensive sequences for the team. Paul Millsap is also an important forward for the team, but he’s clearly on the decline in his career at 35 years old and had just 8 points on 3-10 shooting in Game 1.

The two most important players are Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic, especially without Will Barton and his 15.1 points per game (3rd-most on the team). The two players combined for 65 points on 24-41 from the field in Game 1. Both of these guys have proven themselves in the postseason and were essential parts of the Nuggets’ team last year that just fell short to the Blazers in seven games in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. Nikola Jokic averaged 27.1 points, 13.9 rebounds, and 7.7 assists in that series while Murray averaged 23.6 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 5.3 assists per game. The two-man game between those two players is the key to the Denver offense and have proven themselves to be outstanding players despite being just 25 and 23 years old, respectively.

Jazz vs Nuggets DFS Angle

Jazz vs Nuggets Betting Odds

Jazz Spread: +4.0
Jazz Moneyline: +146
Nuggets Spread: -4.0
Pacers Moneyline: -174
Over/Under Points Total: 217.5

The Nuggets have now gone 4-0 against the Jazz this season, and yet I’m not 100% confident they’ll make it 5-0. All four games have been very close, with the average margin of victory being just 5.25 points and two of four games going to overtime. The Jazz are going to be heavily reliant on Donovan Mitchell to replicate his outstanding Game 1 effort, but the odds are stacked against that type of performance being repeated. Utah doesn’t have enough scoring talent to beat the Nuggets, and I’m even more inclined to bet on Denver if Will Barton or Gary Harris (or both) ends up being active. If Utah were at full-strength, I’d be inclined to bet on them in this Game 2 for a bounceback performance, but without Bojan Bogdanovic and Mike Conley, they are going to struggle to replicate their offensive output from Game 1. I would bet on the Nuggets to win this game, and I love that Moneyline as a parlay piece for the day. I would stay away from the spread in this game. As for the over/under, the combined points total in Game 1 was 260 points, which smashed the over/under of 215.5. The oddsmakers reacted by shifting this by just two points. After this point total was shattered in both of the last two matchups between these two teams, I’m betting on the over again.

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What's up, I'm Jacob. I grew up watching Peyton Manning play and stuck with the Broncos after he retired. I'm also probably the only Clippers fan you'll ever meet. I'm from Southern California but I'm a junior at the University of Michigan studying sport management. Beyond my passion for sports I play guitar, grill a mean rib eye, and enjoy gambling on pretty much everything.

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