Nikola Jokic can help the Denver Nuggets beat the NBA odds Wednesday night – but will he face the Utah Jazz on zero days of rest?
Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz
Wednesday, February 02, 2022 – 10:00 PM EST at Vivint Arena
Just when it looked like the Utah Jazz were getting healthy, they come down with a case of the Jingles. Utah lost one of their best players for the season this past Sunday when Joe Ingles tore the ACL in his left knee, an injury that should keep Ingles on ice until sometime during the 2022-23 campaign.
It’s the last thing the Jazz (30-21 SU, 21-28-2 ATS) needed heading into Wednesday’s matchup with the Denver Nuggets (28-22 SU, 20-29-1 ATS).
If that weren’t bad enough, Utah still won’t have Rudy Gobert (calf) or Donovan Mitchell (concussion) in the lineup, and Hassan Whiteside (back) has been listed as questionable.
The Nuggets have a chance to feast on Utah’s carcass, although they’re coming off Tuesday’s disappointing 130-115 loss to the Minnesota Timberwolves (–1 at home), and they have to be careful with Nikola Jokic, who’s nursing a sore right toe and might end up getting the night off instead.
It’s enough of a concern that the NBA odds at the top sportsbooks are still on hold as we go to press.
It’s understandable if the Nuggets decide to play it safe with the reigning league MVP. This has been a difficult season for Denver, with Jamal Murray (knee) still unlikely to play, and Michael Porter Jr. (back) expected to miss the rest of the campaign.
That leaves Jokic as the sole survivor from this nascent Big Three, as the Nuggets try to lock down one of the top six spots in the Western Conference and avoid the play-in tournament. They’re in sixth place after that loss to Minnesota.
In theory, DeMarcus Cousins is supposed to provide Jokic some relief off the bench, but he’s not available Wednesday; Cousins has a sprained right foot and didn’t play either of Denver’s last two games. The Nuggets swept the four games Cousins has played since signing a pair of 10-day contracts, albeit at 1-2-1 ATS.
Now they’ve split a pair without the former All-Star in uniform. Zeke Nnaji is the next big off the bench for Denver, and while the sophomore from Arizona is holding his own, Nnaji is a subpar defender with plenty still to learn at the tender age of 21.
The Forbes List
As for their injury-plagued backcourt, the Nuggets swung a deal last month to acquire Bryn Forbes from the San Antonio Spurs, but aside from his 3-point shooting, Forbes was awful in his first six games for Denver.
Then Forbes went 1-for-7 from downtown during Tuesday’s loss to the Wolves. Not ideal. This could still be a good spot to put the Nuggets in your NBA picks, though.
The Jazz are on a five-game losing streak at 0-3-1 ATS, the last four without Gobert and Mitchell in the lineup – and now they’ve lost Ingles, too. Bet accordingly with your NBA picks once more is known about Jokic’s status and the basketball lines finally come out.
NBA Pick: Nuggets +2.5 (-110) at BetMGM