MONDAY APRIL 19, 2010 – Utah Jazz vs Denver Nuggets
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Nuggets lead series 1-0
Utah: 53-29 SU, 49-30-3 ATS
Denver: 53-29 SU, 34-42-6 ATS
Through the first weekend of the NBA playoffs, we saw few surprises. One of the teams expected to shock us was the Utah Jazz. After all, the favorites in their first-round matchup, the Denver Nuggets, were limping into the postseason without head coach George Karl (cancer).
Matchup: JAZZ vs. NUGGETS
Time: Monday 10:30 p.m. ET
Venue: Pepsi Center, Denver
Spread: Nuggets -7
But Utah’s ability to surprise and pull off sportsbook upsets in this series may have gone out the window in its 126-113 Game-1 loss.
Center Mehmet Okur, a key component of the team, ruptured his Achilles tendon during an awkward fall on Saturday night. The Jazz are also missing forward Andrei Kirilenko, who aggravated a calf strain during practice on Thursday.
Just when it seemed Denver was facing Utah at precisely the wrong time, the opposite suddenly seems true. Not only will Utah have to soldier on without Okur and Kirilenko, its “healthy” players are actually nicked up as well. Carlos Boozer had 19 points and eight boards in Game 1 but is battling a rib injury.
C.J. Miles chipped in 17 points but missed a quarter on Saturday after taking a spill. That means the Jazz need an All-World performance from Deron Williams, who had 26 points and 11 boards in Game 1.
Worse yet for Utah, it seems Kenyon Martin is finding his legs in time for the playoffs.
He returned to Denver’s lineup last week after missing 18 games with a knee injury and, if Game 1 is any indication, he’s ready to contribute now. K-Mart had seven points and 12 rebounds in just under 35 minutes.
All that and we haven’t even touched on some guy named Carmelo Anthony. Melo was a force in Game 1, going 18 for 25 from the field and finishing with 42 points.
Utah should eventually put a scare in Denver – but probably not until it heads home. Right now, the Jazz are reeling and facing a confident Nuggets team that went 34-7 at home in the regular season.
Also, Utah hasn’t beaten the spread once in its last 11 matchups against Denver.
Bettors, you know what to do.
Jazz vs. Nuggets Free NBA Prediction
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