Two of the top teams in the Western Conference will face off Thursday with the Nuggets hosting the Jazz. This exciting matchup is also the featured Showdown contest. Let’s discuss how things might play out for both sides to help you narrow down the options.Note: All salaries will be Flex prices unless noted as Captain’s Pick prices.
BETS TO CONSIDER
FIVE BETTING TRENDS— The Nuggets have won each of their last six games against Northwest Division opponents.
— The Nuggets have covered the spread in each of their last five games following a road loss.
— Each of the last eight games between the Jazz and Nuggets at Pepsi Center have gone UNDER the total points line.
— Donovan Mitchell has scored 24-plus points in 10 of the Jazz’s last 11 games against Northwest Division opponents.
— Rudy Gobert has scored 17-plus points in each of the Jazz’s last nine games.
Stats provided by DraftKings Sportsbook
NuggetsThe most expensive player on either team is Nikola Jokic ($12,800), and it’s not even close. He’s earned his lofty price tag by averaging 46.1 DKFP per game this season. He’s stepped up his game with Jamal Murray (ankle) out, averaging 54 DKFP across his last seven contests. With Murray still out, Jokic should once again have an increased upside.
Oddly enough, the next most expensive player on the Nuggets is a guy who began the season coming off the bench. However, Jerami Grant ($8,600) has been forced to start with Paul Millsap (knee) out each of the last 11 games. During that stretch, Grant averaged 15.5 points, five rebounds, 2.1 assists, 1.1 steals and 1.2 blocks. While that’s excellent production, this is a tough matchup against a Jazz team that has the ninth-best defensive rating in the league. At his inflated price, this might not be the night to roll with Grant, even with Millsap still sidelined.
With Murray out, it would have seemed like an ideal stretch for Will Barton ($8,000) to thrive. However, he’s scored 28.3 DKFP or fewer in four straight games, making him an awfully risky option. Monte Morris ($7,200) has seen increased playing time with Murray out, but there isn’t a lot to like about him at this price considering he has scored 27 DKFP or fewer in six of the last seven games.
Just when it looked like Michael Porter Jr. ($7,400) was set to shine, he laid an egg Tuesday with 21.5 DKFP against the Grizzlies. The Nuggets need him to play more with Millsap and Mason Plumlee (foot) out, which had resulted in Porter scoring at least 31.3 DKFP in each of his previous three games before facing the Grizzlies. There is certainly upside for him in his new role, but he’s also risky.
It’s difficult to get excited about anyone else on the Nuggets. Gary Harris ($4,200) might start, but his 15.3% usage rate continues to limit his production. Torrey Craig ($4,000) also isn’t involved much on the offensive end. If there is one cheap player on the Nuggets to take a chance on, it might be Malik Beasley ($3,200). While he certainly hasn’t been consistent, he has scored at least 20.8 DKFP in three of the last five games.
JazzRudy Gobert ($10,400) is about as consistent as it gets. He’s recorded a double-double in 11 straight games, averaging 19.3 points, 15.4 rebounds, two assists and 2.5 blocks during that stretch. As good as Jokic is on the offensive end, he’s not a great defender, so expect Gobert to produce yet another juicy stat line. Donovan Mitchell ($9,400) also figures to be one of the safest options on this slate given his 31.2% usage rate that ranks inside the top-12 in the league. Although the Nuggets’ defensive numbers for the season look good, they have the 10th-worst defensive rating during the month of January.
With the Nuggets struggling so much on the defensive end lately, Bojan Bogdanovic ($8,200) is an intriguing option. He’s averaging 21.2 points per game and has produced at least 31.5 DKFP in three of his last four games. However, with his inability to provide significant contributions in other categories, he could also be a flop if his shot isn’t falling.
One player who has seen his production on the decline lately is Joe Ingles ($6,400). He’s scored 26 DKFP or fewer in five straight games. Although Mike Conley ($5,000) is still playing limited minutes, Ingles’ struggles started right around the time that Conley returned from injury. It’s worth noting, though, that the Jazz just played Wednesday. This is their first back-to-back set since Conley returned from injury, so it wouldn’t be a huge surprise if he sat out. If he is indeed sidelined, Ingles becomes a much more intriguing option. The same can be said for Jordan Clarkson ($4,400) since he would likely see more minutes off the bench.
In the same price range as Clarkson is Royce O’Neale ($4,800), who has a paltry 17.6% usage rate. That doesn’t leave him as a very exciting option. The only other cheap player on the Jazz to even have on your radar is Georges Niang ($2,400), who has managed to score at least 19 DKFP in three of his last five games.
THE OUTCOMEThe Nuggets are 18-6 at home this season while the Jazz is just 14-11 on the road, so look for the Nuggets to win despite all of their injuries. As far as the Captain’s Pick goes, Gobert’s ($15,600 CP) consistency makes him extremely appealing. The problem with using Jokic ($19,200 CP) in that spot is that he eats up a huge portion of your budget and he has to deal with the defensive-minded Gobert.
Final Score: Nuggets 111, Jazz 108
Set your lineups here: NBA Showdown $25K Pull Up Jumper [$5K to 1st]
Favorite Prop Bet
Top point scorer of the game: Donovan Mitchell (+200)I like taking a chance on Mitchell at these odds. As I mentioned earlier, the Nuggets have struggled to defend of late. Mitchell has also scored at least 31 points in back-to-back games. I think the only player who could challenge him for this is Jokic, but facing Gobert will make that difficult.
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