Last night was a big night for some of the big names in the NBA. James Harden, who has to be considered the front-runner at this early junction for MVP, went for 31 with 10 assists in a nice win over the Jazz. Anthony Davis, who can’t win MVP because his team can’t win games, rectified that for one night with a monster effort in a comeback overtime win over the visiting Hornets. AD dropped 38 and 16 with 4 blocks in an impressive win. And the Sixers notched an impressive 120-105 home win over the Suns on the strength of 26 points and 7 boards from Joel Embiid in TWENTY minutes. His per minute numbers are not just Rookie of the Year-lock quality but MVP-like. Can it translate when the minute restriction is lifted after Christmas???
Meanwhile, we need to get back on track. It’s been three straight losses after an amazing start to the season, so it is time to get back on track. It’s a lighter-slate today with NFL dominating the schedule, but there are a few nice matchups today. Here’s my favorite play on the board.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets -3.5 (Total: 197)
The Jazz have a ton of talent; young athleticism blended with veteran savvy, and they got their best player back two weeks ago in Gordon Hayward and he is playing well. So why are they still floundering at .500? They are 13th in offensive efficiency. They are 6th in defensive efficiency. Those numbers should translate into much better results, but so far, they just haven’t. They have a +1.9ppg differential but their tempo is one of the slowest in the league. It leaves less margin for error. SO even though they are allowing the fewest points per game in the NBA, they are just 7-7.
And it won’t be easy tonight. Denver has a lackluster record, but they are at home tonight and the Jazz are on short rest while the Nuggets are not. That’s a good starting point for Denver. Utah is also nursing a ton of injuries STILL. George Hill is expected to still be out as well as Derek Favors. Even Boris Diaw is questionable, leaving Utah a little thin in the mountain elevation of Denver tonight.
Denver has been underperforming at home this season at just 1-5. However, some of the losses include Toronto, Golden State and Portland. They are 4-8 straight up, but a very positive 8-4 ATS. They have a good chance to get back on track tonight in both columns and get a home win. Utah is the better team, but injured and on short rest is asking a lot.