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2021 NBA Action: Denver Nuggets @ Utah Jazz

Taking the points in this Northwest Division showdown: Nuggets +7.5

Fundamentally, we see the Jazz as no more than two longballs better than their visiting Northwest Division neighbors, the Denver Nuggets, Tuesday...this is after we afford almost four points to Utah to account for home court advantage for the host team.


Interestingly, back to the 2005-06 NBA season, the Jazz and Nuggets boast the biggest differences between their home and away scoring margins, implying these team's enjoy the largest home court advantages in the League. Also, these teams' buildings are (the only ones in the NBA) perched more then 4,000 feet above sea level.


At least part of these teams' extreme advantages at home probably owe to this reality, as in higher altitudes each breath drawn delivers less oxygen to the muscles than is true closer to sea level, which impairs athletic performance.


However, Denver is actually some 1,000 feet higher than Salt Lake City, so the Nuggets are at least as well acclimatized to exertion in high altitude as the Jazz, negating this edge.


But while Utah's Vivint Arena is not a particularly loud center, Jazz home fans have earned a distinct reputation for being especially mean, and even racist (see here, here and here for a few accounts of the overt racism that has been alleged and documented at the Salt Lake City venue).


And while the more frequent meetings associated with playing in the same division suggest Denver is practiced at tuning out the perhaps particularly vile noise in Utah, we do not expect the Nuggets team, which includes 14 Black players on it's 17 man roster, to be totally impervious to this effect. This is to say that the Jazz still deserve some home court advantage -- however repulsive its basis.


The point remains though that the Jazz's standard 3.9 point average home court advantage is probably too much to apply Tuesday, so Utah likely deserves even less than the six point handicap we estimated. The implication is that the 7.5 points on offer with the Nuggets is even more compelling.


Happy betting!

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