Lakers vs. Jazz Odds
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via FanDuel. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Los Angeles Lakers look to solidify their place in the Western conference playoff picture while the Utah Jazz have continued their slow decline into the NBA Lottery. The line here shows which side oddsmakers expect to have the motivation edge. But can L.A. cover this number on the road?
Let’s break down how to bet Lakers vs. Jazz as the regular season winds down.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers have an interesting scheduling issue for this game as it’s the front end of a back-to-back with a critically important matchup against the L.A. Clippers on Wednesday night. The Lakers have not played Anthony Davis in both ends of a back-to-back this season so his status should be considered in question for one of these games.
From a win probability perspective, he should play against the Jazz and ensure the win agains the lesser team; however, from a leverage perspective, the Lakers should consider playing him in both games because of the head-to-head battle to avoid the Play-In with the Clippers, Warriors, Lakers, and Pelicans tied in the loss column.
The Lakers dropped both of their previous games against the Jazz; however, both were in November, and LeBron James sat out one of them. Since then, the Lakers have undergone a complete reconstruction of the roster and are greatly improved.
Since the Feb. 9 trade deadline, the Lakers are 15-8 and much of that was without James. They have the seventh-best Point Differential (+4.4) in the league and have been even better of late — 5-1 over the last two weeks with a +9.5 Point Differential, per Cleaning the Glass.
The Lakers have finally been able to use their intended starting lineup recently as well: D’Angelo Russell, Austin Reaves, James, Jarred Vanderbilt, and Davis. In an ultra-small sample size of 67 possessions, this lineup is posting a +25.3 point differential per 100 possessions. While Russell departed the Lakers’ last game due to a foot injury, he and Davis are probable for tonight’s game and James is questionable.
The trio of LeBron, Davis, and Reaves has been incredible this season. As long as Westbrook has been off the floor, that trio has posted a +20.8 point differential and Reaves’ insertion into the starting lineup is an excellent development for the Lakers.
There is a legitimate argument that Reaves is the third-best player on the team, but the prop market has not completely adjusted to his success. As a starter, Reaves has averaged 13.9 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 4.1 assists across 32.5 minutes per game. He has now started six games in a row, and has excelled in this role. Over his last six games, he has exceeded his current Rebounds + Assists line of 7.5 in five of them, with the miss at 7 and is averaging 10.6 RA. This number is short, and I’m playing over 7.5 RA.
The Jazz have essentially been in a slow decline after their hot start and are just 9-13 since the deadline. The Jazz just received word that rookie, Walker Kessler, will miss the rest of the regular season due to his recent concussion.
Additionally, the Jazz have listed Lauri Markkanen (hand) and Collin Sexton (hamstring) as questionable, while Jordan Clarkson (finger) remains out. If Sexton returns, he’d likely have a minutes restriction but would cut into Talen Horton-Tucker’s and Kris Dunn’s usage.
The loss of Kessler is significant — it leaves the Jazz interior barren with essentially no means to stop Anthony Davis besides Kelly Olynyk, Udoka Azubuike, and Damian Jones. Kessler had the second-best Point Differential on the team at +6.0, and there is no direct replacement.
The Jazz are just 1-6 over the past two weeks, with a -12.3 point differential, which is in the same class as the rest of the Tankathon teams (see: Spurs, Rockets, Blazers, Pistons, Pacers, Hornets). This team is not competitive right now, and even though they are technically within range of the Play-In Tournament, they have made their bed with entering the lottery.
The Lakers are flat-out better than the Jazz, and they should eviscerate the Jazz on the interior today without Walker Kessler. The Lakers should have no issues covering this multi-possession spread as they continue their pursuit of a top-six seed to avoid the Play-In Tournament.
I’ll lay the points with the Lakers against an inferior Jazz team on the cusp of elimination. I got this at -7.5, but I don’t mind the -8.5.