Nets vs. Jazz Odds
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
How can I fade both of these teams?
The Brooklyn Nets have lost six straight games. Without Kevin Durant, they have fallen from the top of the Eastern Conference to sixth place. They are on the fourth game of a five-game road trip against the Western Conference with the final two games in high altitude (Utah on Friday and Denver on Sunday).
The Utah Jazz finally snapped their losing streak with a win against the Nikola Jokic-less Denver Nuggets that were on the second game of a back-to-back. Still, they have lost 11 of their last 14 games, including two outright losses to the Houston Rockets and the Detroit Pistons as double-digit favorites. This has not been a good look for a team that was expected to be a title contender.
Fortunately for the Jazz, star Donovan Mitchell has cleared the NBA’s concussion protocol and is available for Friday’s game. However, their big man Rudy Gobert remains out with a calf injury and his backup Hassan Whiteside is questionable. Can Mitchell’s return help the Jazz overcome this thin frontcourt and take care of business at home?
Nets Need More From Harden
Harden’s performance last game against the Kings was abysmal. He had four points on 2-for-11 shooting and six turnovers and was a -21 Plus/Minus for the game.
Harden’s lack of effort visibly showed, but this is how he has been his entire career. If he does not get the calls he normally gets or doesn’t get his shot going, he becomes passive and looks for someone else to defer to. In this case, both Kyrie Irving and Patty Mills both had off nights shooting and weren’t able to make up for Harden’s deficiencies.
Harden is not completely healthy after suffering a hand injury a few games ago, but with him, it is always about effort. He can be the most talented player if he tries, but he lacks a killer instinct and inner drive that will always hold him back.
Basketball fans and media have been eviscerating him, and rightfully so. Expect a better effort from him and the Nets after the beatdown on and off the court last game. They can take advantage of a Jazz team that is missing their best defender.
Nic Claxton had a career-high 23 points against the Kings. He has impressed this season when given the opportunity and I think this will give him some confidence to shine against the Jazz’s thin frontcourt without Gobert and potentially Whiteside.
The Nets have been much better on offense in the first half of games this season. They are second in the league in average points per game in the first half (57.6), sixth in the Offensive Rating (113.3) and sixth in Pace (101.8), per NBA Advanced Stats. However, in the second half, they drop to 14th and 20th, respectively.
Jazz’s Fall Has Been Concerning
Just about a month ago, I had the Jazz at the top of my power ratings.
Their depth and excellence on both sides of the floor had me confident they were just as good as the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors. Their recent collapse has me rethinking this, but it’s a long season, and they can turn things around.
After all, they’ve had a rough stretch of opponents recently, facing the Warriors, the Suns twice, the Grizzlies and the Timberwolves. They can really gain some confidence back with Mitchell back in the lineup against a poor Nets defense.
The Jazz’s numbers during this 14-game stretch are nothing to be proud of. They’re 25th in Defensive Rating (116.3) during this timeframe, per NBA Advanced Stats. Without Gobert in the middle, I can see Irving and Harden taking advantage and driving to the hoop all night long. The on/off numbers show that the Jazz’s Defensive Rating worsens by 7.9 points when Gobert is off the court, per Basketball-Reference.
Even though their offense has struggled overall during this skid, they are still shooting the ball well in the first half. During this 14-game stretch, they are sixth in Offensive Rating (115.7) in the first half, while dropping to 29th in the second half. They are 10th in first half points (56.6) this season.
I foresee a high-scoring game, particularly in the first half. I see additional motivation from Harden and Irving this game after an embarrassing six-game skid. I think Mitchell’s return gives the Jazz a nice boost. Both teams have been terrible on defense lately.
The statistics show that both teams thrive on offense in the first half, and the trends support it, too.
The Jazz first half totals are 11-4 to the over in their last 15 games, per our Bet Labs tool. On the other hand, the Nets are 17-9 to the over in their first half totals on the road this season.
My bet is to take the first half over at 118.5.
Pick: Over 118.5 1H