Suns vs. Jazz Preview: Back Phoenix as a Short Road Favorite

After a scare against the shorthanded Jazz on Monday, is it a good idea to lay the points with Phoenix on the road? Kenny Ducey is willing to do it.

Suns vs. Jazz Odds

Suns Odds -4
Jazz Odds +4
Over/Under 220.5
Time 10 p.m. ET
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

Things couldn’t be going any better for the Phoenix Suns at the moment, who ride into Wednesday night’s matchup on a seven-game winning streak. They’ll travel to Utah for a meeting with the Jazz, who have fallen in a big way over the past month with a 4-9 record in January.

Is this the bounce-back spot Utah has been looking for, or will both of these teams continue to trend in opposite directions?

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Phoenix Suns

Well, it seems there’s no stopping the Suns at the moment. After seven straight wins, Phoenix now stands at 37-9 overall, though it is still just 25-21 against the spread. While the Suns have taken out plenty of quality opponents this season, the most recent run may leave them slightly overvalued here.

The Suns have covered four times over this seven-game winning streak but have failed to do so in the past two. The most recent game came against this same Jazz side, when they won by six in a game in which they were 12.5-point favorites.

The win over the Jazz also marked just the second quality win in this miniature winning streak after a win over the Mavericks just under a week ago. Aside from those two teams, the best team the Suns took out was the Raptors, who sit eighth in the East.

It’s predictably very hard to find any sort of flaw over the last seven games. Phoenix is top five in both Offensive and Defensive Efficiency and sixth in Rebounding Rate. The latter is particularly impressive given the fact that Deandre Ayton has been out due to a right ankle sprain.

Speaking of injuries, that’s the biggest thing working against Phoenix here. The Suns are down to Bismack Biyombo at center after JaVale McGee went down with left knee soreness, and they’ll also be without Jae Crowder, Frank Kaminsky and Cam Payne for this one. While the Jazz have their own injuries to deal with, this list helps this game draw the slightest bit towards the middle.

Utah Jazz

That Jazz injury report is very short but very significant. Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell remain out for this team, which will make life incredibly difficult. This duo is one of the best two-man lineups in basketball, posting a 14.6 Net Rating in 751 minutes across 36 games. Utah’s Offensive Rating stands at a staggering 119.8 in those minutes.

In the four games since Mitchell went down with a concussion, Utah has ranked 13th in Offensive Rating with 112.8 points scored per 100 possessions. That’s a decently large drop off from the top-10 offense we’ve still been seeing out of Utah in the month of January, even as the team struggles.

The Jazz are now 4-9 in the year 2022, covering in just four games. One of them was in Phoenix earlier this week, where they managed to withstand a 33-point outburst from Devin Booker and a 27-point near-triple double from Chris Paul and actually held the lead heading into the fourth quarter.

They did it behind strong play from the perimeter, shooting 45.2% from three and getting contributions all over the place from their role players. Utah was also out-rebounded 51-38 as it continues to struggle without Rudy Gobert. The Jazz will need another strong showing on the perimeter to cover on Wednesday.

Suns-Jazz Pick

I think the books had it right when they made the Suns double-digit favorites against Utah. While the venue will change for this one, it may actually benefit Phoenix. It is 14-8 against the spread on the road this season and 12-6 ATS as the road favorite.

Despite being shorthanded in the frontcourt, the Suns should be able to capitalize on the loss of Rudy Gobert, just as they did last game. Biyombo had a huge 16 points and 13 rebounds in that one, and McGee was used sparingly. With Booker, Paul and Cam Johnson getting whatever they want, it was too much for the Jazz to withstand.

Utah has been in a deep hole when it has been without Gobert this season, and losing the offense that Mitchell is able to provide hurts even more. I expect the Suns to stay strong as road favorites, win the battle down low and continue to get contributions from their elite scorers against a depleted defense.

Pick: Suns -4 (-110)