Trail Blazers vs. Jazz Odds
|Trail Blazers Odds||+17.5|
|Time||10 p.m. ET|
|Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
After a disappointing loss in Dallas, the Utah Jazz will return home looking to regain their form. On the other end of the floor will be the depleted Portland Trail Blazers, a team that was already gutted as a result of its deadline trades and has been ravaged by injuries.
The Jazz should win easily, but is an 18-point spread too much? Let’s examine below.
Trail Blazers Face Massive Talent Gap Due to Injuries
Well, this is what the Trail Blazers signed up for when they traded away C.J. McCollum, Norman Powell and Robert Covington at the deadline.
Portland briefly showed promise with four straight wins after the deals, only to lose five straight to Golden State, Denver, Phoenix and Minnesota (twice). Those are all playoff bound teams, but Portland wasn’t even close in any of these contests, failing to cover double-digit spreads three times.
The task ahead of the Trail Blazers here is rather daunting. Over the past five contests, they’ve ranked dead last in defensive efficiency, allowing 123.3 points per 100 possessions, and they now have to try and contain one of the league’s very best offenses. They haven’t been much better on the other end of the floor, scoring a measly 93.6 points per 100 possessions in the last five which ranks dead last in the NBA.
Eric Bledsoe, Joe Ingles and Nassir Little will once again be missing for Portland, along with Jusuf Nurkic and Justise Winslow. Most notably, Anfernee Simons — who has been tasked with filling the void left by McCollum and an injured Damian Lillard — is questionable with a left knee injury.
That would seemingly be the death blow to a team that has little starting talent to speak of right now. Should Simons sit, you’re looking at a starting five of Brandon Williams, CJ Elleby, Josh Hard, Greg Brown III and Drew Eubanks with a very short bench.
Jazz Seeking Revenge After Tough Loss
The Jazz entered Dallas with high hopes on Monday night, opening as the underdogs and closing as the favorites after it was announced Rudy Gobert would play. What they ran into was a defense that had come to play, specifically when it came to Donovan Mitchell.
Mitchell was limited to just 17 points on 5-of-19 shooting, going 2-of-9 from behind the arc. Once again, though, he racked up an inordinate number of assists, falling one shy of his third 10-assist game in the last four contests. For context, he’s only had three of those all season.
Dallas did what some others have done lately: Crowd Mitchell and make Utah’s complementary players beat them. This time it worked, but Mitchell has proven to be an excellent playmaker in the last couple of weeks.
Offense has been a little bit of a struggle for the Jazz, who rank right around the middle of the NBA in efficiency over the last five games, but they’ll be glad to return home, where they score three more points per 100 possessions than they do on the road.
They’ll also be happy to see the Trail Blazers on the other end of the floor, who they torched for a 125.0 Offensive Rating back in December. While the personnel is slightly different, this defense has been bad all season long.
Utah’s injury report for this one is totally empty after the late Gobert add prior to the Mavericks game, indicating he should be a full go here.
Trail Blazers-Jazz Pick
It’s always difficult recommending a spread this large, and it’s particularly tough when you’re talking about a Jazz team that has gone 25-33 against the spread as a favorite this year.
I’m still laying the points with Utah here, though, given the ineptitude of the Blazers on defense and their mounting injuries. Utah was able to look like itself again on offense when it met a slumping Thunder defense just a couple of games ago and we should see the same story unfold here against Portland.
On the other side of the coin, without Simons I’m just not sure how the Trail Blazers score at all. Even though the Jazz have been around the league average on defense lately, that’s still more than enough to shut down CJ Elleby and Josh Hart on the wings.
Pick: Jazz -17.5 (-110)