The Utah Jazz has plastered the NBA in winning 19 of 20 times, beating the spread all but two times. Now, teams like the Los Angeles Clippers will have to see how they measure up against the league’s best team.
Invariably this happens every year or so it seems, one team in the NBA goes on an incredible run and makes you think they can or will win the championship. However, if you study the NBA odds daily at betting websites, this one feels different. Seeing the playoffs don’t start until more than half of May is over, it is impossible to think about Utah taking home any hardware in February.
Still, you have to be unbelievably impressed that any team from any era could go 18-2 against a point spread in sports like this. (Some outlets have them at 18-1-1 ATS) This is the first of two tilts Utah will play against the Clippers, with the other on Friday also at the Staples Center.
Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Clippers
Wednesday, February 17, 2021 – 10:00 PM EST at Staples Center
Why is Utah Playing So Well?
In betting circles, the Jazz point spread play is the best since Atlanta went 19-1 ATS during the 2014-15 season. Utah (23-5, 21-7 ATS) has been thoroughly domineering in this stretch, winning by an average of 13.7 points a game and this month they are at 14.1 PPG differential.
How can a team be so dominant with this style of basketball played today? Head coach Quin Snyder altered a function of the offensive culture of the Jazz from last season given his roster. Last year Utah was 10th in three-point shots attempted and 6th in made threes. This season, the Jazz are first in attempts and makes.
The thinking behind this for Snyder, at least in our opinion, his team shot the highest percentage last year 38.3 percent. Even if that percentage would fall even a point, the extra attempts have resulted in three or treys a contest, that’s nine points. Snyder also worked on the offensive spacing and no team in the NBA has more open threes by distance to a defender than Utah, who’s actually shooting a higher percentage at 39.5% thus far.
Don’t think this club is just long-distance shooters, as they are also 6th in free throw attempts, which means driving to the bucket and generating fouls.
Defensively, the Jazz is 3rd in field goal percentage allowed and 6th in three-point defense. Center Rudy Gobert patrols the middle and the rest of the defense works in unison and because of each player’s wing span, they can switch with relative ease.
Clippers Going More Traditional Route to Win Title
While Utah is winning with Donovan Mitchell as its only elite player, the Clippers like most top teams anymore have two super studs and are contemplating adding the often necessary third component.
Kawhi Leonard and Paul George are the leaders for the other Los Angeles team, but both are known for having nagging injuries that require time on the bench in the regular season. That was true on Monday night and later, Patrick Beverley and Nicolas Batum were also listed as – Out – and the Clips went from -5.5 against Miami to +6.5 home underdogs at tipoff. However, the Clippers bench remains a real strength and they “upset” the Heat 125-118.
At this point, we are assuming all but George are ready to play against Utah and L.A. ‘s No. 5 scoring defense will be tested. How the Clippers can slow the Jazz is by cheating in the passing lanes and being very aware. They are already 6th in the Association in steals and if they can maintain or better that average for the next two contests, as long as they don’t repeatedly allow backdoor layups and dunks, they can hang in.
Star power is the normal way to win in the NBA and the Clips have it.
The Point Spread Winner
Sugar House and other betting sites have Utah as three-point road favorites with a total of 227.5.
If we knew Kawhi and the Clippers were 100% healthy, we might take the points with them. Unfortunately, we do not. Utah is the tracker trailer with no brakes unless there is an uphill mound of sand it’s hard to go against them at this time.
Also, we have this for NBA picks; when the line is +3 to -3 and a team like L.A. is outscoring their opponents by six or more PPG, and they and their opponent have scored 105 or more points in four straight games, they are 9-30 ATS.
NBA Picks: Jazz -3 at Sugar House