The Western Conference playoff race is shaping up to be a fun one. With the Lakers struggling through injuries, we’re going to have a new No. 1 seed this year. The Utah Jazz have been in the driver’s seat for most of the year, but their lead at the top of the conference shrunk to just 1.5 games after last night’s overtime loss in Phoenix.
Moneyline Betting Odds: Trail Blazers at Jazz
Portland Trail Blazers (+200)
Utah Jazz (-240)
Spread Betting Odds: Portland Trail Blazers vs Utah Jazz
Portland Trail Blazers +6 (-110)
Utah Jazz -6 (-110)
Over/Under Betting Odds: Blazers vs Jazz
Over 232.5 (-110)
Under 232.5 (-110)
The Jazz are still 38-13 on the year, which is good for the best overall record in the league. Utah will be back at it tonight at home against the Portland Trail Blazers on the second night of the back-to-back. We’ve seen the Jazz opt to sit Mike Conley in these situations recently due to injury maintenance, so we’ll see whether Utah’s point guard suits up tonight. The Blazers were crushed by the Clippers in Los Angeles two nights ago, but they should be the more well-rested team in this one.
In spite of last night’s tough OT affair, the Jazz are sizable home favorites according to the top basketball betting sites. Utah is favored by 6 points in a game with an over/under of 232.5.
Mitchell’s One-Man Show
The Jazz nearly pulled last night’s game out thanks to the heroics of Donovan Mitchell. Utah’s leading scorer accounted for 41 of their 113 points last night, including a clutch three-pointer in the game’s waning seconds to send it to overtime. Mitchell shot only 16-for-35 from the field, though, with no other player taking more than 17 shots.
We’ll see what kind of approach the Jazz take tonight. With their lead at the top of the conference having been whittled down to 1.5 games, perhaps Conley decides to play. He did log 35 minutes last night, though, and the Jazz will likely prioritize health as the playoffs draw nearer. I’d be surprised if Conley played tonight, which should mean extra minutes for the likes of Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson.
Conley missing this game might help turn Mitchell into more of a facilitator. He had just three assists last night, which makes sense considering he hoisted 35 shots. Mitchell is averaging 5.4 helpers per game this season, though, and he has averaged 6.5 assists in the games Conley has missed so far in 2020-21.
We’ll see how fresh the Jazz look after a hard-fought game last night. Utah is the fourth-most prolific three-point shooting team in the league this season (39.2 percent), but tired legs could be an issue here. Portland’s opponents have connected on better than 37 percent of their tries from long range on the year. Mitchell, Ingles, Clarkson, and Bojan Bogdanovic will likely have to lead the offensive charge tonight if Conley sits out.
Can Portland Bounce Back?
Portland is 30-20 on the year, which is impressive given the injuries they’ve dealt with all season long. Both Jusuf Nurkic and CJ McCollum have missed significant time. Nurkic is questionable tonight with knee inflammation after missing the Clippers game. If he’s out, we should see a heavy dosage of Enes Kanter in the middle tonight against Rudy Gobert.
The Blazers were shellacked by 17 points the other night in LA, but they have still won five of their last seven overall. Norman Powell led the way with 32 points against the Clippers in what was easily his most productive game since coming over from Toronto at the trade deadline. The Blazers nabbed Powell in an attempt to boost their three-point shooting around McCollum and Damian Lillard, though defense will likely be an issue for this team come playoff time.
Lillard will have to lead the charge if Portland is to pull the upset in this one. Utah was able to keep Portland’s MVP candidate in check in their previous matchup, as Dame accounted for just nine points on middling four-for-12 shooting from the field. McCollum led the way with 23 points, and he was the only Blazer to score more than 15.
Portland has been as neutral as they come from a betting perspective this season. The Blazers are exactly 25-25 against the spread, and this will be the second meeting of the year between the teams. The Jazz picked up a 20-point win in Portland back on the first night of the season in December, and the teams won’t meet again until May 12.
What’s the Best Bet?
Utah is justifiably favored tonight, but the spread looks a bit wide considering the game situation here. The Jazz played a grueling OT affair in Phoenix last night, while the Blazers have been waiting in Salt Lake City for at least a day. With potential fatigue and the chance that Conley misses this game, I think this is a good opportunity to take a shot on the underdog.
Betting on the Blazers to actually win this game looks a bit dicey given Portland’s defensive woes this season, but the Blazers should at least be able to make it a competitive game. I like the Blazers to cover the 6-point spread here on the road. For added value tonight be sure to check out our complete Suns vs LA Clippers pick here.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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