For now Utah is favored by 3.5 or 4 points in the NBA betting odds, while the O/U is at 196.5 or 197. The Jazz are 8-23 SU and 13-17-1 ATS and the Lakers are 13-16 SU and 16-12-1 ATS.
Los Angeles Lakers
It's been a tough week for the Lakers. They've been hit with a lot of injury woes and have also lost three straight games.
On Christmas Day they gave the defending champs a good fight in a 101-95 loss. Pau Gasol had 13 points and 13 rebounds, Jodie Meeks and Wesley Johnson combined for 29 points and Nick Young (20 points), Xavier Henry (14/5/2) and Jordan Hill (nine points and 10 boards) played well off the bench.
Now L.A. heads back on the road where they're 6-9 SU and 7-8 ATS.
The Lakers will be missing four of their best players though and that's a big problem. Kobe Bryant (knee), Steve Nash (back) and Steve Blake (elbow) are out long-term and Gasol is set to miss tonight's game too because of an illness.
Jordan Farmar has recently returned and that's a boost to the ultra-thin backcourt, but L.A. is going to have to get contributions from a few different areas if they're to hang tonight, even against a struggling Jazz team. Jordan Hill figures to get extra playing time, while Nick Young will be counted upon to get his offense going.
All things considered, Utah's recent road trip wasn't too bad. They headed out east for a five-game set and got a couple wins over Orlando (86-82) and Charlotte (88-85). The Jazz also lost to three good teams in Miami, Atlanta and Memphis.
Tyrone Corbin's team has been off since Monday's 104-94 loss to the Grizzlies. Coming in the Jazz were getting 6.5 points from online sportsbooks.
Gordon Hayward did a little of everything in the loss. He scored 16 points on 5-of-13 shooting and also contributed 11 rebounds, nine assists, four blocks and a steal. Trey Burke added 18 points and five assists and Richard Jefferson and Derrick Favors also scored in double figures.
The Jazz have had a lot of trouble offensively recently, averaging only 89.4 points on 41.6 percent shooting over their past five contests. In that same span they're allowing 101.2 PPG on 47.2 percent shooting.
However, Utah should be able to fare better on the offensive end against the Lakers, who are giving up 103.3 PPG overall and 106.5 PPG on the road this season.
Yes, the Jazz have the worse record and are hard to trust with our NBA picks in general, but they're going to get our recommendation here tonight.
There's just too many injury concerns for the Lakers right now. Mike D'Antoni has them playing hard regardless, but we think Utah's young talent will do enough to guide them to a straight up and against the spread victory.
With that said, we're going to go with the Jazz, who've had plenty of time to rest and prepare, to cash this short number at home.
Pick: Jazz -3.5