Free NBA Picks: Bet Rising Jazz To Cover ATS vs. Wizards Squad

Joe Gavazzi

Thursday, February 18, 2016 6:25 PM GMT

The Utah Jazz travel to the nation’s capital to meet the Washington Wizards in a game that will begin the second half of the NBA season. Who will be our NBA pick tonight?

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NBA Pick: Jazz -1
Best Line Offered: at Bet365

Utah Jazz vs. Washington Wizards 7:00PM ET
The All-Star break was a bit more lengthy as usual, with every team (except Washington) having a minimum of 8 days of rest. That type of break, even for the players who participated in the All-Star game, can have a rejuvenating effect on the body and mind. At least at the start of the “2nd half” many teams will be playing with the enthusiasm of opening day. For the lesser teams in the league, that will soon wane.  At least for this weekend, however, look for teams to be rested and focused.

That is particularly true of today’s teams. Utah won 8 of their 10 games leading to the break to pull to .500 at 26-26 SU. It is good for 8th place in the West. But, there are no fewer than 4 teams, including Dallas, Portland and Houston, who are within two games of each other for the final spots in the West. For Washington, the Wizards finished 3-7 in the first half for 23-28 SU record. Though sitting in 10th place in the West, there are no fewer than 8 teams who are within 5 games of each other that are currently holding the 4th through 11th positions.  In short, the East is wide open!  

The first half of the season for Washington is characterized by numerous injuries to interior players, Gortat, Nene, Porter, Humphries and starting guard, Beal. But, if there is one aspect of this year’s Wizards’ team that stands out, it is that their 105 PPG allowed is last in the East.  This includes 112 PPG in the 10 games leading to the All-Star break. With a long-term record that is less than 40% ATS as home chalk, the Wizards are tough to trust in this role. 

The Utah Jazz is a team on the rise. They enter today on a 6-1 SU run which roughly correlates with the return of power forward, Derrick Favors, who has averaged 16 PPG. Emerging scoring force, Hood (20 PPG L10 games), is now teaming with Hayward (20 PPG) to give the Jazz three legitimate scorers.  With Gobert in the middle, who is averaging 13/11 L10 and intimidating any opposing player who drives the lane, this is a Utah team who is on the rise. When you consider that their 96 PPG defense is 2nd best in the league (to San Antonio) and 9 full points better than Washington, you can see why this is an easy selection.

I invite you to put the NBA odds in your favor and join me in my NBA pick on the Utah Jazz to open the 2nd half of the NBA season tonight.