Home Favorite Trail Blazers Is Our NBA Pick To Cover & Beat Jazz

Jay Pryce

Sunday, February 21, 2016 4:28 PM GMT

The Jazz and Trail Blazers battle for the fourth and final time this year at the Moda Center on Sunday night. Don't miss our NBA pick and game analysis inside.

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Free NBA Pick: Portland -3.5
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

 

Utah Jazz (27-27 SU, 28-25-1 ATS)
The Jazz rolled over the Celtics 111-93 on Friday in their second game following the break. Prior to the All-Star weekend, head coach Quin Snyder's bunch won seven of eight, lifting themselves back into the Western Conference playoff race.

Derrick Favors, who dropped 23 points and pulled down 10 boards in the Boston victory, is the difference-maker, particularly on defense. He missed 16 games earlier in the year with back spasms, but returned to the lineup on a full-time basis on January 25th. When Favors and 7-1 center Rudy Gobert both suit up, the Jazz are holding teams to 93.5 points a night. Will they be able to slow down the Trail Blazers in Portland? Tough call. Utah has one of the worst road-to-home differences in defensive efficiency in the NBA, allowing 108.3 points per 100 possessions on the road versus 101.4 at home.

SG Rodney Hood (14.9 ppg) might be the answer on offense. He is averaging 19.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 2.8 assists over his last 10 games, scoring at least 20 points in seven of the last 13 games. He's only popped 20 or more four times on the road this season with the Jazz going 4-1 ATS in those games.

 

Portland Trail Blazers (28-27 SU, 30-24-1 ATS)
The Trail Blazers enter this game riding high after walloping the Warriors 137-105 on Friday night. It was the most points the defending title holders have allowed in two years. Star PG Damian Lillard led the charge with 51 points from 18-of-28 shooting. He set a Portland record for most three-pointers in a game with nine.

Lillard (24.9 ppg), SG C.J. McCollum (20.7 ppg) and SG Allen Crabbe (11.2 ppg) are the team’s three top scorers. When the trio scores above their combined average (56.8) on a night, the Blazers are 15-7 ATS, jumping to 110.1 points per game and hitting their team total in 20 of 22 games. The OVER is 18-3-1. Scoring below their combined average, the team is 10-14 ATS with a 97.8 scoring average. The UNDER is 19-5 and they've failed to hit their team total in 14 games. The Jazz's 38.5 field goal percentage and 18.7 points per game allowed against opposing guards over the last 10 games is tops in the NBA.

The Jazz, with their smothering half-court defense, own the best opponent assist-to-field goals made ratio in the league at .534 percent. But can they slowdown Portland at home? No one else has with this low a mark. In seven games against teams with a .560 percent or lower, the Trailblazers average 107.5 points a game at Moda Center, scoring 5.5 more than projected as a team.

 

Final Analysis
So, who will be in our Sunday's picks? The Jazz are better with Favors in the lineup, particularly on defense, but do they have enough firepower to hang with the Trail Blazers? Doubtful. Portland has eclipsed their projected team total in 19 of 28 home games this season, and it will take a Goliath stand from Utah to slow Lillard and company down with their play of late. I don't expect the Trail Blazers to post 137 points again like last time, but they should score enough to outrun the Jazz and cover the 3.5-point spread. With the NBA odds boards available at SBR showing Portland as a -3.5 favorite, we can say that we are laying the point as the NBA pick