This must-play NBA Pick features one of the great situational plays in the league, as the Indiana Pacers face Utah Jazz after a tough loss, and no rest.
Indiana Pacers vs. Utah Jazz (-2) 9:05 ET
A review of the standings from each the Eastern and Western Conference finds that neither of these teams would be invited to the NBA Playoff party in the middle of April. Utah is just 12-22 SU with a sub-standard 6-10 SU home record. They are currently 6 games behind Phoenix in the loss column for the final playoff spot. At 13-22 SU, Indiana is just 6-13 SU away. They trail Miami by 2 games for the final spot in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
That’s a long way away from where Indiana was last year. But, the off-season injury to their best player, Paul George, and the trade of Lance Stephenson left this team shorthanded to begin the season. When top rotation players, PG Hill and PF West, missed early action, the Pacers struggled to an 8-19 SU start. Once Hill and West returned from injury and were integrated into the lineup, the Pacers have gone on a 9-2 ATS run. But, the recent loss of PG Hill once again (strained groin), along with the absence of 6th man Watson and interior force Mahinmi, leave the Pacers shorthanded for this contest. They must also attempt to overcome a brutal loss last night. Leading by 13 points as 1 point favorite at the LA Lakers, Indiana blew the entire lead, losing 88-77. Now, they must pick up the pieces and travel to the altitude of Utah.
Much like Indiana, Utah got off to a slow start. They began 6-19 SU. Their resurgence began several weeks ago. Since that time, Utah has gone 6-3 SU because they have allowed just 92.5 PPG from the defensive end. That was evident Saturday night when they defeated Minnesota (101-89) with solid defense and 51% shooting. Now, the Jazz have covered 8 of their most recent 11 games, matching the Pacers’ recent streak.
For the last 25 years, the Jazz have been a strong play at home vs. unrested, Eastern Conference foes. That record is 94-26 SU, 71-48 ATS. For the season this year, all West vs. East matchups have favored the West team 120-74 SU with the West covering the East 20 of the last 28 occurrences this season. But, combination of the Jazz current form and the Pacers arriving shorthanded, with no rest and off a brutal loss, makes this a must-play NBA pick.
Free NBA Picks: Take Utah Jazz -2.5 (-105) at 5Dimes