Jazz Will Beat Clippers as West Series Shifts to Salt Lake City

Thursday, April 20, 2017 2:34 PM UTC

Thursday, Apr. 20, 2017 2:34 PM UTC

The tied Western Conference first-round series between the LA Clippers and Utah Jazz shits to Salt Lake City on Friday with the Jazz opening as slim 1-point favorites. Our capper likes Utah to take a 2-1 series lead. 

The Clippers evened up their first-round playoff series with the Jazz in a 99-91 victory in Game 2 on Tuesday. Despite owning a double-digit lead much of the night, the win was hardly a confidence builder with Utah star center Rudy Gobert sidelined with a hyperextension and bone bruise to his left knee. L.A. failed to cover a 9-point spread, which oddmakers opened at -7.

Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin scored 63 of the team’s 99 points. This 64 percent distribution is not what Clippers backers are looking for in a contest. When combining to score more than 40 percent of the team’s points, L.A. is just 8-16-1 ATS (20-5 SU). Getting other scorers involved helps keep opposing defenses off balance and the number honest.

What’s troubling the Clippers most in this 4-5 matchup? Pace. Utah has slowed the tempo of each game to a crawl with an average 90.3 pace rating. The Jazz fire up the fewest shots per game in the NBA at 79.3 and hold foes to a third-best 82.0 attempts on the other end. Since the All-Star break, L.A. struggles to beat the spread against slower teams. It is 7-10 SU and 5-12 ATS vs. opponents that combine to see less than 170 field goals attempted per game. The Clippers tip off as -3.3 points favorites in this span. Against those putting up and allowing more, they are 19-8 SU and 15-12 ATS behind a -3.4 average spread.

Gobert is likely out for Game 3, but Coach Quin Snyder is suggesting just a 1-2 week absence, rather than longer as initially feared if Utah advances. The news adds  confidence to a unit already riding high following a Game 1 road win. The Jazz are forcing the Clippers' hand in this series, and will use home-court advantage to push them over the edge on Friday.

Free NBA Pick: Jazz -1Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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