NBA Pick on Celtics, Jazz ‘over’ in Salt Lake City

LT Profits Sports Group

Monday, January 26, 2015 5:25 PM UTC

Monday, Jan. 26, 2015 5:25 PM UTC

Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out a total that simply does not add up and therefore offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Monday.


Look for a higher scoring game than the posted total suggests Monday night when the Boston Celtics (15-27, 6-14 away) pay a visit to the Utah Jazz (16-28, 8-12 home) at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, UT at 9:05 ET in a game available on Comcast SportsNet - New England.

The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 194 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -101.

Celtics Playing Better out West
The Celtics had lost 24 straight games straight up on the road vs. Western Conference teams, but you would not know that from their play on this road trip so far as they snapped that streak with a 90-89 win at Portland on Thursday, then won a again at Denver Friday and then gave the team with the best record in the NBA, the Golden State Warriors, all that they can handle in a 114-111 defeat on Sunday.

Boston is 4-0 ATS thus far on a West trip that began with a covering 102-93 loss to the Clippers.

The Jazz have been winning NBA picks in their last two games, both vs. Eastern Conference opponents, first scoring a nice road win in Milwaukee and then returning home to unexpectedly blow out the Brooklyn Nets by 35 points 108-73 on Saturday. Utah is still not a playoff contender at 16-28 and only the team that now has the worst record in the NBA, the Minnesota Timberwolves, is keeping the Jazz out of the Northwest Division basement.

High Scoring Boston Games Lately
While the Celtics’ improved play began with this road trip, their recent string of higher scoring games than they were involved in earlier in the season goes back a bit farther, over their last nine games overall as a matter of fact. Granted it is the ‘under’ that is 5-4 over those last nine games, but that does not tell the entire story, at least in relation to this contest.

You see, the last nine Boston contests have averaged a healthy combined total of 204.3 points per game with eight of the nine encounters producing a total point output of 195 points or more. That may not seem like much when compared to the league average, but it does mean that the ‘over’ would be 8-1 in those games vs. tonight’s posted total.

The Celtics are also now surprisingly up to ninth in the NBA in scoring with 101.9 points per game, but the defense is not showing that same improvement, much to the chagrin of defensive-minded head coach Brad Stevens, as Boston remains 25th in the league in points against at 103.9 per game. That overall combined average of 205.8 points blows away this posted total by nearly 12 points.

Jazz Suddenly Scoring Points
This total is no doubt being kept down by the Jazz ranking 23rd in the NBA in scoring with 95.8 points per game while also ranking a good 10th in points allowed at 98.5 per game. However, the Jazz suddenly topped 100 points in each of their last two wins mentioned earlier after not reaching triple-digits in seven straight games prior to that, and they now again have a chance to reach the century mark due to the shaky Celtic defense.

As for the defense, those points allowed by the Jazz are actually very deceptive as they are only 26th in field goal percentage allowed at 46.2 percent and an even worse 28th in three-point defense at 37.3 percent. Thus the good points-against figure is more of a function of playing at a slow pace, as evidenced by the fact that Utah is just 27th in defensive efficiency grading out at a poor 106.1 points per 100 possessions.

The Celtics have done a good job of quickening the pace during this road trip and the Utah defense should be exposed if Boston successfully does so again here.

An ‘over’ Series in Utah
Finally, the Jazz won 110-98 the last time these teams met last season here in Utah, making the ‘over’ 4-0 in the last four meetings in Salt Lake City. Furthermore, if you are into long-term trends, consider that the ‘over’ is also 18-7-2 in the last 27 meetings overall.

While we put little relevance in patterns that go back that far due to personnel turnover, the recent play of these teams seems like enough to keep that trend going for at least one more game when the Celtics visit Utah on Monday.

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NBA Pick: Celtics, Jazz ‘over’ 194 (-101)


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