There could be a higher scoring game than the total suggests when the Orlando Magic visit the Utah Jazz, who come off of a hard-fought narrow defeat to the undefeated Warriors.
There could be a deflated total Thursday night between two teams that went ‘over’ the first time they met this season down in Florida, as this time the Orlando Magic (10-8, 12-6 ATS) pay a visit to the Utah Jazz (8-8, 10-6 ATS) at Vivint Smart Home Arena in Salt Lake City, UT at 9:05 ET in a game available on FOX Sports - Florida.
The posted total at Pinnacle Sports is 192 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘over’ set at -110.
Both Teams Look Improved
Neither of these young teams made the playoffs last season with both finishing below .500, but both appear to be improved here in 2015. The Jazz threw a scare into the undefeated Golden State Warriors here at home on Monday before barely falling 106-103. Even with that defeat, Utah remains right at the .500 mark at 8-8, and while the Utah success has been fueled by defense, the offense has been noticeably better as of late.
The Magic have been doormats in the Eastern Conference for several years, but they have a nice young nucleus that is beginning to round into form this season and as a result, Orlando finds itself with a winning NBA picks record of 10-8 while also being one of the better bets in the league at 12-6 ATS. The Magic come in riding a four-game winning streak both straight up and ATS.
Will Jazz Have Energy?
The Jazz gave a lot of energy on Monday in their attempt to be the first team to knock off the Warriors, and although they have had two days off, there could still be a natural letdown following that gargantuan effort. And usually that manifests itself in a lack of intensity on the defensive end, although the good news for the Jazz is that they have actually been scoring points lately after struggling offensively earlier on.
Sure the Jazz are still just 27th in the NBA in scoring with their 96.0 points per game overall, but they have now topped the 100-point mark in three straight games after doing so only once this season over the first 13 games prior to this streak! It has helped that swingman Gordon Hayward is heating up, averaging 23.0 points and shooting an even 50.0 percent from three-point range over the last five games.
Utah usually plays some of the best defense in the league too ranking third in points against, but at the same time part of that has to do with preferring a slow pace as the Jazz are also only 18th in field goal percentage allowed at 44.4 percent after allowing 48.8 percent shooting to the Warriors.
Young Magic Can Score
The Magic have been playing a bit faster lately, and if that continues, they can score here too despite Utah’s ranking in points against. Orlando could be a team that is maturing right before our eyes, as the current four-game winning streak under Coach Scott Skiles in his first year with the Magic is the longest for the team since 2012.
The Magic did have a streak if scoring at least 100 points in four straight games snapped in a 96-93 road win over the Timberwolves in Minnesota Tuesday, but even in that game they has six players reach double-digits in scoring while outscoring Minnesota 46-32 in the paint.
Furthermore these teams met earlier this season in Orlando back on November 13th, and although that was well before either offense got in its currently nice groove, the teams still went ‘over’ in a 102-93 Magic victory, making Orlando one of six teams to reach 100 points vs. Utah in 16 games.
Trending the ‘over’
Finally, as great as the Utah defense has been this season it is the ‘over’ that is 6-0 in the Jazz’s last six games vs. teams with winning records. The ‘over’ is also 5-2 in the Jazz’s last seven games after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game, as well as 5-2 in the Magic’s last seven games vs. the Northwest Division.
Look for those trends to continue tonight with this relatively low total when Orlando and Utah do enough to get ‘over’ the total in Salt Lake City on Thursday.
NBA Pick: Magic, Jazz ‘over’ 192 (-110)