NBA Pick: Washington Wizards, Utah Jazz to stay ‘under’ 196

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, January 23, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013 5:00 AM UTC

The Jazz are allowing a shade over 95 points per game at home while allowing 100 points only twice to teams not named the Clippers, and the Wizards have an underrated defense.

Look for a relatively low scoring NBA matchup on Wednesday night when the revitalized Washington Wizards (9-30, 3-17 away) pay a visit to the Utah Jazz (22-19, 13-4 home) at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, UT at 9:05 ET.

The posted total at Bookmaker Sportsbook is 196 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -110.

Do not be fooled by the either the Wizards’ 9-30 record or their 3-17 road mark, as Washington has improved since John Wall returned going 5-2 straight up in their last seven games, and two of their three road wins this season have come in their last three road games, with the most recent being a 98-95 win at Portland vs. the Trail Blazers Monday.

Believe it or not though, the Washington defense has performed well enough to win games all year, as it is the offense that is ranked dead last in the NBA in both scoring (91.0 points per game) and in field goal percentage (41.8), and those have improved dramatically in the six games since Wall came back, accounting for the sudden Wizards’ success.

The defense remains underrated though despite the fact that the Wizards have now allowed less than 100 points in seven of their last eight games overall and in 14 of their 20 road games this season. Now so coincidentally, the ‘under’ is 14-6, 70.0 percent in those road games!

The Wizards may rank 13th in points allowed at 96.8 per game, but they are eighth in field goal percentage allowed at only 43.9 percent and 10th in the NBA defensive efficiency ratings while yielding 101.1 points per 100 possessions. They are also dead last in offensive efficiency at 94.7 points per 100, although that will almost certainly go up with Wall back. Still, the defense remains a fairly well-kept secret that gives value to the ‘under’ on rather large totals like this.

Now, the Jazz are certainly not known for their defense either, but they do have a large home vs. away disparity. You see, Utah has not been able to stop much on the road, where it allows a whopping 101.0 points per game. However, it seems that only the Los Angeles Clippers have been able to solve the Utah defense here at EnergySolutions Arena!

Utah is allowing only 95.3 points per game in this building while allowing one team to reach 100 points in the last 10 home contests, with that being the Clippers. The Clippers have now scored 116 and 105 in their two trips to Salt Lake City this season, but besides those two contests, the Jazz have allowed 100 points only twice in their other 15 home games.

Utah won the first meeting between these clubs 83-76 in our nation’s capital way back on November 17th. This game does not figure to be quote that low scoring, but we do feel that it will be low scoring enough to stay ‘under’ this total on Wednesday.

NBA Pick: Wizards, Jazz ‘under’ 196 (-110)

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