The Los Angeles Clippers played a relatively ordinary game against the Detroit Pistons this past Wednesday, but they won it, and that’s reflective of a team that’s learning how to finish off close games on the road. The Clippers might very well be immersed in another close game on Saturday at the end of a seven-game road trip. They’re a 4.5-point favorite on the NBA betting lines.
The Los Angeles Clippers Can Win Because…
They are the better team, and they have been playing much more responsibly over the past week and a half. The Clippers began a seven-game road trip on Nov. 19 in Orlando. They have gone 5-1 on that trip and will be wrapping up this seven-game swing against Utah on Saturday. Given the way the Clippers have competed, you have to like their chances, so keep this in mind when looking at the NBA odds. Los Angeles has been through the rigors of an NBA season at a higher level. Coach Doc Rivers knows how to manage a team through the ups and downs of the calendar and the schedule. Utah coach Quin Snyder is just beginning to learn how to handle a team in his first season as an NBA head coach.
In terms of recent trends, you would have to think that the Clippers should win. The team has scored at least 102 points in five of its six road games on this long trip, and the team is averaging just over 103 points per game heading into Saturday’s meeting with Utah. The Clippers are eighth in the NBA in assists, thanks to Chris Paul, who has been the dependable initiator of the offense the past few weeks. Utah, on the other hand, is 23rd in the league in both scoring offense and scoring defense. The Jazz are 22nd in rebounding and are 3-7 in their last 10 games.
The Utah Jazz Can Win Because…
They're getting the Clippers at a point in time when Los Angeles could be ripe for a letdown. The Clippers have been extended on their road trip. After playing in Detroit on Wednesday, the Clippers had to go to Houston for a Friday game. They would then be going to higher altitude in Salt Lake City the next night for the second half of a back-to-back at the very end of a road trip. This screams “letdown” for the Clippers. Athletes have off nights, and after what is likely to be a punishing game against a good Houston team, the Clippers might be worn down and fatigued. This could be the perfect setup for a Jazz upset. Playing at home should give Utah some additional energy to begin with. What’s a bigger key is that Utah hasn’t played since Wednesday. That’s going to change the balance of competitive power in this game.
The schedule really helps the Jazz here but at the end of the day, Utah is a 5-11 team going up against a Western Conference contender. The Clippers beat Houston on Friday and they’ve got some momentum with three straight wins. Take Los Angeles here with your NBA picks as they should keep it going.
Free NBA Pick: Clippers -5.5 at BookMaker