NBA Picks: Defense Is Paramount When Capping Spurs vs Jazz

Jay Pryce

Tuesday, April 5, 2016 2:00 PM GMT

Tuesday, Apr. 5, 2016 2:00 PM GMT

The red-hot Jazz host the Spurs on Tuesday night with massive postseason implications for Utah. Defense is expected to dominate. What is the play? Get your pick and betting analysis here. 

San Antonio Spurs (64-12 SU, 42-33-1 ATS)
Quietly accruing one of the best winning percentages in NBA history through 75 games, and attempting to become first team in league history to go undefeated at home, the Spurs have been vulnerable on the road. Half of San Antonio's 12 losses away from the AT&T Center have occurred in a span of nine games where its average victory margin is 10 points or less than its opponent.

The Spurs play their second game of the year at Vivint Smart Home Arena, where they thumped the Jazz 96-78 in a dominating defensive display in late February. Utah is rolling into this meeting, winners of 10 of its last 13 games, and has closed the scoring margin gap to under 10 points (11.6 to 1.9). Can the Spurs hold off the Jazz? Maybe. It will be a nail-biter for sure.

The Spurs enter the game with the best shooting offense in the league, finding the net with 48.8 percent of their shots. They are 58-1 SU and 40-18-1 ATS when posting a better shooting night than their opponent. They sometimes meet their match against strong defenses on the road, though. Against foes allowing 45 percent or less from the floor, coach Gregg Popovich's squad is 9-9 SU (8-10 ATS), scoring 99.2 points a night on 46.5 percent shooting. Versus teams yielding a higher rate, the Spurs are 16-2 (12-6 ATS) with 105.8 points per game on 50.0 percent from the field. The Jazz hold opponents to 44.6 percent shooting a night; a stifling 42.8 at home.

 

Utah Jazz (39-38 SU, 39-36-2 ATS)
The Jazz are clinging to the final playoff spot in the West by one game with five to play. They are hot and playing above the betting market's expectations to end the year. Not only have they won 10 of their last 13 outright, but have covered the spread in each victory as well. Only the Magic has beat the number as many times in the last calendar month.

The Western Conference team's success begins and ends with their stingy defense. Much like the Spurs, they make teams work extra hard for open looks and dismantle the pick-and-roll. In their last 24 home games, the Jazz have allowed only three teams to reach the century mark, the Warriors, Rockets, and Kings. Overall, they're allowing 89.7 points per game on 41.9 percent shooting in this span, holding teams below their projected team total in all but five. The D has been particularly strong of late, allowing 93 points on 100 possession over its last five games, tops in the NBA in efficiency.

Offensively, the Jazz are shooting 47.7 percent from the floor over their last five games, putting up 102.2 points per contest. They own the NBA's 11th most efficient unit during this time, scoring 110.3 points per 100 possessions.

The UNDER has hit in 9 of Utah's last 11 games. The 185.5 NBA odds total is third lowest for a Jazz game all season.

 

Final Analysis
Boris Diaw is the only player confirmed out for the matchup, but one has to think Pop will manage his lineup cautiously on this three-game road trip. I'd like the Spurs if this was sandwiched in the middle of the schedule, but cannot trust them at this time of year. Ditto with the Utah offense. We can get on board with the Jazz defense, though, and the NBA pick is on the Spurs team total to stay UNDER 94.

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":2883620, "sportsbooksIds":[1096,93,92,238,169,19], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]
Free NBA Pick:  Spurs Team Total Under 94
Best Line Offered:  at 5Dimes

comment here