NBA Picks Jazz vs. Lakers -3.5

Jeff Grant

Friday, January 3, 2014 2:28 PM GMT

The Los Angeles Lakers have fallen on hard times, but they’ll likely end a losing streak against the Utah Jazz Friday. Let’s take a closer look at the NBA betting odds for this Western Conference affair at the Staples Center.

Finishing out a back-to-back situation

Utah is looking to put together its first three-game winning streak of the season, which includes a 96-87 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks as 5.5-point home favorites Thursday, while going UNDER the betting total for a third consecutive contest.

The Jazz haven’t swept a back-to-back situation during the 2013-14 campaign, while they’ve gone 4-22 SU and 8-17 ATS as road underdogs of 3.5 to 6 points in the NBA odds the last two-plus seasons.

Hard times

Los Angeles will try to avoid its first seven-game losing streak since dropping five in a row Jan. 26-Feb. 21, 2007, as it suffered a 94-79 setback to the Milwaukee Bucks as six-point home favorites Tuesday.

The Lakers were led offensively by Pau Gasol and Nick Young, as both finished with 25 points, but the team shot just 35.8 percent from the floor.

Over the last two-plus seasons, the franchise is a dismal 13-19 SU and 9-22-1 ATS off a upset loss as a favorite.

On the road

NBA handicappers shouldn’t blindly back the Jazz in this advantageous spot, considering they’ve gone 5-14 SU on the road, including a 3-8 mark versus conference foes.

Utah has proven victorious in five of its last six meetings in this series, but is 6-21 SU all-time when playing at this venue.

Lining up

Lakers head coach Mike D’Antoni isn’t having a fun time on the sidelines, as he’s sent out a different starting lineup in 17 of 32 games this season—including the last eight.

Los Angeles ranks 19th in the NBA in averaging 98.9 points per game, but it sits 28th in terms of allowing 103.3 a contest.

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers follow our lead as we back the Lakers in our NBA picks, as they’ve covered the number in all 13 wins this season.

NBA Pick: Los Angeles Lakers -3.5

[gameodds]5/251937/?r-1=43-19-349/us[/gameodds]