NBA Picks: Jazz vs. Lakers

Jeff Grant

Friday, January 25, 2013 1:06 PM GMT

Friday, Jan. 25, 2013 1:06 PM GMT

The Los Angeles Lakers continue to free fall in the Western Conference standings, as they prepare to host the Utah Jazz at the Staples Center Friday night.


Let’s take a closer look at the betting odds for this rivalry matchup and determine a winning betting strategy.

Solid basketball

Utah is arguably playing its best basketball of the 2012-13 NBA so far this regular season. The squad has won eight of its last 10 games, including a 92-88 victory over the Washington Wizards as seven-point home favorites Wednesday. The Jazz will return to Salt Lake City to open up a four-game homestand Saturday after this particular affair. Utah is 7-3 against the spread (ATS) in January, with the UNDER going 6-4 in that situation.

Circling the drain

Los Angeles has dropped eight of its last 10 affairs, as it returns from a winless three-game road trip, which included a 106-93 setback to the Memphis Grizzlies as 3.5-point underdogs Wednesday. The Lakers have really struggled on the defensive end this year, allowing 101.5 points per game, which is currently their worst mark in six years. Los Angeles is 3-9 ATS since the calendar turned to 2013, with the OVER going 6-5 in that period of time.

All that jazz

Sports bettors need to be aware that the Jazz have won the last four games in this series when making their NBA picks against the spread Friday, including a 117-110 victory in the last meeting as seven-point road underdogs. This game also went OVER the posted total of 209. Utah hasn’t captured five or more consecutive wins in this series since the late 1990s. It’s still important to note that tonight’s visitor is still 6-20 all-time when playing at the Staples Center.

Frustration is setting in

Kobe Bryant is second in the league in averaging 29.2 points per game, but the Lakers shooting guard has been frustrated by the team’s play for most of the season. He has combined to score 63 points on 39 percent shooting in two games against the Jazz this year—finishing as the high scorer in each contest for both sides.

Facing conference opponents on the road

The Jazz are going to be considered dangerous road underdogs when the line is established for this game on the NBA betting odds page, but it’s important to note that they’ve dropped 10 of 13 games away from EnergySolutions Arena when facing conference foes. Utah has also compiled a disappointing 6-11 ATS record after playing three consecutive home games the last two-plus seasons.

[gameodds]5/134754/43/us[/gameodds]

Setting the odds

I’m going to establish the Lakers as 4.5-point home favorites in this affair, which is a line that readers should use in determining a play on this game. The Jazz should attract your money at a number of five or higher, or lay the points at 4.5 or lower.

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