NBA Picks: Lock Jazz To Take Care Of Business At Home Against Celtics

Jason Lake

Friday, February 19, 2016 4:18 PM GMT

The Utah Jazz have the new point guard they needed. But can Shelvin Mack help the Jazz beat the NBA odds Friday night when they host the Boston Celtics?

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NBA Pick: Jazz +1
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Feb. 18: 21-25-1 ATS, 5-1-1 Total

 

This might not be the blockbuster trade Utah Jazz fans were hoping for, but it will have to do. The Jazz swung a minor deal ahead of Thursday's trade deadline, picking up third-string PG Shelvin Mack from the Atlanta Hawks. Will Daddy Mack make Utah jump, jump into the Western Conference playoffs?

First things first. Utah has a date Friday night (10:30 p.m. ET) with the Boston Celtics, who went into the All-Star break as the No. 3 team in the East – but only 4.5 games out of ninth place. The C's will be shorthanded when they arrive in Salt Lake City, too. At press time, this game is a pick 'em on our NBA odds board, with a total of 196 points.

 

Eating Raul
We wouldn't normally be talking too much about Mack (15.8 PER, –3.4 BPM), but the Jazz could definitely use his services. They've got issues at point guard; Trey Burke (15.3 PER, –1.3 BPM) has been better this year, but he's still been a disappointment since getting drafted ninth overall in 2013. Dante Exum, their No. 5 pick from 2014, tore his left ACL while playing for his native Australia over the summer.

That leaves Raul Neto (10.1 PER, –2.4 BPM) as Utah's starting point guard. Neto was a second-round pick in 2013, having played for the Brazilian national team at the 2012 London Olympics, and in Spain before that. He's not completely raw as an NBA rookie, but Neto isn't helping Utah (26-27 SU, 27-26 ATS) get over the hump in the West. Mack played with SF Gordon Hayward when they were with the Butler Bulldogs. He can help Utah right now.

 

Kelly Green
Kelly Olynyk (16.9 PER, +1.8 BPM), on the other hand, won't be helping Boston for at least the next couple of weeks. The affable Canadian center is out with a partially dislocated right shoulder. Not a major problem for the Celtics (32-23 SU, 31-23-1 ATS), who built the most profitable record in the East with a boatload of depth in the paint. Jared Sullinger (16.6 PER, +1.4 BPM), written off by many C's observers going into the new season, has been one of the team's best defenders. Tyler Zeller (15.2 PER, –4.5 BPM) offers rim protection off the bench.

We're still going to roll with Utah for our NBA picks. The stat nerds at FiveThirtyEight agree with this matchup being a pick 'em, while Basketball-Reference prefers Utah at around –1 based on their Simple Rating System. The addition of Mack and the removal of Olynyk put enough extra distance between the two teams for us to recommend Utah for a small bet at the more favorable price. Enjoy the game, and may the sphere be with you.