Take Road Favorite Spurs -5.5 Over Jazz for Your NBA Picks

Joe Gavazzi

Monday, February 23, 2015 5:35 PM GMT

Monday, Feb. 23, 2015 5:35 PM GMT

Tonight two big Western Conference Meet and our expert handicapper analyzes the odds and gives us his free NBA pick for this contest between San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz.

San Antonio Spurs (-5-) vs. Utah Jazz 9:05 ET
The San Antonio Spurs visit the Utah Jazz at 9:05 ET in a battle of NBA Western Conference opponents who have opposite motivations.  At 20-34 SU, Utah is playing out the season, looking forward to next year. Defending champion, San Antonio, stands 34-21 SU for the season in 7th place in the Western Conference playoff queue. These 2 teams have met twice this season, splitting a pair of home decisions with the Spurs prevailing 89-69 in San Antonio after Utah garnered a 100-96 decision on their home court. On the basis of that victory, do not expect San Antonio to take this team lightly.  

As did many NBA teams, the Utah Jazz were active at the NBA trade deadline following the longest All-Star break in recent memory.  Most notably, they traded productive Center, Enes Kanter, to OKC for veteran Kendrick Perkins, whom the Jazz had no intention to keep.  The loss of Kanter was not felt by Utah in their first game after the All-Star break. The Jazz played one of their best games of the season in a 92-76 victory vs. Portland on Friday night. In so doing, they held the high-scoring Blazers to just 36% from the field. Spanning the break, it means Utah has gone 3-1 SU, while winning consecutive home games. Those home victories have not been the rule for Utah this season as the Jazz are just 11-15 SU on their home court and a mediocre 8-8 ATS as home dog. Greatest concern for Utah is scoring the basketball.  Their 95.7 PPG is the worst in the West.  

Each year at this time, the rodeo comes to San Antonio. The Spurs are sent packing for the better part of the month. Tonight, they play their 6th of 9 away games, spanning the All-Star break. The defending champs are normally a strong road team. But, they are just 14-14 SU this year as traveler, scoring 7 less PPG on the road than at home. Coming out of the All-Star break, the Spurs have gone 0-2 SU ATS. Losses were to the LA Clippers (119-115) last Thursday and to Golden St. (110-99) on Friday night. HC Popovich often rests his starters in the 2nd half of the season, as they prepare for the playoffs. No such luxury this season, as the Spurs are locked into the 7th position in the Western playoff queue.  With 3 days of rest, expect full focus from the Spurs.Their first half to date has been marred by injuries to such key players as Parker and Leonard. Tonight, however, the entire roster should be healthy.  

Look for full focus from the defending champs, as they realize that in the crowded Western Conference playoff race, they are just 3 games out of 3rd place. Motivation comes from consecutive road losses out of the All-Star break, along with the knowledge they lost at this site earlier in the season. Do not expect Popovich to take his foot off the gas pedal until the Spurs have this one locked up.

NBA Pick: Take San Antonio at Bookmaker

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