Timberwolves-Jazz: What Happened to Utah?

Jason Lake

Friday, March 2, 2018 12:11 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 2, 2018 12:11 PM UTC

The Utah Jazz were destroying the basketball odds, but they’ve dropped the cash in five straight games. Will Friday’s home game against the Minnesota Timberwolves be any different?

Timberwolves (38-27, 30-33-2 ATS) at Jazz (31-30, 31-30 ATS)Free NBA Pick: Under 210Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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It could just be the small sample size. The Utah Jazz (31-30 SU and ATS) were the hottest team in the NBA heading into the All-Star break, but since then Utah is 1-2 SU and 0-3 ATS. That’s five straight games (last two ATS before break as well) without a payday for the Jazz. Is this meaningful? Has something changed that we should know about?

Then you have the Minnesota Timberwolves (38-27 SU, 30-33-2 ATS), who were in something of a mid-season funk before the All-Star Game. They won’t be too happy about losing 108-99 to the Portland Trail Blazers (–5.5 at home) on Thursday, either. And they’re traveling to Salt Lake City for Friday’s game, which ESPN will broadcast at 10:30 p.m. Eastern. The Jazz are 6.5-point favorites on the NBA oddsboard at press time with a total of 210. Shall we?

Rodney the Hooded Man

Something is indeed different with Utah: The Jazz traded SG Rodney Hood (minus-1.7 BPM) to the Cleveland Cavaliers at the deadline. They also sent veteran swingman Joe Johnson (minus-3.6 BPM) to the Sacramento Kings. Nothing wrong with those moves in a vacuum. However, PF Jae Crowder (minus-4.5 BPM in six games) has not performed very well since coming over from the Cavs. He can’t seem to score these days, and with Hood’s offense (plus-0.7 PBPM) moving to Cleveland, the UNDER is on a 4-0 run for the Jazz.

Recent struggles aside, the Timberwolves are well on their way to their first playoffs since 2004. Or at least they were until their best player got hurt. Swingman Jimmy Butler (plus-4.8 BPM) messed up his right meniscus in their first game back from the break. He might be able to return in 4-6 weeks, but the Wolves are only 3.5 games out of ninth place in the Western Conference. There might not be much left for Butler to salvage.

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This ain’t abuse ? @Timberwolves pic.twitter.com/qvnoaq7W6v

— ᴋɪɴɢʀᴀᴍ 🍪 (@PrimeDruss) March 2, 2018
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Since neither team is doing so well right now, let’s put the UNDER in our NBA picks instead. Minnesota has the OVER at 36-28 on the season, but the UNDER is 6-5 on zero days of rest, and the Wolves have that travel in between without Butler to lean on as head coach Tom Thibodeau continues to roll out short rotations (see above). These are already two of the slowest teams in the NBA as it is. Late-night entertainment at its finest, folks.

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