The Portland Trail Blazers visit Salt Lake City to take on their division leaders Utah Jazz at the Vivint Smart Home Arena on Thursday night.
The Blazers are currently third in the Northwest Division team standings, 7.5 games behind the Jazz. Despite that, Portland has the 6th best record in the West and if the playoffs begin today, they would get the final outright playoff spot. This is the second meeting between these two division rivals this season with the Jazz taking their December 23, 2020 showdown 120-100 in Portland.
The Portland Trail Blazers aim to solidify their playoff position with a win in Utah. The Blazers are currently two games ahead of 7th place Dallas and are just 1.5 games behind the 5th seeded L.A. Lakers in the team standings. Portland has split its last four games played and they head to Utah after losing to the L.A. Clippers in their last outing.
Portland conceded 47 first quarter points to the Clippers who never looked back and won the game 133-116 last Tuesday. Norman Powell led the Blazers with 32 points while C.J. McCollum added 24 but the Clippers shut down Damian Lillard who was limited to 2-14 shooting for a total of 11 points in the game. Enes Kanter had a double-double with 13 points and 15 boards while Robert Covington added 15.
The Blazers are the 5th highest-scoring team in the league at 115.2 points per game but they have the NBA’s 4th worst scoring defense at 115.5 points per game allowed. Portland is 18th in rebounding at 43.9 boards grabbed per contest and they are last in the league in passing at only 20.4 assists per game.
The Utah Jazz are the owners of the best record in the league. But their lead has been cut down to just 1.5 games after Wednesday’s loss to the Phoenix Suns. Utah heads home after losing back to back games to the Dallas Mavericks and Suns. The Jazz will be playing on the second of back to back games and they will try to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season.
Utah took the Suns to overtime on Wednesday but didn’t have enough to finish off the Suns. Their defense surrendered a combined 64 points to Devin Booker and Chris Paul. Donovan Mitchell had a big game with 41 points in a losing effort. Bogdan Bogdanovic added 20 points while Rudy Gobert had 16 points and 18 rebounds for the Jazz. However, Sixth Man of the Year betting favorite Jordan Clarkson struggled with just 11 points on 4-12 shooting.
Utah ranks third overall in scoring at 116.9 points per game but they are also 5th in scoring defense at 108.0 points per game allowed. The Jazz are the NBA’s top rebounding team at 48.2 boards grabbed per contest, and 21st in passing at 23.7 assists per game this season.
Portland is 5-2 SU in their last seven games played. The Blazers are 15-10 in 25 road games played this season. Utah is 9-2 SU in their last 11 games played. The Jazz are 10-0 SU in their last 10 games played at home.
The Utah Jazz have won three out of the last four meetings between these two teams. Utah is also 7-2 SU in their last nine home games against the Portland Trail Blazers.
The Blazers have overachieved this season, considering the injuries that they suffered early in the season. However, while Portland has taken care of business against team sthey should beat, they have struggled against the elite and playoff teams. In their last 10 games, their losses have come against the Mavs, Nets, Bucks, and Clippers.
Utah has dropped back to back games for only the third time this season. Sure, there’s a lot of pressure on them to avoid their first three-game losing streak of the season. However, this is a Utah team that’s played well, even during back to back games. The Blazers should give a good fight early. But Utah finishes strong to get back on track.
Prediction: Utah Jazz
The Blazers are 4-1 ATS in their last five games after an ATS loss, 4-1 ATS in their last five games when their opponent allows 100 or more points in their previous game, 5-2 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games, 5-2 ATS in their last seven games played as road underdogs, and 13-6-1 ATS in their last 20 games against an opponent with a winning home record.
The Jazz are 20-8 ATS in their last 28 home games, 17-4 ATS in their last 21 games as home favorites, 6-1 ATS in their last seven games against an opponent with a winning road record, and 20-9 ATS in their last 29 games after allowing more than 100 points in their previous game. Head to head, the Jazz are 4-6 ATS n their last 10 head-to-head meetings against the Blazers.
Utah has been a winning machine both SU and ATS this season but the main issue with them is that they played at Phoenix last night and went to an overtime period where they lost by four points. However, the Jazz have thrived when playing back to back and hard-fought games, going 6-1 ATS in their last seven games when playing on zero days rest and 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games when their starting unit combine for 160 minutes in their previous game.
This is only the third time this season where Utah has lost back to back games and they have never lost three in a row this campaign. Portland has split its last four games played, winning against opponents with a winning record below .500 and losing to fellow contenders Milwaukee and the L.A. Clippers. Sure fatigue could be an issue but the Jazz have been here before. Portland has struggled against the top contenders and Utah is on top of that contenders this season with the league’s best record.
Prediction: Utah Jazz -7
The total has gone over in the Blazers’ last four games against an opponent with a winning home mark of over .600. The over is 5-1 in their last six Thursday games, 5-0 in their last five road games, 8-2 in their last 10 games as road underdogs, 7-2 in their last nine games against an opponent with a winning home record, and 5-2 in their last seven games overall.
The total has gone under in four out of the last five games played between these two teams. The under is 5-1 in their last six games against an opponent with a winning SU record, 4-1 in their last five games played as favorites, 5-2 in their last seven Thursday games, 5-2 in their last seven games against an opponent with a winning road record, and 23-11 in their last 34 games after a straight up defeat.
Head to head, the total has gone over in four out of the last five meetings between these two teams. Portland and Utah have combined 227.3 points per game in their last three head-to-head meetings and only 216.7 points per game in their last 10 overall. Portland has scored at least 116 points in four out of their last five games but this is a Jazz team that has given up 110 or fewer points in seven out of their last 10 games played.
The only manifestation of Utah playing back to back games here is the Jazz using their defensive prowess to win this game. They may not have the high-scoring game they had against the Suns. But their defense is more than good enough to hold the Blazers down and win this game.
Prediction: Under 230.5
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