Jazz vs. Lakers Expert Pick - April 9th, 2023
JAZZ VS. LAKERS EXPERT PICK - APRIL 9th, 2023 - Greeting basketball fans. Welcome back to our weekly column where we break down some of the marquee matchups from this weekend’s slate of NBA games.
The bad news is the regular season comes to an end today. The good news is the playoffs are right around the corner. Our last marquee matchup of the season features the Utah Jazz (37-44) taking on the Los Angeles Lakers (42-39). Let’s dive right into this matchup to see which team has the edge.
When: Sunday, April 9, 2023 at 3:30 pm EST
Where: Crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA
TV: ESPN, SportsNet LA, SportsNet RM
Public Bet: Jazz, 78%
Public Money: Jazz, 71%
Odds courtesy of DraftKings, as of April 9th, 2023
Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers Season Trends
No Sweet Music for This Jazz Squad
Prior to the 2022-23 campaign, the Jazz had advanced to the playoffs in each of the last six seasons. Fast forward to the present, and this year’s version of the Jazz will miss the playoffs for the first time since 2015-16.
Not only that, but Utah has dropped four of its last five contests and eight of 10 overall. Fortunately, for Utah, they managed to snap their recent four-game skid with a 118-114 win over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night.
Rookie guard Ochai Agbaji scored a team-high 28 points along with three rebounds and three assists. Luka Samanic scored a career-high 23 points along with eight rebounds and two assists. Kris Dunn chipped in with 19 points, 14 assists, and three steals.
It will be interesting to see if Utah can duplicate this effort against a Lakers squad that is desperately trying to avoid the play-in round.
The Lakers Have Something to Play for But Still Need Some Help to Claim No. 6 Seed
While most teams know where they will finish in the conference playoff race, the same cannot be said for the Los Angeles Lakers. While the team is somewhat disappointed in how the season has played out thus far, and rightfully so, the Lakers still have an opportunity to move up in the standings.
Coming into today’s action, the Lakers trail the Golden State Warriors by one game. And should the Lakers beat the Jazz, and the Dubs lose to the Portland Trail Blazers, the Lakers would own the No. 6 seed as they took three of the four meetings with Golden State during the regular season.
We talked about how poorly the Jazz have been playing as of late. Well, the Lakers have been playing like a well-oiled machine down the stretch.
Yes, the Clippers did beat them 125-118 on Wednesday night, snapping their four-game winning streak. However, the Lakers brushed off that loss and defeated the Phoenix Suns (the No. 4 seed) 121-107 on Friday night.
LeBron James had a pedestrian game by his standards, finishing the evening with 16 points, six rebounds, and six dimes. But he also committed five turnovers while shooting 6-for-19 from the floor. Anthony Davis posted a double-double that included 14 points and 21 rebounds. And like James, he didn’t shoot the ball particularly well, either, going 4-for-12. If you care to do the math, the Lakers’ two superstars scored a total of 30 points on 10-for-31 shooting from the field.
While Los Angeles’s top two guys didn’t play all that great, some of the team’s role players were more than capable of rising to the occasion. D’Angelo Russell (whose status is probable for this game against the Jazz) scored 24 points on 9-for-14 shooting from the field and a blistering 6-for-9 from beyond the arc. Austin Reeves scored 22 points and handed out five assists. And Malik Beasley provided some scoring punch off the bench, as he finished with 21 points.
The Lakers will more than likely need another complete effort to finish the season on a positive note.
Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers Head-To-Head & Betting Trends
The Jazz have taken two of three regular-season matchups between these two ball clubs, with both of those victories coming in early November.
The Jazz emerged victorious 130-116 on Nov 4. Lauri Markkanen had a solid performance, as he finished with 27 points, 13 rebounds, and four assists. Jordan Clarkson tallied 18 points, seven rebounds, and three assists.
In the second meeting, both teams jumped out to hot starts, combining for 147 points in the first half. Utah turned up the defense a bit in the second half, outscoring LA by a 63-45 margin, on its way to a 139-116 victory. Once again, Markkanen (23 points) and Clarkson (22 points) led a balanced Utah attack that placed seven players in double figures.
The Lakers finally got into the win column when these two teams played on April 4. Holding the Jazz without a field goal over the final 1:38 of overtime, the Lakers managed to escape with a 135-133 victory.
James (37 points, five rebounds, and six assists), Austin Reeves (28 points, three rebounds, and six assists), and Davis (21 points, 14 rebounds, and six assists) paced the Lakers as five players scored in double figures. With a chance to avoid the play-in, I expect the Lakers to play with a great deal of urgency.
The projected O/U for this contest is 235.5. Here are a few noteworthy trends as to why you should go with the OVER in this matchup.
The OVER holds a 5-1 record in Utah’s last six games when playing on back-to-back days. The OVER is also 12-4-1 in Utah’s last 17 games.
The projected total has gone over 21 times in Utah’s last 30 games that were played on the road. It is also worth noting that the OVER is 10-4-1 in Utah’s last 15 road contests against teams that have a winning record at home. The Lakers are 22-18.
The OVER is a perfect 7-0 for Los Angeles in its last seven games. The OVER also holds a perfect 5-0 record the last five times in which they’ve played on one day of rest.
Lastly, although the two teams are averaging a combined total of 234.1 points per contest, the projected 235.5 points threshold has been exceeded in each of their three matchups this season, and the Over is 4-0 in the previous four meetings between these two teams. Need I say more?
The Lakers are currently a 16.5-point favorite in this one. That is a huge point spread, to say the least.
Utah holds a 3-0-1 against the spread in the last four instances in which it played on back-to-back days and 5-0 ATS in its last five road games against teams with a winning home record. Again, the Lakers are 22-18 at home this season.
The Jazz are 4-1 ATS in their last five games, and 8-2-2 ATS in their last 12 games when they were playing teams with an overall winning record. The Lakers are 42-39.
Utah is 5-2 ATS in their last seven games that were played on a Sunday and 15-5-1 ATS in their last 21 road games.
My featured game from Saturday (Clippers vs. Trail Blazers) had the Clippers with a 16.5-point favorite. I went with LAC to win outright and the Trail Blazers to cover the spread. With that being said, I’m going to follow the same formula by picking the LA team to win the game, but the Jazz are going to cover the 16.5-point spread.
Player Prop Bet
My key player from this contest is none other than the new NBA all-time scoring leader LeBron James. He currently has -105 odds to score more than 25.5 and -125 odds of scoring less than 25.5 points.
James has suited up against the Jazz 38 times during his legendary career. During that stretch, he has compiled averages of 28.4 points, 8.0 rebounds, and 7.1 assists.
He has eclipsed the projected 25.5-point total in two of his last four outings against the Jazz. He is averaging 27 points per contest against the Jazz this season and 27.3 points per game on the Lakers’ home court.
While James’ status is also probable for Sunday’s game, if he can play, I strongly believe that he will score more than 25.5 points. That said, I am going with the OVER here.
Over 235.5 total points
Utah Jazz (+16.5)
PPB: LeBron James OVER 25.5 points