Utah Jazz at Brooklyn Nets – Barclays Centre at 00:40
On Friday night in the NBA, there are a host of quality teams in action however to snag some value, you would be advised to take a look at an uninspiring looking clash involving the Utah Jazz as they head to Brooklyn to face the Nets. This has all the hallmarks of a game where there appears to be a false favourite.
The Jazz (18-24) have had a busy time of it of late, and can count themselves a little unlucky not to have has things fall their way recently. Two consecutive overtime defeats on the road against the Hornets and Knicks were bitter pills to swallow, the first of those requiring Kemba Walker to have a franchise record 52 points to get Charlotte over the line.
Prior to that the Jazz trounced the admittedly poor Lakers and came with their trademark late rattle to just fall short in Sacramento. Utah could easily be coming into this game having won their last 4 games, and set a reasonable benchmark for the Nets to match.
With Derrick Favours still out indefinately with back troubles, the expected starting 5 of Hayward, Lyles, Gobert, Hood and Neto are now playing their 7th game together as a starting unit and have shown although they are unlikely to be a match for the playoff contenders of the league, they can compete and win at a decent level against mid level teams. The Nets offer no such threat on Friday night.
All in all, Brooklyn are a bit of a mess. Joe Johnson, now into his 15th season in the NBA, has been relied on more and more as the season has gone on. The veteran has been able to shoot for over 50% in his last 11 games, 52% from 3 point distance incidentally, yet the lack of quality around him, including the bench, has meant the Nets have dropped 9 of their last 10 games. Their only crumb of comfort was a home win against the poor travelling Knicks.
If the Nets are this bad with Johnson running good, they have basically no room for error against a reasonable Jazz team.
The last time these two met was nearly a year ago with the Jazz trotting off as 35 point winners at home. The Nets still haven’t beaten a team from the Northwest Division and i see little reason for that trend to be broken on Friday night.
All the evidence, factoring in their recent busy schedule and having to play on the road, still ranks them as 4 or 5 point favourite for me and they should be backed to cover the spread tonight.
Handicap Betting Recommendation: Utah Jazz -5 at 1.91
Prices correct at the time of writing.
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