Jazz-Pelicans Betting Guide: A Case for Utah on the Road

Jazz-Pelicans Betting Guide: A Case for Utah on the Road article feature image

Photos from USAToday Sports. Pictured: Anthony Davis and Donovan Mitchell.

Betting odds: Utah Jazz at New Orleans Pelicans

  • Spread: Jazz -2
  • Over/Under: 222.5
  • Time: 7 p.m. ET

>> All odds as of 9:15 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets

The 4-0 Pelicans, who have perhaps the league’s best offense early on, are two-point underdogs at home to a 2-2 Jazz squad.

Is that an overreaction to the Pelicans’ back-to-back? Or will the Jazz indeed give them their first loss? Our analysts are here to discuss.

Locky: Why I’m Betting the Jazz Tonight

We have the world-famous “second game of a back-to-back” (SEGABABA) for New Orleans, which is possibly what’s driving early action on Utah.

A few things are going on with the Pelicans. They slipped up against the Nets Friday night and still won because the Nets played the worst crunch-time minute of the season by any team. Alvin Gentry mismanaged his rotation to the point that Solomon Hill played more minutes than Nikola Mirotic or Julius Randle. (I guess the good news is Randle and Mirotic are more rested than they’d normally be?)

None of the key elements from Friday night’s game that I’ve mentioned are necessarily predictive, save for one: the dreaded Pelicans injury report, which will come out later Saturday. Darius Miller suffered what appeared to be a quad bruise and didn’t return; he was giving the Pelicans a good 15-20 minutes off the bench, and they’re a thin team to start.

Randle is playing through a plantar fascia injury. Elfrid Payton suffered what appeared to be an injury, but the team said it was just “cramps,” which is a little hard to believe given how he was walking after the game. Anyway, New Orleans’ health would be my foremost concern facing a rested Jazz team that finally played a little better against Houston on Wednesday and finally had Donovan Mitchell look more like himself.

Every back-to-back is different; this one has several issues for me with New Orleans, so I’ll take the Jazz at a short number. — Ken Barkley

Why Brow Is More Valuable This Season

One of the biggest changes with the Pelicans this season is Anthony Davis finally fully embracing playing center. He’s been excellent at the 4 for years, but his guard-like skills and huge size is a much bigger advantage playing against much slower centers.

And the early returns are incredible: The main starting lineup with Brow at the 5 has outscored opponents by a ridiculous 39.8 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass. The Pelicans have scored 138.3 points/100 (100th percentile of all lineups this season), and they’ve posted an effective field-goal rate of 61.2%. Even with the questionable Payton at point guard, the Pels have run through teams thanks to Brow and his early MVP campaign.

But perhaps the most important part of the lineup is it holding up on the defensive end. That fivesome has allowed just 98.5 points/100 and an effective field-goal mark of 47.9%. Center Davis is already one of the best offensive players in the world. If Center Davis is also one of the best defensive players in the world? This team’s ceiling is even higher than the public expected. — Bryan Mears

Betting Trends to Know

The Pelicans have played in 86 back-to-backs in which Anthony Davis played. In those games, New Orleans has been a ho-hum 43-40-3 against the spread. But in 2017-18, the Pels went 9-4 ATS and have covered seven straight back-to-backs.

The Pelicans have started the season 4-0 while the Jazz are 2-2. Since 2005, undefeated teams have gone 118-148-7 (44%) ATS when facing an opponent .500 or worse. — John Ewing

Including the playoffs last season, the Pelicans are 13-5 SU and 15-3 ATS (+11.3 units) since April 1, the most profitable team in the NBA over that span. The Pelicans’ only five losses have come against the Warriors and the Thunder. — Evan Abrams

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.