Trail Blazers vs. Jazz NBA Odds & Picks: Fade Utah Against Lillard & McCollum (May 12)
Cameron Browne/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Damian Lillard.
- Portland controls its own destiny to avoid the play-in tournament and must win two of their final three to do so.
- Utah can guarantee itself the top seed in the West by winning out its three remaining games.
- Roberto Arguello explains why he likes Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum to pull the upset.
NBA Odds: Blazers vs. Jazz
|Trail Blazers Odds||+4.5|
|Moneyline||+156 / -186|
|Time||9:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday evening and via FanDuel.|
The Jazz host the Trail Blazers Wednesday night in the third and final meeting of the season between these teams. The Jazz won the first matchup 120-100 on opening night in Portland and then won again 122-103 on April 8th in Salt Lake City.
The Trail Blazers have won four consecutive games after beating the Rockets on Monday. They control their own destiny to avoid the play-in tournament and will guarantee themselves at least the sixth seed with wins in two of their last three games.
The Jazz also control their own destiny for the top overall seed in the Western Conference with wins in their final three games. This matchup against the Trail Blazers is their toughest remaining hurdle as they will face the Thunder and Kings in their final two games.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers need Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum at their best. Zach Collins (ankle) remains out indefinitely and is the only Trail Blazer on the injury report.
Lillard and McCollum dealt with injuries in April as the Trail Blazers lost five consecutive games at one point because their top-two shooters weren’t playing up to their normal standards. Both are healthy and back to their elite form as the Trail Blazers have won eight of their last nine games overall with some impressive wins over the Nets, Celtics, Grizzlies and Lakers.
— NBA (@NBA) May 11, 2021
Lillard has scored at least 30 points in five consecutive games and has made 54% of his 3s (27 of 50) over that span. McCollum is also coming off of back-to-back quality performances as he has scored at least 27 in the last two games , including a franchise record 21 points in the first quarter on Monday against the Rockets.
Contributions from other key shooters like Norman Powell, Carmelo Anthony and Anfernee Simons will also be key. If two or more of these three scorers (who each have the ability to carry the offense for at least a quarter at a time) shoot efficiently from beyond the arc, the Trail Blazers should have a great shot at winning outright.
Anthony, who recently became 10th on the NBA's all-time scoring list, is not listed on Wednesday’s injury report after missing the last two games with an ankle injury. Robert Covington and Jusef Nurkic will play key roles defensively and on the boards against the myriad of Jazz shooters and Rudy Gobert.
If the Jazz win and cover, Jordan Clarkson and Bojan Bogdanovic need to score efficiently from the 3-point line. The Jazz need their shooters to continue to play well with leading scorer Donovan Mitchell (ankle) out at least for the rest of the regular season. Mike Conley (hamstring) and Juwan Morgan (heel) are also out.
Clarkson, the overwhelming favorite for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award, hasn’t been incredibly efficient, as his 110.4 points per 100 shots this season rank in the 52nd percentile among combo guards. He's a streaky shooter but led the Jazz with a season-high 41 points on Monday in the loss to the Warriors, despite missing his first seven 3-pointers of the game and tallying zero total assists.
Jordan Clarkson tonight:
He is the first player in NBA history to score 40+ points, take 15+ threes while recording 0 assists off the bench. pic.twitter.com/fBqKuiYyQR
— StatMuse (@statmuse) May 11, 2021
Bogdanovic will also be a key player for the Jazz. He has found his rhythm lately as he has scored at least 20 points in each of the last eight games, including a season-high 48 points in Friday’s win over the Nuggets.
Ingles has been incredibly efficient for the Jazz as a scorer and distributor, ranking in the 99th percentile among forwards in points per 100 shots (136.8) and in the 99th percentile in assist rate (23.9%). Niang ranks second on the Jazz, shooting 43% on 3s this season.
Royce O’Neale and Rudy Gobert will also need to play well for the Jazz to win. O’Neale will play a key role for the Jazz when guarding Lillard/ McCollum and forcing them to take as tough of shots as possible. Gobert should have an advantage inside against the likes of smaller bigs like Nurkic and Enes Kanter.
Trail Blazers-Jazz Pick
Three-point shooting will decide this matchup, as the Jazz take the most 3s (45.5% of their shots) while the Trail Blazers take the second-most 3s (41.8% of their shots), per Cleaning The Glass. The Jazz rank third with 39.6% accuracy from downtown while the Trail Blazers rank sixth at 38.9%.
With Lillard and McCollum both playing in rhythm and this game carrying so much weight for both teams, I love the value on the Trail Blazers and the points. This game should have a playoff-like feel to it, and I expect Lillard and McCollum to rise to the occasion.
Bogdanovic has been great for the Jazz lately, but they feel overvalued in this spot despite their better defense anchored by Gobert. Gobert will have less of an impact than normal as the Trail Blazers’ perimeter-oriented attack will limit the number of shots he can impact. Take the Jazz on the spread at +4.5 (with value down to +3) or on the moneyline at +156 (with value down to +130).
Pick: Trail Blazers +4.5 (bet down to +3)