Pelicans vs. Jazz NBA Odds & Picks: Back Utah’s Stifling Defense to Down New Orleans
Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell (left) and Rudy Gobert.
- The Pelicans' prize for ending a losing streak? A trip to take on the red-hot Jazz.
- Utah's defense is playing at an elite level, led by Rudy Gobert, while a resurgent Mike Conley has helped lead the way offensively.
- Phillip Kall is backing Utah to stay hot as home favorites over New Orleans.
Pelicans vs. Jazz Odds
|Pelicans Odds||+5.5 [BET NOW]|
|Jazz Odds||-5.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+195 / -238 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||218.5 [BET NOW]|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Monday at 10 p.m. ET and via BetMGM. Get an INSTANT $500 deposit match at BetMGM today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.|
The New Orleans Pelicans ended their five-game losing streak by beating the Kings on Sunday, and their reward is two straight on the road against the Utah Jazz.
Zion Williamson led the way for New Orleans against Sacramento with a dominant 31 points on 13 of 15 shooting. His dominant performance in the paint opened up the perimeter for New Orleans, which shot 50% from 3-point range, their best of the season.
While recent weeks have not been kind to the Pelicans, the Jazz have rolled to five straight wins. The wins come behind excellent defensive play as Utah allowed a 39.8% field goal shooting over its past five games.
With both teams playing at slower paces, this game leans in Utah’s favor. Let’s see if they have enough to beat the spread too.
New Orleans Pelicans
Despite winning on Sunday, the Pelicans did little to show they overcame the deficiencies that led to their losing streak.
The main issue for the skid was their defense, which allowed the Kings to score 123 points on 51.6% shooting. The poor defensive play recently sent the Pelicans from fourth in Defensive Rating down to 18th entering play on Monday.
Offensively, perimeter shooting is the main area of concern for the Pelicans. Shooting 33.4% from behind-the-arc, New Orleans entered Monday ranked 26th in 3-point shooting percentage. That number isn’t helped by Lonzo Ball shooting 7.2 3-pointers per game at just a 30.8% rate.
Ball shooting less would help but not solve the problem on its own. J.J. Redick and Brandon Ingram, the team’s best shooters, also need to step up their game. Redick enters this game at 31.8% from behind the arc, which would be the lowest mark of his career. Ingram’s number fell off from the beginning of the season, going from 42.1% in his first six games to 29.0% in his last six.
While they made the playoffs each of the past four years, the Jazz offense makes the team feel limited. Their recent hot streak gives hope that things might have changed. Scoring 113.8 and shooting a ridiculous 44.4% from 3-point range during their win streak is encouraging.
The player most influencing the change in offense is point guard Mike Conley. Last season, Conley’s numbers clearly showed his discomfort playing the role of second option in the backcourt for the first time. He shot the second-worst field goal percentage of his career and scored the fewest points per game since 2012-13.
This year, Conley’s numbers shot back up to 16.8 points per game, shooting 45.6% from the field and 42.2% from 3-point range. Scoring better seems to spark him on the defensive side since his steals jumped to 1.3 per game from 0.8.
The Jazz defense continues to present problems every season that no other team can thanks to the presence of Rudy Gobert.
Utah also appears to have taken its defense to the next level. Playing physically on that end of the court, the Jazz contest every shot and hold opponents to a league-worst 43.6% field goal percentage. This helped boost them to the sixth-ranked defense by Defensive Rating, according to Basketball-Reference.
Improving on both sides of the court helped vault Utah into the top five in Net Rating. If it can maintain the success, it will be a team no one wants to see in the playoffs.
This game brings a matchup of two teams who want to play slower than most to play to their strengths: defense and rebounding. Offensively, these teams differ in philosophy, where Utah utilizes the 3-point ball heavily and New Orleans looks to attack inside.
During their 4-2 start, the Pelicans played this style well, holding opponents down and capitalizing on second-chance points. Recently, the defense disappeared allowing 115.5 points per game in their past six. New Orleans has also made an average of seven fewer 3-pointers than its opponents during its recent losing streak. It’s tougher to win when you’re counting by two and your opponent is going by three.
Utah’s hot streak comes behind complete, all-around performances that have seen it win by an average of 16.2 points per game. Defensively, its performance on opposing shooters stands out the most as opponents only shot 27.8% from behind the arc during their run. With Gobert and Derrick Favors constantly controlling the paint, teams have nowhere to turn.
Offensively, Utah’s perimeter shooting has been lights out, making 19 3-pointers per game. Being able to shoot so well will put the Pelicans in a hole they can’t escape.
Back Utah to continue its dominant run on defense and shoot New Orleans out on offense.
Pick: Jazz -5.5 (up to -8.5)