NBA Odds & Picks for Jazz vs. Nets: Brooklyn Can’t Bridge the Talent Gap Without Kevin Durant

NBA Odds & Picks for Jazz vs. Nets: Brooklyn Can’t Bridge the Talent Gap Without Kevin Durant article feature image
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Sarah Stier/Getty Images. Pictured (L-R): Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant of the Brooklyn Nets.

Jazz vs. Nets Odds

Jazz Odds -4.5 [BET NOW]
Nets Odds +4.5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -200 / +165 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 225.5 [BET NOW]
Time 7:30 p.m. ET
TV NBA League Pass
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The Utah Jazz (4-2) visit the Brooklyn Nets (3-4) Tuesday night at the Barclays Center. The Jazz will likely be at full strength, but the Nets will be without key players Kevin Durant (out for seven days due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols) and Spencer Dinwiddie (torn ACL).

The Jazz alternated wins and losses in their first five games, but broke that pattern with a dominant 130-109 over the Spurs in San Antonio on Sunday. After blowing out the Boston Celtics on Christmas, the Nets have lost four of five games to teams that missed the playoffs last season. Their lone win in that stretch came against the Hawks in a shootout where they put up 145 but also gave up 141 points.

The Nets were already struggling on defense when healthy, but the does the sudden loss of Durant give the Jazz value as short favorites on the road?

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Utah Jazz

The Jazz have taken advantage of the absence of fans in the stands as they have won all three of their road games. Two big reasons why they have been so consistent on the road: The improvement of Mike Conley and rebounding.

Conley didn’t have his usual success in his first season on the Jazz as he was learning a new system and battling injuries. Last season was the first time Conley averaged fewer than 14.5 points per game since 2012 (14.4 PPG), and his Player Efficiency Rating (PER) dropped below 15 for the first time since 2010 (14.19).

In his second season in Salt Lake City, Conley has raised his scoring average to 20.3 points per game (the third most in his 14 seasons), and his PER to 20.82 (third highest of his career). After scoring 20 or more points just nine times in his first 41 games with the Jazz, Conley has scored 20 or more points 10 times in his last 17 games going back to the bubble.

According to Ben Dowsett of Jazz Film Room, Mike Conley ranks first among 48 ball-handlers who have run at least 50 pick-and-rolls ending in a shot, foul or pass to shooter this year by generating 1.33 points per chance.

While Conley has helped on the perimeter, the Jazz have also improved significantly inside on the glass. The Jazz finished 20th in offensive rebounding rate last season at 26.1%, but they have taken a leap forward as they now lead the NBA as they have gathered 31.8% of their misses this season.

The Jazz were sixth in the NBA in defensive rebounding rate last year, and have remained steady at sixth in the NBA in defensive rebound rate this year as they have improved from the eighth-best rebounding rate last season to the best in the NBA this season.

Rudy Gobert has been the leader on the boards for the Jazz as he is second in the NBA in both rebounds per game (13.7) and rebound rate (23.7%). Royce O’Neale also ranks in the top 30 in the NBA in rebounding as the starting power forward, and Derrick Favors has also done a nice job on the glass as reserve center.

Favors is listed as probable for Tuesday’s game against the Nets with a sore right knee, and his status is worth monitoring. (You can get real-time updates by checking our NBA Insiders lineups page)


Brooklyn Nets

The Nets, like most teams combining superstars in their first season together, have had chemistry issues early on. So far, the Nets have looked like a collection of good, great and average players, but not a cohesive team. These issues are unlikely to be solved by Tuesday evening when they play the Jazz without two key starters.

The loss of Durant is obviously significant because of his ability to score and space the floor, but his length also will be missed on the boards — the Nets rank dead last in the NBA in defensive rebound percentage.

Losing Durant and Dinwiddie means losing two secondary ball-handlers who would lessen Kyrie Irving’s load each night. These two losses are significant on the perimeter as Durant’s length isn’t easily replaced and Dinwiddie’s defensive versatility cannot be replicated with the current roster.

The struggles on the interior for the Nets have frustrated fans who are calling for the benching of DeAndre Jordan in favor of Jarrett Allen. Jordan, who had a PER of at least 18.0 in each of his past eight seasons, has seen his PER plummet down to 11.82 through seven games.

Jordan is averaging a career-low 4.3 points per game and has seen his rebound rate fall to 18.7% — the lowest for him in nine years. If the Nets hope to win on the boards against the Jazz, they will need improvement from Jordan or more minutes for Allen (or both).

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Jazz-Nets Pick

The Jazz are the more talented team with Durant and Dinwiddie sidelined. The Jazz are also a bad matchup for the Nets in a game between the best offensive rebounding team in the NBA against the worst defensive rebounding team.

As the sixth-best defensive rebounding team, the Jazz have also taken advantage of those boards, scoring 141 points per 100 possessions off of live rebounds (second in the league, per Cleaning the Glass).

The Nets have too many issues to be resolved, and the Jazz are playing great basketball as Conley finds his form. I expect the Jazz to keep their road winning streak alive.

I like the value on two different strategies for betting this game: take the Jazz -3 (up to -4) or wait until the game starts to try and get the Jazz at +100 or better. While I think the Jazz will win by three or more, there should be better value live.

Pick: Jazz +100 or better live

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