Jazz vs. Wizards NBA Odds & Picks: Take Utah to Cover on the Road (March 18)
Melissa Majchrzak/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Rudy Gobert #27 of the Utah Jazz and Donovan Mitchell #45 of the Utah Jazz
- Utah is the class of the West and faces a Wizards team that hasn't won since the All-Star break.
- The Jazz will be without Mike Conley, but Washington may rest Russell Westbrook in the back end of a back-to-back.
- Double-digits favorites are usually something to avoid, but Joe Dellara explains why that may not be the case tonight.
Jazz vs. Wizards Odds
|Time||Thursday, 7 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Wednesday evening and via DraftKings|
The Jazz and the Wizards clash in the District on Thursday night. This matchup pits the best in the West against the Wizards who are sliding in the Eastern Conference Standings. While Utah looks to build off a win against the Boston Celtics, Washington is trying to secure its first win after the All-Star break.
The Jazz will be without All-Star guard Mike Conley for the frontend of a back-to-back due to rest. Joe Ingles is likely to slide into the starting lineup. In his nine starts this season Ingles is averaging 16.4 points and 5.4 assists in 30.7 minutes per game, per FantasyLabs.
Since the All-Star break, the Jazz are 2-1 straight up despite covering just once, and they’ve continued to be an offensive force. In these three games they have scored 118.2 points per 100 possessions. They’ve remained hot from 3-point range shooting nearly 40% from 3, and Rudy Gobert has manhandled entire teams in the paint.
On the defensive side of the ball, the Jazz limit 3-point shots. This coupled with Gobert anchoring the paint, and the Jazz have the best allowed eFG% in the league (51.1%).
The one shot that they give up at a higher than average clip is the mid-range shot. Opponents take mid-range jumpers on 36.8% of their shot attempts against the Jazz, per Cleaning the Glass. Not only is this shot incredibly inefficient to begin with, the Jazz defend it the fourth-best in the league and only allow opponents to shoot 39.5% from mid-range, nearly 3% better than league average.
The Wizards just dropped their fifth-straight game last night out of the All-Star break and are playing in the second game of a back-to-back tonight. Russell Westbrook has been playing in back-to-backs recently, but given the team’s struggles they may look to give him a rest day. Keep an eye on his status using our Labs Insiders Tool.
The Wizards looked like they were turning a corner before the All-Star break but they’ve been abysmal since then. They have a -8.2 point differential and they’re scoring just 107.1 points per 100 possessions, per Cleaning the Glass.
Part of Washington’s problem is their reliance on the midrange shot. They take midrange shots at the third-highest frequency in the league, 37.9%. Even though they make this shot effectively (44.8% – 6th), it’s generally an inefficient shot due to the math disadvantage in today’s NBA that prioritizes shots at the rim and from beyond the arc.
Ironically, the Wizards’ defense does just that! They have the best expected allowed eFG% in the league because they limit opponent’s opportunities at both the rim and from 3-point range and give up the mid-range jumper at the highest frequency in the league. The problem is, it doesn’t matter if your defense is atrocious. The Wizards allow opponents to shoot above league average from every location on the floor besides the corner 3, per Cleaning the Glass.
I’m going to stay away from the total in this game because at the time of this writing I’m uncertain of what the Wizards will do in terms of rest for this second game of a back-to-back set.
The Jazz are a superior team in every way. They have a significant math advantage against the Wizards due to their respective shot selections — the Wizards rely on their mid-range game while the Jazz excel at the rim and beyond the arc.
Additionally, the Wizards love to drive into the paint, and with Gobert patrolling the interior, this becomes exponentially more difficult. The Jazz are elite at cleaning up those misses as they secure rebounds at the second-highest rate in the league (52.8%), per NBA Advanced Stats. This is a significant edge on the Wizards who are 4th worst in rebounding rate at 47.9%.
Double-digit spreads may give you pause but, the Jazz are 4-2 ATS as a double-digit favorite this season and they’ve covered those spreads by an average of 6.17 points. Back the road favorites.
Pick: Jazz -10