Saturday NBA Betting Picks & Predictions: Why Our Staff Likes Clippers as Favorites vs. Jazz & This Player Prop
Juan Ocampo/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Kawhi Leonard
NBA Odds & Picks
Jazz at Clippers
Brandon Anderson: Well, here we go again.
Again, the Clippers look like the better team in the series thus far, with all sorts of matchup advantages we keep waiting for them to exploit. And again, the Clippers are down 0-2 anyway.
Last round, you might argue that LA’s deficit was worse, because those first two losses came at home. But I’m not sure home or away matters a ton for this team with its huge shooting variance. I think this deficit is much bigger, because even though the Clippers have an extra home game left this time, they’re facing a far better team than the Dallas Mavericks. The Jazz have been the best team in basketball all season, and they haven’t lost since that first oddball playoff game when Donovan Mitchell was ruled out a few hours before the game.
Well… the regular season Jazz were the best team in basketball. I’m a little worried about this version of Utah, which seems to finally be hitting some injury bugs at the worst time possible. Mike Conley is still questionable with that hamstring, and it sure looked like Donovan Mitchell was upset with the ankle he appeared to injury again in the final minute of Game 2. Bojan Bogdanovic also appeared to pick up an injury in Game 2.
Utah’s strength is in its usual eight-strong rotation, but the Jazz are starting to get shorthanded at the wrong time, and the Conley and Mitchell injury question marks together could be especially dangerous since Utah’s best offense by far has been Mitchell’s pull-up 3s and attacking LA off the dribble. Otherwise, this is just a shooting contest.
Mitchell has been awesome, but the Clippers still feel like they’ve played the Jazz mostly even and just made some wrong decisions and missed shots late to lose both games. Like I felt against Dallas, I think the Clippers appear to be the slightly better team — but it matters that they’re down 0-2 and have to win four of five now. If the series started tonight, I think I’d pick LA. But it doesn’t, and the Clips have a huge hole against a great team.
I do like LA to take care of business with a win tonight and keep the dream alive. LA has been as good, the shooting variance should even out, and the Clippers are at home against a team that looks a little banged up. I’ll take the Clips to win and cover.
The bigger question is if we should be playing Clippers futures. You can get LA to win the series at +360 at PointsBet. That’s an implied 22% chance, and I’d give the Clippers about a 25% chance of advancing right now. Not enough edge for me to play much. At BetMGM, you can get the Clippers to win both Game 3 and the series at +400.
The only other way LA could win the series would be by losing tonight and then winning four straight, which has never been done in NBA history, so that’s an easy way to increase our odds but still only a slight edge with a 20% implied winning rate. Alternatively, you can get Clippers +2.5 in the series, meaning LA needs to win at least two games, but that’s still -124 at FanDuel so I’m not excited to drink the juice at that price.
None of those futures look worth playing to me, when we can just play Clippers games instead. If you do still believe in LA enough to play a future, you need to be more aggressive and make it worth your while. The Clippers are +650 to win the West at Unibet, and they’re +1600 to win the title.
The Clippers might actually be favored against the Suns next round if they got there, and we know Kawhi Leonard always plays Kevin Durant well if that’s the Finals matchup. If you do believe in the Clippers and want to go, you gotta go big. I might take a little nibble at that +1600.
Jazz at Clippers
Kenny Ducey: Reggie Jackson has eclipsed this total in all but two of the Clippers’ playoff games, and those two games unsurprisingly were the games he played the fewest minutes — Game 1 against Dallas and Game 1 against Utah. Perhaps just resting Jackson coming off a long series, Ty Lue decided to go with a lot of Rajon Rondo to open the proceedings against the Jazz, but immediately pivoted away and ran Jackson out for 36 minutes in Game 2.
As long as the minutes are there for Jackson, the points should come along with them. He’s a player that never needs to be asked twice to shoot the basketball, and proved himself as one of the most reliable players in Lue’s rotation on Thursday, and one of the most dangerous scorers Los Angeles has, maybe even usurping Paul George.
Jackson took 19 shots in that game, and he’s taken at least 12 shots in all but three games this postseason. Considering he’s shooting 42% from three and 46.3% from the field, I like our chances here of the over.