Trail Blazers vs. Jazz Odds, Pick, Preview: Fade Portland’s Poor Defense (November 29)
Melissa Majchrzak/Getty Images. Pictured: Donovan Mitchell
- The Trail Blazers face the Jazz for the first time in a Northwest Division showdown.
- The Jazz are seven-point favorites with the total sitting at 222.5.
- Austin Wang breaks down his best bet below.
Trail Blazers vs. Jazz Odds
|Trail Blazers Odds||+240|
|Time||9 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
|Odds via Caesars. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.|
The Portland Trail Blazers have been awful on the road this season, going 1-9 straight up and 1-9 against the spread. They face a huge challenge on Monday night against the Utah Jazz who have one of the league’s strongest home court advantages.
The Jazz play at a high altitude, have a rabid fanbase and boast a 29-17-1 ATS (63%) regular season record since the beginning of the 2020-2021 season. Can the Blazers shake off a two-game losing streak and overcome the 13-7 Jazz on the road?
Can the Trail Blazers Keep Up Defensively?
A quarter into the season, the Trail Blazers are hovering right at .500. It is good enough to make it into the playoffs if it started today, but far from where the front office expected entering the season.
Norman Powell has been ruled out of Monday’s game against the Jazz. He has been one of the most valuable players on the team, averaging 16.9 points per game on 50.5% shooting from the field. He is third on the team in minutes played and points per game, so his absence will make a significant impact on the Trail Blazers’ lineup.
The Blazers’ offense has fared well, ranking fourth in Offensive Efficiency (111.6) for the season, per NBA Advanced Stats. This is even with Damian Lillard shooting below 40% from the field for the first time in his career. He is averaging 4.6 free throw attempts per game, the lowest mark since his rookie season.
Their biggest deficiency continues to be their defense: they rank 28th in Defensive Efficiency (111.5) in the league. This has been their identity for several seasons, and their overall mediocrity defensively caused the Blazers’ front office to part ways with former head coach Terry Stotts and bring in Chauncey Billups.
They have allowed their opponents to shoot 38.7% from behind the arc, which ranks 28th in the league. The Jazz lead the league in 3-point attempt rate (48.5% of their shots) and have a plethora of deadly 3-point shooters.
Jazz Offense Balanced By Dominant Defense
But don’t underestimate this team as they have the talent on both ends of the floor. They rank first in Offensive Efficiency (114.2) and eighth in Defensive Efficiency (105), per NBA Advanced Stats.
They have the three-time Defensive Player of the Year award winner Rudy Gobert, who has upped his rebounding average to 14.5 rebounds per game and is shooting an absurd 72.4% from the field. They hold their opponents to the third-lowest 3-point attempt rate and the sixth-lowest 3-point percentage, which will be important against Portland.
Similar to Lillard, Donovan Mitchell’s numbers are slightly down this season, and he has not been getting to the free throw line nearly as much. The streaky Mitchell has been on a bit of a shooting slump as of late, but he can turn things around against the poor Blazers’ defense.
The Jazz are on the third game of a four-game home stand. This team has had the tendency to blow games against inferior teams as they have lost outright to the Pelicans, Magic and Pacers this season. They will need to show up with their A-game if they want to keep up with the Suns and the Warriors.
The Jazz bench ranks eighth in the league in bench scoring per minute, per Real GM. Having Joe Ingles, Jordan Clarkson, Hassan Whiteside and Rudy Gay coming off your bench is a luxury. They have a major advantage here, especially with Powell out.
Trail Blazers-Jazz Pick
The Jazz have an advantage in offense, defense, bench and health. They have one of the best home court advantages in the league and are playing against a Blazers team that can’t buy a win on the road (1-9 ATS). Billups has not done much to change the defensive identity of this team, and they are destined for mediocrity.
I think the current line at -7 is a tad short, and I have this closer to -9. My pick is on the Jazz to keep their feet on the gas to keep up with the Suns and the Warriors in the Western Conference standings.
Pick: Jazz -7 (up to -8)