We’ve got a Western Conference showdown between the two best teams in the conference; the Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns.
Utah Jazz vs. Phoenix Suns
Monday, January 24, 2022 – 09:00 PM EST at Footprint Center
This is a big game for the Jazz who trail the Suns by seven games. This will not be easy for the Jazz who will be without their best player. The Suns, for their part, could be without their starting center but their depth has shown us that it shouldn't be a problem for them so far this season.
Jazz Need This Win Badly
In any professional sport, beating your direct rivals is always seen as a measuring stick. These matchups also usually have playoff implications. They certainly do for Utah tonight who trail the Phoenix Suns by 7 games in the Western Conference standings.
Unfortunately for the Jazz, they'll have to try and get the job done without their best player; All-Star guard Donovan Mitchell. He takes 24% of Utah's shots so his absence leaves a big void on offense, that his teammates have to make up for.
That responsibility will fall on the shoulders of Bojan Bogdanovic and Jordan Clarkson. Those two combine for just under 30% of the Jazz's shots so it only stands to reason that they would pick up the slack which they have to a certain extent.
Utah's offense is clearly going to struggle without him which is why they lost to Houston last week. Then, in their next contest, they were only up 4 points in crunch time, at home, against the Pistons who, like Houston, are at the very bottom of the league's standings.
That is why the spread for tonight's game has the Suns as -9 favorites which still seems like too much in my opinion. While they are obviously worse without Mitchell, to say they are three full possessions worse than Phoenix seems like a bit of a stretch.
You can blame their recent form for that, plus Mitchell's absence for this inflated line but in reality, it's easy to see how this is a different scenario entirely. If you're Utah, it's easy to overlook both the Rockets and the Pistons.
After those two losses, they put up a much better effort against the Warriors even though they lost by two. I expect that same type of effort here which is one of the reasons my official pick will be on the total.
Suns Are Cruising Right Along
No NBA Finals hangover for the Suns who sit at the top of the league standings. They've won nine of their last ten games and have crucial home and away games coming up against the Jazz.
While these games are crucial for Utah, if you've been paying attention to the Suns over the last two seasons, then you know they're all business all the time. I fully expect them to treat this game with the same urgency that Utah does.
The thing is, I still wouldn't lay this many points with Phoenix against a motivated Utah side. What I do expect though is for both teams to play their very best defensively. Both teams are top 10 defensively and I fully expect a playoff atmosphere in Arizona tonight.
The total for this game is 222 and some of the top online sportsbooks have already started moving it down to 221.5.
To me, that seems really high for a game between two teams that would expect the road to the Western Conference title to go through them. We saw it in the game between the Jazz and Warriors when both teams scored less than 100 points.
I don't think this game will be as low-scoring but I do think that this total is way too high. My official NBA pick is the total staying under in tonight's game.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.