The Utah Jazz are coming off a blowout win over the Denver Nuggets and now they have a tough assignment on no rest as they head into Los Angeles to play the Lakers.
Utah Jazz vs. L.A. Lakers
Monday, January 17, 2022 – 10:30 PM EST at Crypto.com Arena
Jazz Playing Tired
When they started the season, the Jazz were pretty much the same tough team on no rest as they were when they played on one or more days of rest. Lately, however, that has not been the case and it’s showing in the Jazz’s defensive metrics.
Over their last two games played on no rest, the Jazz have allowed 123 points per 100 possessions or more and now they are on the second game of a back-to-back schedule, on the road, and playing a potent Lakers offense that has been red-hot lately, especially early in ball games.
That’s where I’m attacking for this game too. Utah’s road offense has been good this season and lately, they have been even better playing in first halves.
The Sharp Analysis
Utah is averaging nearly 120 points per 100 possessions over their last five first halves and over that same stretch, they are giving up 111.4 points per 100 possessions, which ranks in the bottom third of the NBA.
When you add the Lakers’ recent play and small-ball lineup, this over in the first half looks like a great value. If the Lakers can take advantage of Utah’s tired legs, we’ll see a pretty high-scoring first half tonight.
Not only has Utah been a red-hot first-half offense lately, but the Lakers have been even better. The Lakers are averaging 121 points per 100 possessions over their last five games, which ranks in the top five among all team’s last five games.
On top of this, the Lakers’ first-half defense has been incredibly suspect lately, allowing 128.6 points per 100 possessions. This ranks dead-last in the league over the last five games. While two of those games were played on the road, the Lakers also tend to play a lot faster at home, another benefit of betting the first half over tonight.
L.A. has a first-half pace of 102.4 at home this season, which also ranks them in the top five of that category.
The Sharp Pick
These two teams have yet to play one another this season, but last year the Jazz averaged nearly 60 points per first half in their three meetings with the Lakers, and that was when the Lakers’ defense was playing pretty well.
Now their defense is faltering, the Jazz legs are tired and both teams could get into a shootout early on in this one.
Defense may fall off later in the game, but that much is evident with the total. At 230 points for the full game, the top sportsbooks are almost expecting the defense to fall off late in the game.
However, it may just not show up altogether. If that’s the case, the first-half total of 112 is a nice value on the over for the NBA pick in this one.
*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.