January 23, 2011

Utah Jazz vs. Los Angeles Lakers: NBA Expert Handicapper Pick



Utah Jazz
(27-17, 20-23-1 ATS)

Los Angeles Lakers
(32-13, 20-24-1 ATS)

NBA betting action should be hot and heavy on Tuesday night, as two teams that always seem to hook up in the NBA playoffs do battle at Staples Center. The Los Angeles Lakers will play host to the Utah Jazz.

Head Coach Jerry Sloan said that the Jazz were “feeling sorry for themselves” after dropping a fourth straight road game in resounding fashion on Saturday night at the Philadelphia 76ers. This East Coast swing was a disaster, as Utah went 0-4 SU and ATS and averaged getting beaten by 12.5 points per game, and three of these games came against teams that have sub-.500 records and probably won’t get out of that hole for the rest of the year. These next two games are just as tough at the Lakers and at home against the San Antonio Spurs, who have the best record in the NBA, and Sloan knows that his squad cannot afford another letdown like it just had on the East Coast if they want to beat the defending NBA champs. The man that has been particularly quiet of late has been Al Jefferson, as he only has 26 points over the course of his last two games. Jefferson feels like he is lagging behind the pace that he should be at this year, as the newly acquired member of the Jazz on only averaging 16.7 points and 8.8 boards per game. He’ll be helped on the inside by Paul Millsap, who is at 17.1 points and 7.9 boards on the average night.

The Lakers should be well rested for this one, as they will have been off for four days before getting back to work against Utah. They’re playing lackluster ball as well right now, as they start this lengthy five game home stand off of a stretch in which they went just 2-2. Los Angeles might appear to be down this year, but this is still a club that has won 32 games just barely halfway through the season, and it seems like 60 ‘W’s is a foregone conclusion once again, especially if the team stays healthy. Believe it or not, if there is a problem on this team, it is in the backcourt. It’s really hard to believe that a club with Kobe Bryant has backcourt issues, but there really aren’t any other little guys on the team that can be counted on to contribute night in and night out. On the inside though, Pau Gasol, Lamar Odom, and Andrew Bynum can all have double-doubles on the same night, and all three are going to be terrors to deal with in this game, especially having had all of the days off.

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Utah knows that this is a very important game, and it is going to bring everything that it has to the table. This is one of the few teams that can match up with the Lakers on the inside, as Andrei Kirilenko, Millsap, and Jefferson can all share the court at the same time. Deron Williams won’t let this one get too far out of control. Utah should at least stick within the NBA odds on Tuesday night.

NBA Free Pick: Utah Jazz

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