The NBA has just passed the midway point in the regular season, and there is very little surprise in the way the standings shake down. The elite teams lead their respective conferences, while the scrappy teams like Chicago, Charlotte, Detroit, Denver and Portland scrap it out for the final few seeds and that coveted playoff berth. The way the season started off for Utah , you could argue that they would be fighting tooth and nail for a playoff spot, but with just under half the season left, the Jazz are 10 games up on eighth place and have their sights set on a top-three seed.
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The Jazz are doing everything in their power to make sure they end up with home-court advantage for at least the first round of the playoffs. They have been on a tear of late, reeling off four straight wins and winning nine of their last 12. The roster is the healthiest it's been in months, missing just Rodney Hood with a bone bruise on his right knee. He is expected to miss around two weeks of action. His teammates should be able to pick up the slack in the meantime against statistically inferior opponents. Six of the Jazz's next eight games are at home, and all of those games are against teams with a worse record.
When I last gave you a Jazz pick , I told you that the Toronto Raptors would take care of the Jazz. The Jazz were in a terrible spot and the Raptors were coming off a lethargic effort against the Spurs. I was right, and we cashed the ticket, laying 5.5 points. I am currently sitting at .500 for the season betting on Jazz games and I vow to be better. It all starts tonight with a 7-Unit play.
As a reminder, I will release picks throughout the season using Doc's Sports Unit Betting System and will keep track of the results, regularly checking in with observations about what we can learn or have learned up to date.
Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks Betting Storylines
The Jazz come into tonight's game after a much-deserved three-day rest period. The last time they took the court, they beat Phoenix by a score of 106-101. The Jazz had seven players score in double figures in that game, and no points were more crucial than Joe Johnson's 10 points in the fourth quarter. The savvy vet hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with just 49.8 seconds to play, and with that the Jazz added to their dominance over the Suns, making it seven straight wins. Rudy Gobert also had a big game, pouring in 18 points and hauling down 17 boards. Gordon Hayward and George Hill chipped in with 17 points each. The Jazz shot 46 percent from the field, but their usually-stingy defense had an off night. They allowed the Suns to shoot 49 percent from the floor, but their undoing was going 5-for-22 from 3-point range.
Despite giving up 101 points the last time out, the Jazz are still playing solid ball on the defensive end of the court, holding opponents to 94.9 points per game, which is tops in the Association. However, they are four points (93.0) better at home on the defensive end of things than they are on the road (97.0).
The Mavs come into this game after losing a close one in Miami last night. They led by three heading into the fourth quarter but couldn't close the deal. They were led by Dirk Nowitzki's 19 points in 29 minutes of play. Wesley Matthews pitched in with 18 while Harrison Barnes and Seth Curry added 15 apiece. The Mavericks had their three-game losing streak snapped and now must travel across the country to play in altitude. This is an extremely tough spot for a team with very little depth and motivation to win games.
Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks Betting Odds and Betting Trends
The Jazz are currently rolling right now with four straight wins, while the Mavericks had their three-game winning streak snapped last night in Miami.
The Jazz are 11-5 in their last 16 games against a team with a team with a losing record at home. However, they are also just 1-5 ATS in their last six games playing on three or more days rest. Total wise, the "under" is 7-1 in the last eight against Western Conference opponents.
The Mavericks are 4-0 in their last four Friday contests and 11-4 ATS in their last 15 following up a straight up loss. They are just 2-5 ATS in their last seven games playing on zero days rest. The total also tends to stay "under" the number with the Mavericks, going 6-1 to the "under" in the last seven overall and 5-1 in the last six against the West.
Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks Predictions and Picks
Usually "must-win" games don't tend to happen until late in the season when a playoff spot is up for grabs, or in the actual postseason when a team is facing elimination. This game falls into neither scenario, but this is a game the Jazz should absolutely win. They are well rested and have been in Dallas since Wednesday. They are the superior team in absolutely every sense of the word team. They have better coaching, better point guard play, better interior game, better scoring and better scoring defense. They have it all to play for, including a chance to get within a game of the fourth-place injury-riddled LA Clippers.
The Mavericks, on the other hand, are 14-28 on the season and are being led by a 38-year old who is far past his prime. The sad part is that they are only 3.5 games back of Denver for the eighth and final playoff spot. They also own the fifth-worst record in the league, which means a high draft pick could be a very good possibility should they decide to forego the beat down by Golden State in the first round and start to tank the season.
Mark Cuban is a solid NBA owner and a pretty smart guy. I'm sure he is aware how much a top-five pick in this year's draft would help with the rebuild, and I am sure sooner than later he will give the team a nudge to start losing as many games as possible.
I'm not saying the Jazz will win this game because the Mavericks won't show up and try, but what I'm saying is that the Jazz have much more ambition and aspirations to win this game to put themselves in a better position for the postseason.
Let's get a win tonight with a massive 7-unit play on the Jazz -6.5, (-105). Odds courtesy of 5Dimes.
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