2017-18 Utah Jazz Predictions and NBA Futures Odds Picks
For the last few seasons Gordon Hayward has been the face of the Utah Jazz - the one player that people outside of Utah knew and cared about. Well, now he's gone to Boston. He played it up like there was drama involved in his decision, and he didn't know until the end if he was staying or going, but from where I was sitting and watching it sure didn't feel that way. Now the team needs to figure out what their identity is with their centerpiece gone. It would be a mistake to assume that the team is doomed, or that they have nothing else going for them, though. They will be different, but if everything went right then there is a chance that they could exceed the expectations of casual bettors and provide some nice profits as a result. They aren't going to win 51 games like they did last year, so the question is how many fewer games it will be.
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2017 Utah Jazz Betting Storylines
With Hayward gone, the team now belongs to Rudy Gobert. And that's not a bad thing at all. Gobert is one of the best defensive players in the league, and that should only improve for the 25-year-old center. And he has been a key player on this team for a while now, so the leadership role he takes with this team is nothing new. What will be key, though, is for him to take a step forward with his offensive game, which will be even more important now that the team's best scorer is gone. In round numbers, Gobert went from nine points per game two years ago to 14 last year, so the offensive upside is definitely there. And the addition of Ricky Rubio on the point will add some pick-and-roll points to his arsenal. Gobert doesn't need to be a 20-point scorer - his role in what is an excellent defense is more than enough - but an increase from last year will have a big impact on the fate of this team.
Derrick Favors is a guy to watch this year. Last year he really struggled with knee injuries. He missed a lot of time and looked old and ineffective when he was in. He's a guy who seems like he has been around for a long time, but he's still only 26, so there is plenty of rubber on the tires. His 9.5 points per game last year was way down from 16.4 the year before. He says he is healthy now, so there is real upside for him - especially because he's playing for a new contract this year. Rodney Hood and Alec Burks are two other guys who have scored more in the past than they did last year. And rookie Donovan Mitchell is a serious scorer who has a double-digit scoring average as his best-case scenario. The team will need them all to step up as well to replace the scoring lost from Hayward. They have made a lot of changes to this roster, but no one can replace the points himself, so it will come down to a committee approach.
Dante Exum didn't get the chance to take over the point duties when George Hill left town. Rubio will be in charge. Exum will get plenty of time, though, and we should see some progress from him. Frankly, he wasn't good enough last year, but he was also coming back from an ACL injury. Now, with another year between him and that injury we should see more confidence and more effectiveness from him. The team hasn't had a lot of luck drafting point guards high lately - Trey Burke didn't work out, and Exum hasn't yet - so they could really use a reversal of fate here.
2017 Utah Jazz Additions and Departures
The team has made a lot of changes. Hayward is gone, and Hill headed to Sacramento as a free agent. Boris Diaw wasn't brought back, either, and has gone back to France. They brought Rubio in form Minnesota for a first-round pick after the Timberwolves opted to go with Jeff Teague running their point. They grabbed Mitchell in a draft day trade with Denver for their 24th pick and Trey Lyles. And they grabbed Thabo Sefolosha and Jonas Jerebko as free agents from Atlanta and Boston, respectively. Losing Hayward obviously hurts, and the team got worse as a result of the loss, but it was a much better offseason beyond that than it could have been.
2017 Utah Jazz Futures Odds and Trends
Utah Jazz Futures Odds
NBA title odds (from BetOnline ) : +20000
Western Conference title odds : +10000
Donovan Mitchell ROY Odds (from Bovada ) : +1600
Season win total (from Bovada): 41 ("over" is favored at -130)
The team was slightly profitable for bettors last year, but only pessimistic ones - they were 36-42-4 ATS. The total didn't produce profits, though - they went over 42 times and "under" 40.
2017 Utah Jazz Predictions and Futures Odds Picks
The team isn't as good as they were but not as bad as some people think. I think 44 wins is a reasonable number. The challenge this team has is that Minnesota, Denver and potentially New Orleans have gotten better, so there is going to be a major battle for the bottom playoff spots. The playoffs are a possibility, and the team has strong coaching, which is a big asset, but they are in for a real battle. I like the over on the season win total, but I can't safely feel optimistic about too much besides that.
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Read more articles by Trevor Whenham
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