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  • Writer's picture@WizeOwlSports

Jan 16 NBA Action: Picking a Side on Los Angeles Lakers @ Utah Jazz

Los Angeles Lakers +8.5 (-118) at Utah Jazz

The simulation component of our handicapping system calls for the Jazz to win by 3-4 points when the Los Angeles Lakers visit EnergySolutions Arena this evening. Such an outcome would result in the Lakers covering the 8.5 point spread.

The quantitative element of our approach anticipates a Los Angeles victory outright (albeit by the slimmest of margins). This power rankings-based factor though does not consider that Kobe Bryant will likely not go this evening (the Lakers tend to rest their ageing superstar during the second game of back-to-backs).

Nonetheless, as each factor in our model indicates significant value versus the betting line, we find the Lakers +8.5 to be an enticing opportunity.

Kobe's loss obviously detracts from the Lakers scoring punch, but per ESPN's RPM, Bryant's aggregate contribution, as measured in points per 100 offensive and defensive possessions is -3.32. Backups Wayne Ellington and Xavier Henry, who are likely to log minutes in Kobe's stead, both sport superior RPMs (because they are better defenders than Kobe, at this advanced stage of his career). As such, any potential of fire power owing to Kobe sitting on the bench might be more than offset by a more stringent defensive effort that limits Utah's ability to score.

Thus, we are comfortable taking the 8.5 points and siding with the Los Angeles Lakers tonight.

The output from our handicapping model for each game on tonight's docket appears below.


Happy betting!!

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