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  • Writer's picture@WizeOwlSports

Jan 18 NBA Action: Betting a Side on Utah Jazz at San Antonio Spurs

Utah Jazz +13 (-118) at San Antonio Spurs

Utah heads to the AT&T Center in San Antonio this afternoon to take on the a (finally) fully-staffed Spurs squad. Both teams are coming off home wins, as San Antonio impressively dispatched the Blazers Friday, while Utah was able to bypass the Lakers on the same evening (though Kobe Bryant sat out).

Two of the three factors that underpin our handicapping approach give San Antonio a 1-2 point edge, while the third makes the Spurs to be eight points better than the Jazz. As such, betting the Jazz and taking the points seems to be a compelling value play on today's light NBA docket.


San Antonio is 8-12 versus the number on their court this year, with ATS losses to the likes of the Pacers, Kings, Lakers, Pistons and Suns. Granted, age and health likely played a part in the Spurs amassing this losing home record against the spread, but their recent performance at AT&T Center when pitted against losing teams (0-4) at least hints that San Antonio tends to play down to their competition.

On the other hand, the Jazz have demonstrated a propensity to get up for big games. Utah is 13-8 ATS on the road, and their résumé includes covers versus the Clippers (twice), Hawks, Wizards, Pelicans, Grizzlies, Bulls and Thunder. In fact before the Rockets snapped their streak last Saturday, the Jazz had collected five consecutive road wins versus the number.

In our estimation, the betting line for today's contest in overly influenced by the Spurs dissection of Portland Friday. Yes, on the one hand, Kawhi Leonard's return to the San Antonio lineup and Friday's result might mark the start of the normalization process for the Spurs. However, San Antonio is the fifth oldest team in the league (when payer age is weighted by minutes played), and they are not getting any younger. Thus, the potential exists that Friday's above average output sapped some energy from the ageing champions (San Antonio exceeded their season averages in points, rebounds and assists in Friday's win). Additionally, we expect complimentary players like Patti Mills, who contributed 18 points versus the Blazers but averages 11.5 this year, to come back down to earth. Leonard too outperformed against Portland; while Kawhi has demonstrated that he is capable of outstanding productivity sometimes, we are not convinced he is a 20 PPG player.

So, while our work sees the Spurs collecting the 'W' straight-up, we are betting that the stars do not align in San Antonio tonight in quite the same way they did versus the Blazers a couple of days ago. We expect the Jazz to compete throughout, as is their custom on the road against strong teams, and San Antonio to appear a bit more weather-worn than was the case two days ago. As such, we are comfortable taking the road dogs in this spot.

Happy betting!!

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