Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:00 PM EST. Odds subject to change.
Utah -6 -110 over Portland
9:00 PM EST. Early NBA betting can be quite the headache. Good teams showing promise suddenly flail in unpredictable spots. Bad teams who show zero signs of being able to hang with the teams the market sees as "elite" will randomly step up and cover or win straight up. Even worse, bad market valuations get rewarded and sharp line movement is often dead-wrong. Unlike a nuanced and heavily wagered market like the NFL, the NBA is a confusing and often highly ambiguous sport to put our hard-earned money on early in the season. Regardless, a spread like the one we see tonight between Portland and Utah is a market signal we like to take advantage of.
What do we mean? Well, the Jazz haven't been very good. They're 3-7 and so far they've only been able to beat the Grizzlies (twice) and the Clippers once, pre-James Harden. We're still scratching our heads on how they made that happen but be that as it may, Utah isn't exactly a team anyone should be comfortable betting on.
So, then why are they favorites of 2-3 possessions tonight? Well for starters, they're at home. The elevation advantage for the Jazz, a team that's obviously adapted to playing on their own court, is legitimate. They've only had four games at home so far this season, and two of those games were their openers in October. Additionally, the Jazz are starting to form into a more productive offense. Jordan Clarkson, who struggled mightily in the first few weeks, finally had efficient scoring performances in their last two contests. Utah is also a top 10 team in off-eff and pace over the last three games. They've been amazing at getting offensive rebounds, an area where Portland struggles to defend, and they're one of the best ball-movement-teams in the association (5th in assists per game).
Now what about their competition? Well the Blazers hardly inspire any faith this season, especially since they've been without the guy that should be their leading scorer, Anfernee Simons. Scoot Henderson and Malcolm Brogdon, two other players who could aid their offense, also continue to sit. Other effective scorers like Portland's 2022 first round draft pick Shaedon Sharpe and second-season-addition Jerami Grant have played well, but it's usually not enough. Their 109 ppg in three straight losses against average defenses indicate as much. They're also last in the NBA in offensive efficiency over their last five games.
The Jazz are back at home and had a full three days of rest before this contest. They remain in their own stomping grounds all week and their next competition isn't until Friday. This is an ideal spot for the Jazz to pounce and we'll follow the market in this case.
Utah -6 -110 (Risking 2.2 units - To Win: 2.00)