One of the better games on Friday night’s NBA docket is the Utah Jazz visiting the Portland Trail Blazers, who are favored by a bucket at home. Portland has posted a very solid 12-4 record at the Moda Center and Utah is 0-4-1 their last five road games. 75% of the public likes the ‘Blazers early – but does this game seem too easy to call?
Utah Aims to Win This Contest with Defense
These two teams are going to get rather acquainted over the holidays as tonight’s game will have a rematch on Christmas Day in Utah. Can the Jazz get the win in the December 21st NBA free pick on the road though? The home team has gone 9-2 ATS the last 11 meetings. Utah has also lost 5 of the last 6 in Portland.
If the Jazz are going to get the win on Friday night they’re probably going to have to do it with defense. That’s because Utah has an offensive rating of 101.2 over the last 6 games and have been held under 100 points in 3 of those. By contrast though the Jazz have held 5 of 7 opponents to 103 points or less and have the 3rd best defensive efficiency in the league over that stretch. Utah did beat Golden State 108-103 on Wednesday powered by 17 points, 15 rebounds, and 4 blocks by Rudy Gobert. The big man and Donovan Mitchell (23.3 ppg vs. Portland last season) will need a big offensive night to hang with the Trail Blazers’ offense.
Portland in a Tough Spot in This One?
Something just seems off about the line in the December 21st NBA free pick. Utah is in 12th in the Western Conference (still just 7 GB of 1st though) and is a mediocre 5-5 their last 10. The Jazz are also in a letdown spot after beating Golden State Wednesday. On the flip side, Portland has won three in a row and has been very good at home this season.
Over the last six games the offensive efficiency for Portland is 112.7 which is the 6th best in the NBA. Damian Lillard is a huge threat for the Trail Blazers as he averaged 33 ppg vs. the Jazz last season (as well as 4+ rebounds and 5+ assists). Lillard has gone for 30+ in 7 of the last 11 vs. Utah. He’s not the only Portland player who likes seeing this matchup on the calendar. CJ McCollum averaged 20+ vs. Utah last year and Jusuf Nurkic posted 11 and 7. Once again, the Blazers just look like too solid of a play with a line of Portland -2.
December 21st NBA Free Pick Betting
It’s your classic offense vs. defense matchup tonight. The line could be a trap but the O/U looks like a solid play. The Jazz have played solid defense lately but the Blazers are going to get theirs at home. Utah should also be able to score behind Mitchell, especially vs. a Trail Blazers defense that has allowed 120+ in two of three.
NBA Free Pick: Jazz / Trail Blazers *Over* 214