The first round of the NBA Playoffs continues on Sunday as the Utah Jazz travel to the Lone Star State to take on the San Antonio Spurs. The game is scheduled for a 1:00 pm start time and it will be televised live on ESPN. Currently the odds have the Spurs favored by 10.5 points with the total sitting at 207 points for the contest.
Free Analysis: The Jazz haven’t been the most consistent team this season, but they were good enough to stay in the race and sneak into the playoffs with five straight wins to close out the regular season. Utah’s offense has been sizzling during the season-ending five-game win streak, averaging 109.6 PPG on 46% FG (42.4% threes) during the surge. The Jazz rank fourth in the league in scoring at 99.7 PPG, but their three-point shooting has been atrocious this season, as only three NBA teams have shot below their 32.3% clip. Utah knows how to attack the glass though, placing third in the league in rebounding margin (+3.0 RPG). The Jazz's balanced attack was led by the big-man duo of C Al Jefferson (19.2 PPG, 9.6 RPG) and PF Paul Millsap (16.6 PPG, 8.8 RPG). Jefferson has had his way inside against the Spurs this season with 18.0 PPG and 10.5 RPG and 2.5 BPG in the four meetings. But Millsap has struggled in the season series, averaging just 11.0 PPG (39.5% FG) and 7.8 RPG. PG Devin Harris (13.5 PPG, 5.0 APG) is also playing his best basketball of the season, averaging 21.0 PPG (17-of-38 threes) and 5.4 APG in his past five full games, which doesn’t include his 12 minutes of action in the season finale. He’s also scored 16.5 PPG (8-of-19 threes) with 4.8 APG against San Antonio this season. One of the Jazz’s weaknesses this season has been their lack of depth as they don’t receive a lot of help outside of their starting five. Meanwhile, the Spurs are the hottest team heading into the playoffs with a record of 50-16 and a hot streak of 20 wins in their last 22 games of the regular season. The Spurs don’t have any glaring weaknesses. On offense, they led the NBA with a 47.8% FG clip, 39.3% three-pointers and finished second in scoring at 103.7 PPG. Defensively, they held opponents to 43.9% FG (28.9% threes) during the season-ending 10-game win streak. San Antonio’s three stars have all put together excellent seasons despite limited minutes. PF Tim Duncan (15.4 PPG, 9.0 RPG in 28.2 MPG) finished strong with 19.7 PPG (65% FG) and 8.2 RPG in just 26.2 MPG over his final six games. He also averaged a double-double against Utah this year with 15.0 PPG and 10.7 RPG in three games. PG Tony Parker (18.3 PPG, 7.7 APG) also ended the season with a bang, averaging 16.6 PPG on a blistering 57.4% FG in his final five contests with 46 assists and just 13 turnovers (3.54 A-to-TO ratio). Parker has stepped up his game against Utah’s mediocre backcourt, pumping in 21.7 PPG (46.3% FG, 27-of-28 FT) and 7.3 APG. The Spurs won three of four regular-season meetings, though the Jazz prevailed 91-84 in their last head-to-head encounter April 9.
Free Pick: Gonna look to the Spurs in this one. They are playing like the best team in the league right now and and they are 28-5 at home and have outscored their opponents by 11.9 ppg on their home floor, including an average of 19.8 ppg in their last 5 at home. The Spurs have averaged 105.7 ppg at home this year on 49% shooting, while Utah has not played good defense on the road, allowing 102.2 ppg on 46.7% shooting. Utah has been one of the better offensive teams in the league this year, but they will have a tough time keeping that up vs a Spurs team that has allowed just 93.8 ppg on their home floor. San Antomnio is clearly the better team here and they will wear down this depth-deprived Jazz team in the 2nd half and walk away with an EASY series opening win here.
$25 of picks FREE! No Obligation - No Credit Card Required - Becoming a member is Fast and Free!
Betting Strategies: Handicapping NBA PlayoffsHost Marco D'Angelo and Pregame Pro Vegas Runner discuss their strategies about betting the NBA Playoffs and being successful.