NBA Picks ATS: Charlotte Bobcats at Utah Jazz

Charlotte Bobcats AT Utah Jazz
Jan 31, 2011 at 9 PM EST
Opening Line:  Utah -3
Current Line:  Utah -3
Opening total: 190
Current Total: 189
Opening Moneyline:  Uta -150 / Cha +130
Current Moneyline:  Uta -160 / Cha +135

Utah has not been playing good ball lately

The Bobcats may finally be rested.  Last game against the Clippers, they were on the second leg of a back to back, and they appeared dead legged and exhausted, losing the game by 15 points.  They haven’t had success with the Jazz in recent times.  They’ve lost the last 4 matchups between the teams.  They may get some respite tonight, however, as Deron Williams may not be in the lineup for the Jazz.  Williams scores 22 a game and gets 9 assists per night, aiding Utah in nearly half of their points.  The blow of not having Williams would be enough for the Bobcats to have a good shot at winning this one.  The Jazz have been struggling, their once impressive record has fallen to 28-20.

Bobcats coach Paul Silas is confident that tonight will be different.  “I think we’ll be ready for Utah for sure,” Silas told the Bobcats’ official website. “That’s the next big game for us. My guys were a little tired (Saturday). … We’ll just take it as it is and be ready for the next one.”

Some betting trends:

Charlotte is 5-2 SU in their last 7 games and the total has gone OVER in 4 of Charlotte’s last 6 games.  The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Charlotte’s last 6 road games and the Bobcats are 5-12 SU in their last 17 road games.  Charlotte is 4-1 SU in their last 5 road games and the total has gone OVER in all 5 of their last 5 games against the Jazz.  Charlotte is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games against Utah and 1-4-1 ATS in those games.  Charlotte is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 road games against the Jazz and the total has gone OVER in 5 of their last 5 games on the road, as well.  Charlotte is 1-4 SU in their last 5 road games against the Utah Jazz.

Utah is 1-7 SU in their last 8 games and the total has gone OVER in 5 of their last 6 at home.  Utah is 13-4 SU in their last 18 home games and 2-6 ATS in their last 8 home games.  Utah is 4-1-1 ATS in their last 6 games against the Bobcats and the total has gone OVER in 5 of the last 5 games against the Bobcats.  Utah is 5-1 SU in their last 6 against Charlotte.

Key Matchups:

Boris Diaw vs. Paul Millsap

Diaw is anything but the exciting player he once was in Phoenix.  Looking unmotivated and overweight for the season, he has been erratic and average at best.  That won’t help him against Millsap, who is finally getting his chance to be a starter in the NBA and has made the most of it.
He’s averaging 16.9 points per game and 7.7 rebounds per night, playing over 6 minutes more per game than he did last year when Utah had now-Chicago Bull Carlos Boozer.  Diaw’s averages are pretty pedestrian.  11.6 points, 5.5 rebounds, and a somewhat impressive 3.8 assists.  Diaw also shoots a high percentage from the field (50%) but he doesn’t have to take many bad shots because Gerald Wallace and Stephen Jackson take care of that for him.

Raja Bell vs. Stephen Jackson

This matchup goes to the Bobcats.  Jackson is a high scoring dynamic taller (6’8″) guard and Raja Bell is no longer the strong defender he was in his younger days.  He’ll still get some stops, but expect “Captain Jack” to get the best of this matchup.  Jackson doesn’t shoot a high percentage from the field because he is often forced to shoot bad shots with the clock running down, and because he takes a lot of ill advised shots.  He’s not logging the super heavy minutes he did last year (39 per game) this year, playing 36 minutes a game, but he averages 18 points per game and 4.7 rebounds and 3.8 assists.  It won’t be enough to make the all star game, but without Jackson the Bobcats would be worse than Cleveland.

I’m somewhat perplexed by the -3 line.  Apparently some people are counting on Deron Williams playing and others not.  If Deron Williams doesn’t play, the Bobcats will have a much stronger chance, but I’m not sure that should make them favorites by any means either.

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