NBA Western Conference Picks: Utah Jazz at San Antonio Spurs

Manu Ginobli likely returns for the Spurs as they try to bounce back from a game 1 upset at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies Sunday. The Spurs are 8 point favorites at home.

Utah at San Antonio
Time: 7 PM ET, Mar 16, 2014
Line: SAS -15
Total: 201

The San Antonio Spurs have won its past nine games and currently lead the Oklahoma City Thunder by one game for the best record in the West. The Spurs are 25-8 at home this season where it will host the Utah Jazz.

The Jazz are tied for the worst record in the West and are just 22-44 on the season. NBA oddsmakers at Bovada were favoring the Spurs by 15 points in this contest.

San Antonio was able to execute an easy route of the woeful L.A. Lakers on Friday night, defeating Los Angeles by 34 points, despite playing its reserves most of the game.

Tim Duncan and Tony Parker saw just 15 and 14 minutes, respectively, while Matt Bonner led all Spurs scorers with 13 points and 10 rebounds in 26 minutes of play. Gregg Popovich has consistently been able to milk production from his bench, and six Spurs scored in double figures—five of which were reserves. Mike D’Antoni is likely the worst coach in NBA history and it showed, as his Lakers made Matt Bonner and other Spurs scrubs look like perennial All-Stars. The task won’t be much more difficult with Utah tonight.

The Jazz are bad, just a different kind of bad than Los Angeles. The Jazz can’t score. The defense is passable, allowing 100.8 points per game (15th in NBA), but after losing Paul Millsap and Al Jefferson, the Jazz have found its offensive options too limited and the team isn’t getting a lot of production from the blocks, as it did with Jefferson especially.

Utah’s best player, Gordon Hayward, may leave in free agency this offseason. Teams will be interested to pluck more talent from Utah’s roster and the swingman from Butler is averaging 15.8 points, 4.5 rebounds and 5.3 assists in 36 minutes per game. Alec Burks has emerged as a good scorer and Derrick Favors is a double-double machine, but the Jazz will likely be focused on acquiring Andrew Wiggins or Jabari Parker in the 2014 NBA Draft, which may make Hayward entirely expendable at any rate.

UTA Trends: UNDER 5-0 in last 5 road games vs a team with a winning home record; UNDER 4-0 in last 4 road games vs team with home winning percentage greater than .600; UNDER 5-0 in last 5 vs teams with winning percentage above .600.

SAS Trends: 6-1 ATS in last 7 after scoring 100 points or more in previous game; 5-1 ATS in last 6 following SU win; 5-1 ATS in last 6 overall.

Head-to-head: Jazz 4-1 in last 5 meetings; OVER 17-5 in last 22 meetings in San Antonio; Jazz 5-14-1 ATS in last 20 meetings in San Antonio.

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