Los Angeles Lakers vs. Utah Jazz Preview and Pick

Los Angeles Lakers (9-6) at Utah Jazz (11-5), 10:30 pm Eastern Friday, ESPN
by Zman of Predictem.com

The Los Angeles Lakers look for a third win in a row when they visit the Utah Jazz on the back end of a Friday night TNT double-header.

Most sportsbooks list Utah as a 7 1/2-point home favorite for Friday’s game, with a total of 212. Also, the Jazz are posted at anywhere from -330 to -400 on various Vegas moneylines, with LA getting from +250 to +300 as road underdogs.

Since losing three games in a row, Los Angeles has won two straight after rallying from a dozen down after one quarter to trounce Denver Thursday 127-99. The Lakers now sit in second place in the Pacific Division, two games back of first-place Phoenix.

Utah has won four of its last five games, including a 106-95 decision in Philadelphia Wednesday night. The Jazz remain atop the Northwest Division, two games clear of the second-place Nuggets.

In the first meeting this season between these two teams, Los Angeles shot 56% from the field and out-rebounded Utah 40-32 on its way to a 119-109 victory Nov. 4. And the Lakers took two of three games from the Jazz last season. The o/u is 3-1 in the last four meetings in this series, which have averaged 220 points per game.

This season LA is 9-6 against the spread, and 3-3 both straight up and ATS on the road.

On the other side of this match-up, Utah is 9-7 vs. the numbers, and 6-1 SU and 5-2 against the spread at home.

The Lakers are, on average, outscoring opponents this season 107-101, while the Jazz are outscoring foes 106-98.

Los Angeles, aided by some improved play from the cast surrounding Kobe Bryant, is shooting 47% from the floor this season, 36% from 3-point range and 78% from the free-throw line. The Lakers also rank 3rd in the league in rebounding at +3.9 boards per game, 8th with a 1.6 team assist-to-turnover ratio, and are holding opponents to 43% FG shooting.

Utah is shooting 49% from the floor as a team, 34% from long range and 76% from the line. The Jazz also rank 6th in rebounding at +2.5 per game, 13th with a 1.46 team A/TO ratio, and are limiting opponents to 45% FG shooting.

The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks Utah 3rd at 99.1, LA 5th at 95.1.

On the injury front, the Jazz may be without both F Carlos Boozer, who’s got a bad ankle, and C Mehmet Okur, who is suffering with a bad back. Both are listed as questionable for Friday night.

The o/u is 8-7 in Lakers games this season, which are averaging 208 points per, while the totals are 10-6 in Utah games, which are averaging 204 points.

Zman’s Pick: UNDER 212. We believe that this line is AT LEAST 6 points too high!