Utah Jazz (54-27), +4, o/u 182 @ San Antonio Spurs (55-26), -4, o/u 182, AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas, 9:30 p.m. Eastern, Wednesday
By Oracle of Predictem.com
With all of the hoopla surrounding the playoff races this year, it’s not a surprise that the last day of the NBA regular season still has a lot of significance to it, especially for the Utah Jazz and San Antonio Spurs.
With the Lakers and Hornets wrapping up the first two seeds on Monday, the Jazz and Spurs will battle on Wednesday night to determine who will hold the third seed, which means home-court advantage will be theirs for at least the first round.
The Jazz are currently in fourth place in the Western Conference and just a game behind the Spurs. With a win, Utah holds the tiebreaker, as they took two out of three games in Utah this season.
However, Phoenix and Houston have identical records on the year, so if the Jazz were to lose, they could drop all the way to sixth in the Western Conference race and watch their hope court advantage slip away. And if you’re the Jazz, that’s heartbreaking considering the fact that they have an NBA best 37-4 record at home.
Even though the Jazz have faired well against the Spurs this year, they still haven’t won in San Antonio in nearly a decade and have lost their last 20 when visiting the AT&T Center.
Oddsmakers have realized Utah struggles on the road against the Spurs, opening up with San Antonio the favorites -4. The over/under total is at 182 as well.
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After losing the first game against the Spurs early this season, the Jazz have won the last two, including a huge 90-64 win. The 64 points tied for the lowest output in San Antonio’s franchise history.
Tony Parker (17) and Time Duncan (15) were the only players in the double digit scoring. Manu Ginobli, no doubt the 6th man of the year, struggled mightily by going 2-for-10. As a team, the Spurs committed 16 turnovers against a tough Utah defense.
Per usual, Utah got a pretty balanced scoring attack in that win, with five players in double figures led by Mehmet Okur’s 17 points.
Utah also got the best of the Spurs back in January. This time, it was Tony Parker who struggled, going 1-of-7 from the field and Duncan (26) and Ginobli (29) rising to the occasion.
The Spurs know what it’s like beating Utah at home. They went through the Jazz in last year’s playoffs on their way to yet another championship. They beat Utah three times at the AT&T Center in that playoff series.
The odd part about the one win the Spurs have over Utah this season is the fact that they won without Duncan in the lineup, as he was nursing an ankle injury.
In effect, the Spurs’ Big Three of Parker, Ginobli and Duncan haven’t been on during their contests against the Jazz. Part of that can be attributed to the tough, physical Utah defense, which holds opponents to under 100 points and 46% shooting per game.
The good news for the Spurs, and bettors for that matter, is the fashionable trend of a 12-2 mark ATS for the favorite when these two teams battle.
Also good news for the Spurs is the fact that the home team is 13-3 ATS in the last 16 head-to-head meetings.
Seeing as how Utah struggles in San Antonio, it’s no surprise that they’re 0-7 ATS in their last seven road games against the Spurs.
Although these two defenses pride themselves on their physicality and knock ’em down style, the over is 5-0 in the last five meetings in San Antonio. With the over/under mark of 182, that might be a trend bettors should look into.
Most people knew that not everything would be copasetic until the final day of the NBA regular season. So yes, bettors won’t have to worry about star players sitting the bench for all four quarters on Wednesday night when Utah and San Antonio take the floor. Whew.
Oracle’s Pick: There’s no way the Spurs have a lackluster 64 points like the last meeting. The Jazz should get theirs, too. Take the over of 182!