New Orleans comes in with a disappointing 4-16 overall record through 20 games. Meanwhile, the Jazz have won four of their last five games to improve to 12-6 through 18 contests. As bad as New Orleans has been, it has managed to cover the spread in eight of its first 20 games. However, the Pelicans are just 2-8 against the spread on the road this season.
Can the Jazz take down the Pelicans at home on Friday night?
Valaciunas leads Pelicans to win over WizardsNew Orleans snapped a two-game losing streak with a 127-102 victory at home over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. Brandon Ingram had 26 points while Jonas Valanciunas added 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Pelicans, who shot 12-for-29 from 3-point range in the win.
jonas valanciunas with the greatest pump fake of all time pic.twitter.com/KE2tCNBOJg— Ben Pfeifer (@Ben_Pfeifer_) November 24, 2021
The Pelicans have been a mess without star forward Zion Williamson in the lineup. The team reportedly kept Williamson’s injury and subsequent surgery a secret over the summer due to his “preference for privacy”, according to NBC Sports. Williamson was recently cleared for contact drills and is hoping to return to 5-on-5 work in the near future. However, he remains without a timetable for his return.
At 29 years old, Valaciunas has quietly been playing some of the best basketball of his career. The Pelicans big man is averaging a career-high 19.2 points and 12.5 rebounds per game while shooting a blistering 53.5 percent from 3-point range on more than two attempts per game.
According to dunksandthrees.com, New Orleans enters with a -5.6 adjusted net rating, which ranks 26in the NBA. The Pelicans own an adjusted 104.8 offensive rating, 25th in the NBA, and a 110.5 adjusted rating on the defensive end of the floor, good for 26th in the league.
Gay making strong first impression in UtahUtah bounced back with a 110-104 victory on the road against the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. Jordan Clarkson finished with a team-high 20 points while Donovan Mitchell had six straight points in the final minute to help the Jazz fend off Oklahoma City for the win.
Despite getting a late start to the season, veteran swing man Rudy Gay has made a strong first impression in Utah. The 35-year-old come in averaging double-figures in points despite getting just 17.5 minutes per game off of the bench through his first four contests. Gay has scored 10.0 points and hauled in 4.8 rebounds per game while shooting 53.8 percent form the field and 56.3 percent from 3-point range, which has added a new dimension to the Jazz’ offense.
According to dunksandthrees.com, Utah comes in with an adjusted +8.7 net rating, the second-best mark in the NBA. The Jazz own an adjusted 114.3 offensive rating, first in the league and rank seventh in the NBA on defense with an adjusted 105.6 rating through 18 games.
Best Bets for this Game
Full-Game Side Bet
The Utah Jazz are favored by 13.5 points in this game but that number might be set a little too high in this spot. New Orleans has been playing well of late, winning two of its last four games. Meanwhile, the Jazz are coming off of a narrow victory on the road against the Thunder and they’ve quietly lost three of their last five home games. With Ingram and Valanciunas carrying the load, look for New Orleans to cover the spread on the road in Utah against the Jazz on Friday night.
Full-Game Total Pick
These two teams are projected for 217 points but that number might be set a little too high in this spot. Utah has been one of the best teams in the NBA on both ends of the floor this season but the Jazz also like to slow the pace down. They rank 20th in pace and 24th in average possession length on offense heading into Friday’s contest. Meanwhile, New Orleans also ranks in the bottom half of the league, coming in at 17th and 22nd, respectively in both categories. Take this game to stay under the projected total in Utah on Friday night.