Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#2661 Washington Wizards vs.
#2662 Utah Jazz
Monday, April 12, 2021 at 9:05pm EDT
Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City
Written by Roberto Arguello

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The Wizards host the Jazz Monday night in the second and final meeting between these teams this season. The Wizards won the previous matchup on March 18th 131-122 in Washington D.C.

The Wizards are coming off of a 134-106 loss to the Suns on Saturday as Bradley Beal was out with a back injury. The Jazz won their most recent game on Saturday at home against the Kings 128-112, and they have won 11 of 13 games since their loss to the Wizards in March. The Jazz are double-digit favorites as they look for their 25th consecutive home victory.

Wizards Need Beal and Westbrook at Their Best

If the Wizards cover or pull the upset, they will need Bradley Beal and Russell Westbrook at their best while other shooters on the perimeter step up. The Wizards will also need a much better defensive effort after one of their worst defensive showings of the season Saturday against the Suns. Bradley Beal (back) is probable to play while Thomas Bryant (torn ACL) remains out for the season.

When the Wizards beat the Jazz earlier this season, they did it behind a 35-point triple-double from Russell Westbrook and 43 points from Bradley Beal. They will need their two best players to play well again for them to cover on the road. Westbrook’s ability to drive and kick against the Jazz, who will be without Mike Conley’s point-of-attack defense, will be key. In order for the drive and kick to be effective, Wizards perimeter players like Davis Bertans, Garrison Matthews, and Deni Avdija will need to make shots as Westbrook will face one of the best defenders in the league in Rudy Gobert when he gets into the lane on Monday.

The Wizards will need to step up defensively against the elite Jazz offense to stay competitive. Per Cleaning The Glass, the Jazz rank 25th in defensive rating (114.0) and are 24th in rebounding rate (48.5%). They will need to raise their level of intensity against a Jazz offense that has been the second-most efficient unit this season (119.3 offensive rating). The Jazz also have the NBA’s second-highest rebounding rate at 52.9%.

Can Mitchell and Ingles Carry the Jazz Offense?

If the Jazz win and cover as heavy home favorites, they will need Donovan Mitchell to continue shooting the lights out as Mike Conley (right hamstring injury management) will miss the game while Jordan Clarkson (ankle) is doubtful to play.

Mitchell has been playing great basketball lately, and he will need to shoulder a larger portion of the load than normal with Conley and Clarkson both likely out. After scoring 42, 37, and 41 points in his last three games, Mitchell became the first Jazz player to score 35+ points in three consecutive games since Karl Malone in 1993. The Jazz will need to keep the basketball moving offensively to find the open man to be at their best without Clarkson and Conley. Utah leads the NBA as threes make up 45.1% of their shot attempts this season, and they are the third-most accurate team from beyond the arc as they are making 39.6% of their threes.

Mitchell has been amazing lately, but many of his teammates have been incredibly efficient as Rudy Gobert, Joe Ingles, Derrick Favors, and Conley all rank in at least the 85th percentile (among their respective position groups) in points per 100 shot attempts. Ingles has been awesome this season as a scorer and distributor as his 145.1 points per 100 shots ranks in the 99th percentile among forwards, and his 21.8% assist rate ranks in the 94th percentile among forwards. The Jazz will need Ingles to play a bigger role than normal as a scorer and secondary pick-and-roll ball-handler without Clarkson and Conley.

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The Jazz are easily the better team even without Conley and potentially Clarkson due to the Wizards’ poor defense, but the Wizards should have enough offensively with Westbrook and Beal leading the way to cover against the Jazz as heavy underdogs. Westbrook and Beal’s affinity for midrange jumpshots isn’t always the best thing for the Wizards, but it will help them in this matchup against the Jazz’s drop-scheme defense with Rudy Gobert as the anchor as they will be comfortable pulling up before he can contest their shots. They will have an easier time than normal at the point of attack with Conley gone, and ultimately, Conley and Clarkson’s absences will be the difference as the Wizards cover.

Prediction: Washington +13

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While the experts expect a high-scoring game, Conley and Clarkson’s absences will put pressure on Mitchell and Ingles to have incredible performances for the score to go over the total. The Wizards will also need to score consistently, but with Bradley Beal coming off of a back injury, I am hesitant to go all-in on the over. With the Wizards coming off of a horrendous defensive performance against the Suns and the Jazz’s offense showing some weaknesses when matched up against defenses that switch, I like the under.

Prediction: Under 234
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Written By Roberto Arguello , "Roberto Arguello"

Roberto is a college basketball and NBA sports betting analyst. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners he broadcasted for PGA TOUR LIVE and was the voice of Stanford Football on KZSU 90.1 FM. His sports betting articles have been featured on Sporting News, The Action Network, and BetQL. Roberto enjoys long romantic walks through the fairways and fullback handoffs.