Utah Jazz (11-6) at Indiana Pacers (10-6)
NBA: Wednesday, November 27th, 2019 at 7:00 pm ET (Bankers Life Fieldhouse)
Line and Odds: Indiana Pacers -2.5 Over/Under: 210.5
Free ESPN NBA Picks Indiana Pacers vs. Utah Jazz
If the Jazz are searching for reasons to be thankful this week, they can point to the fact that they don’t have to face Giannis Antetokounmpo for the rest of the regular season. In their most recent game, the Jazz put up a great fight at Milwaukee against the Bucks before falling 122-118. Unfortunately for Utah, Antetokounmpo took their highly rated defense apart. The Jazz allowed Giannis to score 50 points, grab 14 rebounds, and dish 6 assists, without forcing him into a single turnover. Bojan Bogdanovic scored 24, Donovan Mitchell scored 20, and the 4 players Utah sent in from the bench each scored at least 11 points. They held everyone not named Giannis to 26-66 from the field and 10 free throw attempts.
Antetokounmpo was simply too much to overcome, partially because Rudy Gobert was unavailable for the game. Gobert is also listed as questionable for this game with an ankle injury. Utah has one of the best defenses in the league, but Gobert is the anchor. While Gobert may not play today, we’re sure that Bogdanovic will be there to face his old team. This will be the first time Bogdanovic has played in Indiana since he left for Utah in free agency. Bogdanovic has been the team’s 2nd leading scorer behind Donovan Mitchell. He has averaged 20.9 points per game compared to Mitchell’s 25.6. Bojan Bogdanovic has been a bit more efficient than Mitchell, shooting 45.9% from 3 with an eFG% of 57.5%.
The Utah Jazz are 11th in net rating, outscoring opponents by 3.5 points per 100 possessions. Utah ranks 21st in offensive rating, averaging 106.5 points per 100 possessions. The Jazz shoot the ball pretty well, ranking 11th in effective field goal percentage. They make 19.5 free throws per 100 possessions, the 3rd-highest mark in the NBA. The problem with Utah’s offense is their lack of shot opportunities. The Jazz rank 26th in turnover percentage, 30th in offensive rebound percentage, and 29th in field goal attempts per 100 possessions. Utah ranks 4th in defensive rating, allowing 103.0 points per 100 possessions. They rank 2nd in effective field goal defense, forcing teams to shoot an eFG% of 48.6%. The Jazz defense ranks 4th in defensive rebounding percentage, grabbing 80.1% of the defensive rebounds available to them.
The Indiana Pacers have been one of the hottest teams in basketball over the past few weeks. Indiana opened the season with 3 straight losses (Pistons, at Cavaliers, at Pistons). Since then, the Pacers have won 10 of their last 13 games. Indiana has been especially good at home, winning 7 of their 9 home games on the season. Their 10-6 record currently places them in 6th place in the Eastern Conference. They are 3.5 games back of the Milwaukee Bucks in the Central Division, as the 14-3 Bucks have the best record in the East.
Despite Indiana’s strong record, it’s difficult to identify a strong quality win on their schedule. The only team that they’ve beaten with a winning record is Brooklyn (who they have 2 wins against). Every other team they have wins against already has at least 10 losses. The 2 best teams they’ve faced were Houston and Milwaukee, but they lost to both of those teams in back to back nights. According to the Massey Ratings and Sagarin Ratings, the Pacers have faced the easiest schedule in the NBA. This will be an opportunity to beat a legitimate playoff-caliber team for the first time.
Victor Oladipo hasn’t gotten the chance to play yet, because of injury. However, players like T.J. Warren, Domantas Sabonis, and Malcolm Brogdon have picked up the slack. Myles Turner and Jeremy Lamb have missed time with injuries this season, but both are healthy now. This is the healthiest the Pacers have been all season.
The Indiana Pacers rank 9th in net rating, outscoring opponents by 4.9 points per 100 possessions. Indiana ranks 13th in offensive rating, scoring 108.9 points per 100 possessions. The Pacers rank 18th in effective field goal percentage, shooting for an eFG% of 52.0%. They hit 82.0% of their free throws, but shoot a league-low 17.0 free throw attempts per 100 possessions. They rank 2nd in field goal attempts per 100 possessions, partially because they rank 9th in offensive turnover percentage and offensive rebound percentage. Indiana ranks 9th in defensive rating, allowing 104.0 points per 100 possessions. The Pacers rank 9th in effective field goal defense, allowing teams to shoot for an eFG% of 50.4%. They are 6th in defensive rebound percentage and 11th in free throw attempts per 100 possessions.
Cover The Spread 365 Betting Trends
The total has gone UNDER in 14 of Utah’s last 20 games.
Utah are 2-6 SU in their last 8 games when playing on the road against Indiana.
Utah are 10-5 SU in their last 15 games this season.
The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Indiana’s last 6 games.
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Indiana’s last 7 games against Utah.
Indiana are 7-1 SU in their last 8 games at home.
ESPN NBA Scores Utah Jazz vs. Indiana Pacers
I’m taking the Utah Jazz +2.5 in this matchup. I like the Jazz, in large part, because of how easy Indiana’s schedule has been. The Pacers may look slightly better than the Jazz from a statistical perspective, but this has a great deal to do with their lack of competition. While Indiana has had the easiest schedule in the NBA, the Jazz have faced a top 5 schedule. Utah is used to playing tough teams game in and game out. Also, I look for this to be a bounce back game for the Jazz defense. Utah is a proud defensive team, and I expect a team with their defensive profile to put forth a strong effort after what Giannis did to them last game. Indiana will have a tough time scoring because they lean so heavily on shooting from the field (as opposed to the free throw line) and the Jazz have a stingy defense from the floor. Bojan Bogdanovic will have a big day in front of his former fans and Donovan Mitchell will put up his usual 25. I think this game should be closer to pick’em, so I’m happy to take the 2.5 points.