Chris Paul and the fourth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers will look to take the first step toward overcoming their repeated postseason failures when they host the fifth-seeded Utah Jazz in the opener of their first round Western Conference playoff series on Saturday.
Now, let’s find out if the Clippers will cover the NBA betting line against a Utah Jazz ballclub that won an identical amount of regular season games as L.A.
No. 5 Utah Jazz Vs No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers Spread & Pick
When: 10:30 PM ET, Saturday, April 15, 2017
Where: Staples Center, Los Angeles, California
Spread: LA Clippers -5
Why Bet The Utah Jazz Odds at +5
Utah closed out the regular season by winning four of five while beating playoff participants, Portland, Golden State and San Antonio along the way. The Jazz are ranked an uninspiring 28th in scoring (100.7 ppg), but a surprising ninth in field goal shooting percentage (46.6%) and identical ninth in three-point shooting (37.2%).
Defensively, Utah led the league in points allowed by limiting the opposition to just 96.8 points per game while also ranking second in field goal shooting defense (44.3%) and first in rebounds allowed (40.2 per game).
In addition to all-star small forward Gordon Hayward (21.9 ppg), Utah gets double-digit scoring from veteran point guard George Hill (16.9 ppg), blossoming center Rudy Gobert (14.0 ppg) and athletic swingman Rodney Hood (12.7 ppg) while veterans Derek Favors and Joe Johnson each contribute just over 9.0 points per contest.
Why Bet The Los Angeles Clippers Odds at -5
The best reason to back the Clippers in this contest is that they’re red-hot right now. L.A. closed out the regular season with seven consecutive victories and ranks an impressive sixth in scoring (108.7 ppg). Doc Rivers’ squad finished the regular season ranked second in field goal shooting percentage (47.5%) and seventh in three-point shooting (37.5%).
Defensively, L.A. finished the regular season ranked 12th in points allowed (104.4 ppg) while also finishing 11th in field goal shooting defense (45.2%) and eighth in three-point defense (34.9%). The Clippers have a trio of all-stars in point guard Chris Paul (18.1 points, 9.2 assists), forward Blake Griffin (21.6 ppg, 8.1 rpg) and center DeAndre Jordan (12.7 ppg, 13.8 rpg). L.A. also gets double-figure scoring from veteran snipers J.J. Redick (15.0 ppg) and Jamal Crawford (12.3 ppg) and backup combo guard Austin Rivers (12.0 ppg).
Utah Jazz Vs L.A. Clippers Expert Pick & Final Score Prediction
The Clippers won three of four meetings against the Jazz this season with one victory coming by eight points and the other two coming by double figures. With that said, I like Chris Paul and company to get the big win and ATS cover as they should get a huge lift from their home fans and take on an inexperienced Utah team that hasn’t been in the playoffs in ages.
With the Clippers going 3-1-1 ATS in their last five home games and Utah going 1-5 ATS in their last six meetings against L.A., I say keep it simple and back the underachieving Clippers to win and cover.
My final score prediction is Clippers 102 Utah 96