Free Picks: New Orleans Pelicans vs. Utah Jazz

Pelicans vs Jazz NBA
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Utah Jazz, NBA, Smoothie King Center

The 27-7 Utah Jazz haven’t been as infallible lately as they were a few weeks ago, but they’ve still won three of their past five contests, including a dominating win over the Orlando Magic in their most recent outing. On Monday they head to New Orleans to take on the exciting but inconsistent 14-19 Pelicans at the Smoothie King Center, who have lost two straight and four of their past six.

Jazz Aim For Season Sweep Of Pelicans (Season Betting Record: 50-45)

Utah remains 3.5 games ahead of the field in the strong Western Conference while the Pels continue scratching and clawing for a spot in the play-in tournament. If it weren’t for the name recognition of Zion Williamson, this spread would likely be a lot higher, so with that being said, our first NBA pick for this Monday night matchup will be Utah’s -6.0 point spread at solid –120 NBA odds.

This should be a lock considering the situation on the three-point line, which has become nearly as important—if not more so—than the battle in the paint in today’s NBA. The Jazz have been shooting the three-ball at an impressive 39.6 percent this season, fourth-highest in the league. The toughest thing about Utah’s sweet-shooting, however, is how well spread it is across the team.

All seven Jazz players that average at least one triple per game are shooting it at 37 percent or better from downtown, and the lowest man in that category is presumptive Sixth Man of the Year, Jordan Clarkson, which is a scary prospect. Five of those hoopers are hitting two or more shots from deep per night, and the Jazz also boast three, count ‘em, three, players who are firing at 40+ percent from beyond the arc.

Utah’s 16.9 three-balls per game are tops in the league, and I’m sure by now you can guess which team is giving up the most triples per game in the NBA: New Orleans, with 15.8 deep bombs allowed per night. Teams have been efficient from the three-point line for those 15.8 as well, hitting at a 39.4 percent clip against the Pels this season. It’s not just the three-point defense that’s been unacceptable, it’s the rest of the defense as well.

The Pelicans are rivalling the Brooklyn Nets of a few weeks ago in terms of defensive effort and end result. Both New Orleans and their opponents have topped 110 points in each of the Pels’ past 10 games, and with the way they defend the three-point line, we know at least one team is going to blow by that mark yet again on Monday night.

We would expect the Pelicans to come close to that mark as well considering how they’ve been ripping up opposing defenses to the tune of an NBA-leading 121.4 points per game on 49.9 percent shooting in February. New Orleans has hit the over at an insane 73 percent rate this year, and we expect that to continue against the Jazz, so we’re going with the over on this game’s 233.5 points total at decent -125 NBA odds as another of our top picks.

Our final wager for this tilt will be a prop for Utah’s best player: emerging superstar Donovan Mitchell. Mitchell is having a career year and has been especially good of late, averaging 26.8 points per game in February. Despite -137 odds that leave a bit to be desired, the over on Spida’s 25.5 points prop could be the best bet for today considering his track record against his Monday night opponents.

In those two wins against the Pels in January, the Elmsford, New York native scored 28 (60 percent from the field) and 36 points (58 percent), but his penchant for balling in the Bayou goes back further than just this season. Spida has poured in 26.4 points in 13 career meetings with New Orleans, his highest mark against any opponent—and his 47 percent career shooting percentage against the Pelicans is the fifth-highest.

Stats

  • Utah is 20-6 ATS coming off of a win this season
  • New Orleans is 8-15 ATS playing on one days’ rest this year
  • New Orleans and their opponent have both scored 110+ in each of their past 10 outings
  • Donovan Mitchell’s 26.4-point career average against New Orleans is his highest against any opponent

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Alex is an alumnus of Ryerson University's RTA Sport Media program, a contributing NHL, NBA, and MLB writer in the BetPicks.ca team. He has been writing on sports, betting, and fantasy contests for several years, including pitstops as an NFL Editor for theScore and as one of the lead NBA news writers for fantasy sports site FantasyPros. As a lifelong athlete, bettor, and sports fan, Alex is uniquely qualified to help you reach the sports betting success that you've always dreamed of and your wife never believed you could achieve. Follow Alex on Twitter

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