Orlando Magic (16-26) at Utah Jazz (21-23)
Game Info: Friday, January 13, 2022 at 9 p.m. EST (Vivint Arena)
Betting Odds: Jazz (-5) / Over/Under (233)
Pick: Jazz (-5)
This Friday night brings us an underwhelming (record-wise) matchup between two teams towards the bottom of the league in their respective Conferences, when the Orlando Magic travel west to take on the Utah Jazz. With both squads on the outside looking in to a top-8 seed in their Conference, this game should bring two motivated squads together as they fight to put their names into the playoff bunch.
Orlando is currently on a 5-game western road trip, with this being their 4th game of this stretch. Having secured two great wins against the Blazers and Warriors in their home buildings in 2 out of 3 of their last games (2-1 ATS in that span), they will certainly feel as though they have a great chance in this one. They boast a promising duo in Paolo Banchero (20) and Franz Wagner (21), who have each put in just over 20 PPG so far this season. The Magic will look to add a few pieces to their roster in the future to build around these young talents in order to make a push in the East. Until then, as a team they are still very young and unproven, which has led to a lot of sleepless night for Head Coach Jamahl Mosley. As we flip over to the opposing side of the ball, they have struggled to successfully keep teams from putting the ball in the basket. With a bottom-6 ranked defensive rating (114.5), they will struggle against the likes of Jordan Clarkson and Lauri Markkanen in this matchup.
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After starting the season off scorching hot, Utah has fell off a cliff in the last month and a half, going 9-17 since November 21. Although no one was expecting them to be a top-seed in the West all year, it has been a dreadful period of games for the Jazz. Now sitting in between a cluster of teams in the 9-seed, they'll look to go on a run to get themselves some confidence as the season progresses. They are led by Jordan Clarkson (PG) and Lauri Markkanen (PF), who have been the key cog's for them all season long. Clarkson has always been a flashy offensive player, but this year he has had an expanded role, which has allowed him to showcase his talents on a nightly basis. On the other hand, Markkanen has shot out of a cannon for the first 44 games for the Jazz. This year, averaging 24.5 PPG, he has looked every bit of the 7th overall pick he was in the draft coming out of Arizona a few years back. Utah is 4-5 ATS over their last 9 games, let's see if the youngest Head Coach in the NBA, Will Hardy, can get his team going to bolster their season back to where it was in the first month.
A few betting trends to consider in this matchup:
- Orlando is 1-3 ATS on 2-3 days of rest
- Utah is 14-10 ATS on equal rest as the team they are facing
- The over has hit in 13 out of 17 non-Conference games for the Magic
- The over has hit in 9 out of 14 non-Conference games for the Jazz
The Magic have an encouraging future in Wagner and Banchero, but a West Coast trip always has it's lows, especially when it comes to an inconsistent team like the Magic. For the home side, they haven't been in the greatest form of late, splitting their last four games, but after a momentous win against Donovan Mitchell and the Cavaliers in their last game at home, I am in on the Jazz to keep the good vibes going. With a win, they can jump back into a top-8 seed in the West, and against an inferior opponent at home, they will surely be up for the challenge of protecting home court in Salt Lake City. Give me Markannen and Clarkson to continue on their All-Star caliber seasons in order to help the Jazz to their 22nd win of the year in convincing fashion.
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