Washington at Utah NBA Lines, Free Pick & TV Info

Posted by Michael Hunt on Thursday,March 30, 2017 10:20, EDT in

The Washington Wizards could be a bit out of gas on Friday night when they visit Utah for the only time this season as it’s the conclusion of a four-game road trip for the Wizards. Both Washington and Utah have clinched playoff berths but still are playing for seeding. The Jazz are likely to be small NBA betting favorites here if they are healthy. They might not be.

Washington at Utah NBA Lines, Free Pick & TV Info

When: Friday, March 31, 9 PM ET
Where: Vivint Smart Arena, Salt Lake City
TV: NBA League Pass
Stream: NBA.tv
Radio: Washington / Utah
NBA Odds: TBA

Why Bet on Washington?

The Wizards got healthier on Tuesday in an easy win at the Lakers. Bojan Bogdanovic (back) returned from a one-game absence and scored six points on 3-of- 8 shooting. The Wizards were taking it easy on him, as he only played 16 minutes with one rebound, one assist and one steal. Ian Mahinmi (hip) returned from a one-game absence on Tuesday vs. the Lakers and scored 10 points in 18 minutes. He finished 3-of- 4 from the field with five rebounds and two steals.

John Wall torched the Lakers for 34 points and 14 assists. Trailing by 13 points entering the fourth, the Wizards outscored the Lakers 37-13 in the final quarter. For the 16th time this season, the Wizards rallied from a double-digit deficit to win a game. Wall finished 14-of- 25 from the field and 5-of- 5 from the line with three rebounds, four steals and one triple in 37 minutes, improving the Wizards to 30-12 since the New Year.

Tuesday’s win clinched the Southeast Division for Washington. When the franchise last claimed a division title in 1978-79, it was known as the Bullets of the Atlantic Division and played in suburban Landover, Maryland. The team had won its lone NBA championship the previous season and went on to lose the 1979 Finals to the Seattle SuperSonics. From 1979-80 on, Washington has had one of the worst winning percentages in the league, and while the team has made the playoffs 14 times in that span, it hasn’t gotten past the second round.

The NBA de-emphasized division crowns starting with the 2015-16 season, making it no longer a factor in playoff seeding. That prevents teams in weak divisions who finish first from getting a better first-round matchup than teams with more wins but don’t come in first place in its division. Still, it’s progress for the Wizards who finished with 44 and 46 wins in their two playoff seasons in 2014 and ’15 but still didn’t win the Southeast.

The next big thing: 50 regular-season wins, something else the Wizards haven’t achieved since the 1978- 79 season.

Why Bet on Utah?

The Jazz are battling the Clippers for the West’s No 4 seed but Utah is banged up. Forward Derrick Favors (left knee bone bruise) didn’t play on Wednesday vs. the Kings again. He’s out indefinitely.

Guards George Hill (groin) and Raul Neto (groin) also were out. Hill has been a very slow healer and he’s had groin injuries before, so the Jazz could take it easy on him until he’s 100 percent. With Hill and Neto out, Dante Exum and Shelvin Mack will split minutes at the point while Joe Ingles could be more of a primary ball handler.

Star Gordon Hayward also is nursing a quad injury. Hayward is one of six players currently averaging over 21.8 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.5 assists and .529 effective field goal percentage. The five other players include Kevin Durant (GSW), LeBron James (CLE), Giannis Antetokounmpo (MIL), Kawhi Leonard (SAS) and James Harden (HOU).

Hayward and Hill have been exceptional on the offensive end for Utah. In the 40 games both have been on the floor, the duo are combining for 38.0 points per game, leading to a 27-13 record. Utah is 7-4 when Hayward scores 30-plus, 33-10 when he scores 20-plus and 14-1 when Hill scores 20-plus.

Rudy Gobert has recorded at least one block in 43 consecutive games, the longest streak this season in the NBA. He joins Mark Eaton on the list of most consecutive games with at least one block by a Jazzman since 1985-86. With a streak of 24 games with a block earlier this season, he is the only player in the last 10 seasons to have tallied a streak of 20-plus and 40-plus games in the same season. Gobert has recorded 16 games of at least 15 points and 15 rebounds, the most by a Jazzman through 74 games since Carlos Boozer (16, 2006-07).

The Jazz defeated the Wizards, 102-92, on Feb. 26, behind Hayward’s 30 points. Gobert had 15 points and 20 rebounds while adding four blocks. Washington was led by Wall’s 23 points and 11 assists and Bradley Beal’s 22 points.

Washington at Utah Free Pick: Utah Jazz

Utah will be looking for its first season series sweep against the Wizards since the 2012-13 season. The Jazz get it if Hayward plays.