Don’t look now, but the Los Angeles Lakers are suddenly on the rise. LeBron James & Co., widely dismissed after losing their first five games of the season, have jumped back into the playoff conversation by stringing together back-to-back wins over the Denver Nuggets and New Orleans Pelicans.
The Lakers will be looking to get third straight tonight when they host the troublesome Utah Jazz, another team that knows a thing or two about beating expectations. Utah somehow managed to win six games despite knocking down perennial All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell in the offseason. The remaining players banded together and tied the Jazz for first place in the Northwest Division.
Will LA roll on tonight or will Utah hit all the right notes on the road? Find out in our free Jazz vs. Lakers NBA picks and predictions on Friday, November 4th.
Jazz vs Lakers best odds
Jazz vs. Lakers tips and predictions
Lauri Markkanen is the perfect example of a talented player who just needed a fresh start. The 7-foot Finn played for three different coaches with three radically different schemes during his five years in Chicago before losing himself in the Cavaliers’ crowded front-court rotation a year ago.
He’d probably still be the odd man in Cleveland if it wasn’t for a blockbuster trade that sent Markkanen to the Utah Jazz for a package all about Donovan Mitchell.
It was a sudden — and shocking — turn of events, but the 25-year-old sniper has fared well in Salt Lake City. Not only does he lead the Jazz in scoring (21.7 ppg) and rebounds (9.0 rpg), but he also ties his career-high 51% of his field goal attempts.
Markkanen had long teased fans with his flashes of brilliance, but it wasn’t until last summer when he represented his native Finland at EuroBasket 2022 that he finally began to melt into a full player. He was cast as the roster’s first, second, and third options on offense, averaging 27.9 points on 50-40-90 shooting while displaying a level of aggression previously lacking in his game.
“The Finn” even surprised himself with his strong performance. “I kind of showed myself that I can do several things on the ground at both ends and it restored my confidence,” he said. “So I feel like I’m ready for the year.”
This has been evident on a number of stunning excursions recently. Markkanen has already had two 31-point blasts against the Pelicans and Grizzlies and has over 28.5 points + rebounds in five of the nine games he has appeared in.
He’s particularly primed for success tonight against a Lakers roster that lacks depth up front, yielding 30 points + rebounds overall to opposing power forwards.
Expect Markkanen to start in Los Angeles tonight and be “Finnish.”
my best bet: Lauri Markkanen Over 28.5 points + rebounds (-105)
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Spread analysis between Jazz and Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers started out as a 1.5-point favorite, but the spread has since moved to 2.5 on most books. Bettors clearly seem to agree that LA has found a new pace in the last two games.
One reason for Los Angeles’ improved game was the bench press from Russell Westbrook, who looked like a shell of his former self in the team’s first three games. The nine-time All-Star’s move to second unit has allowed him to delight in opposing teams’ reserves while putting the ball in his hands to gain a greater chunk of ownership.
Westbrook just never looked comfortable as an offball screener, but he’s rediscovered his mojo as a lead ballhandler and has averaged 15.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game during the Lakers’ two wins.
LA has also received a big boost from the recent acquisition of the Lonnie Walker IV. The fifth-year Warden was deployed to help mitigate the loss of Malik Monk, but has already outperformed his predecessor in most respects.
Walker is exactly the kind of aggressive, hyper-athletic guard the Lakers have needed for years, and the franchise has benefited greatly from his ability to create his own shot. The former Spur has an average of 16.1 points, 3.3. rebounds and 2.3 assists and has a season-high 28 points against the Pelicans.
Another reason bettors should trust the Lakers is the fact that all three of Utah’s losses this season are on the road. That includes a 16-point shellacking to the nuggets in the Mile High City. Like most young – or newly formed – teams, the Jazz shoot better and make more trips to the charity strip on their own home field.
It’s also worth noting that Utah is ATS 7-18 in their last 25 road games and ATS 5-12 in their last 17 games played in just one rest day.
Jazz vs Lakers Over/Under Analysis
The Under was the game for the Jazz and Lakers this season as both teams failed to crack the listed scores in most of their games. Utah has gone down in six of its nine games, while Los Angeles has underperformed oddsmakers in four of its seven games.
The primary reason for the Lakers’ low totals was historically poor outside shooting. LA gets just 26.7% of its shots from beyond the arc, which if the season ended today would be the lowest since the 1998-99 Philadelphia 76ers. Only Matt Ryan and Austin Reaves shoot over 30% of three, and neither player is a high-volume shooter (though the supremely confident Ryan would certainly like to be).
Unfortunately, the Lakers weren’t much better closer to the basket. LA ranks 30th in effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage, two metrics that also account for 2-point attempts and free throw attempts.
Utah was a lot more accurate, but it didn’t exactly catch the league’s attention either. The Jazz ranks only 14th in offensive rating and 10th in points per game and has been held under 110 points four times this season.
Utah faces another tough test tonight against the Lakers, who, for all their many flaws, are an excellent defensive unit. Los Angeles has the second-best defensive rating in the league, holding opposing sides to just 107.4 points per game.
LA has benefited greatly from the addition of Patrick Beverley, who has made life difficult for opposing point guards, and has received excellent rim protection from Anthony Davis, who ranks fifth in blocks in the NBA.
When you add it all up, it’s not surprising that the opening total of 225.5 has barely changed in the last 24 hours.
Jazz vs Lakers betting trend to get to know
The Jazz are 1-6 ATS in their last seven meetings in Los Angeles. Find more NBA betting trends for Jazz vs Lakers.
Jazz vs Lakers game information
|Location:||crypto.com Arena, Los Angeles, CA|
|Date:||Friday 4 November 2022|
|Tip:||10:30 p.m. ET|
|TV:||AT&T SportsNet Rocky Mountains, Spectrum SportsNet|
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