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Utah Jazz vs. Portland Trail Blazers Gambling & NBA Handicapping Prediction

Utah Jazz vs. Portland Trail Blazers NBA Betting Odds

Who would’ve thought that it would be the Utah Jazz entering this matchup on a hot streak and the Portland Trail Blazers riding their toughest stretch of the 2013-14 NBA season. [ad-4468020]

Utah (19-34) @ Portland (36-18)
Friday, Feb. 21 10:00 PM ET @ Moda Center
Spread: Portland -8.5 
O/U:  202

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Despite being considered one of the biggest tankers this year, the Jazz are 3-1 in their last four, which includes a win over the defending champion Miami Heat. Portland, on the other hand, has lost three in a row for the first time all season, and has dropped seven of its last 10.

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The Jazz will need a big performance to come away with a win on the road, but they have the clear momentum in this matchup, making it intriguing on a leaguewide level.

Utah

Despite riding a hot streak, the Utah Jazz have been awful on offense all season. They’re 28th in the league in points per game (94.4), and they’re just 20th in three-point percentage and 24th in field-goal percentage.
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The goal against Portland will be to make one of two things happen. Utah either needs to pick up its defensive presence, as the Blazers are the No. 1 scoring offense in the NBA, or they need to pick up their offensive game. The Blazers’ defense has been as bad as the Jazz’s offense up to this point, making it a more realistic assumption that their offense will be what keeps them in it despite their troubles thus far.

Utah’s plan of attack must include attacking the rim. This doesn’t necessarily have to be with the bigs, as the Jazz don’t get much offensive production from their post players. Trey Burke, Alec Burks and Gordon Hayward have a good chance of penetrating the middle against Portland’s perimeter defense, which will require quick rotations—something the Blazers haven’t been good at thus far.

Portland

The Trail Blazers need to get back on track, and they need to get back to defeating inferior opponents when they have the chance.

Against Utah, expect the Blazers’ defense to pick it up a notch. They struggled to contain the San Antonio Spurs in their last outing, and they’re just 27th in the league in points allowed; but with the Jazz struggling to put the ball in the basket with any regularity, this game will be a good chance for Portland to hit its defensive stride.

Expect Portland to come out with a ton of energy. The problem is that they’re missing LaMarcus Aldridge from their starting lineup, as well as Meyers Leonard and Joel Freeland from the bench. A lack of bigs could be problematic moving forward, but against the Jazz, expect Portland’s perimeter presence to be the deciding factor.

Portland 107 – Utah 97

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