The Jazz are suddenly out of tune. Utah has dropped three straight and is sinking fast in the competitive Western Conference as it welcomes in a road-weary Celtics team playing in the second game of a back-to-back. The Jazz had no answer for a blistering Phoenix Suns offense in a 131-111 home loss on Monday. It was Utah’s second straight double-digit setback.
Boston bounced back with an emphatic 118-106 road victory over the Blazers on Tuesday as Jayson Tatum went off for 36 points on 14-of-22 shooting. Tatum is averaging 35 points in the three games since the All-Star break. The Celtics surged early holding Portland to just 24 points in the opening quarter. The Jazz are 3-7 ATS in the first quarter over their last 10 games. Boston starts fast once again.
PREDICTION: Celtics +1.5 first quarter
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Tatum continues to carry the load offensively with Kemba Walker on the sidelines due to a knee injury. Walker will not suit up in Utah as Boston concludes its four-game road trip. The Celtics are 3-0 ATS and 2-1 SU on the trip with the only loss coming at the hands of the first-place Lakers.
The Jazz's three-game losing skid has been mired by poor starts as they have allowed at least 62 first-half points in each game during this stretch. The first-half Over is 6-4 in the last 10 games for both Utah and Boston. Keep an eye on the 3-point line and especially Tatum, who drained a career-high eight triples against Portland. Bombs away.
PREDICTION: Over 107 points first half
TEAM/PLAYER PROP BET
Gordon Hayward struggled badly in his return to Salt Lake City last year scoring just 13 points on 3-of-9 shooting while enduring a relentless stream of boos every time he touched the ball. Hayward spent seven seasons with the Jazz before signing with the Celtics as a free agent in 2017. Despite his all-around talent, he's not been a key cog in the Boston offense with Tatum emerging as an elite scorer. Hayward had 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting in the win over Portland and just 10 points in 40 minutes against the Lakers. He's a good bet to underachieve in a tough environment against his former team.
PREDICTION: Gordon Hayward Under 17.5 Points
Points have come in bunches for Boston in the second game of a back-to-back, especially when its opponent is the more rested team. The Over is 7-4 this season in games where the Celtics have a rest disadvantage.
Utah’s offense is paced by outside shooting. Donovan Mitchell scored 38 points and made 6 of 9 from the 3-point line in the loss against Phoenix. The Jazz lead the NBA in 3-point shooting (38.4 percent) and should get open looks against the tired Boston legs, playing the second game of back-to-back nights at high altitude. Utah is allowing 121.3 points over its last three games. Expect there to be scoring in Salt Lake City.
PREDICTION: Over 220.5
Facing teams on short rest has not helped Utah this season. The Jazz are 5-9-1 ATS with a rest advantage as the books have overadjusted the number in their favor. Boston has been a profitable team on short rest this season and is 4-3 ATS in the second game of a back-to-back.
The Celtics have been arguably the hottest team in the NBA over the past month with eight wins over their last 10 games and a 7-3 ATS record during that stretch. Boston is 14-8 ATS against the West this season and is a good bet to continue their non-conference success.
PREDICTION: Celtics +4.5