San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz Betting Predictions

San Antonio Spurs vs Utah Jazz Regular Season NBA
San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz Betting Predictions

The San Antonio Spurs have clawed their way into the thick of the race for the eighth and ninth seeds in the West. They’ll look to solidify their place in the NBA postseason by facing the Utah Jazz, who are in a playoff seeding race of their own. The Jazz are seeking revenge from last week’s loss to the Spurs but Utah won’t be able to slow down San Antonio’s playoff charge.

San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz Betting Odds

After consecutive first-round exits as low seeds in the Western Conference playoffs, this was probably going to be the year that the San Antonio Spurs were finally going to miss the NBA playoffs. The 1996-07 season was the only time in the last 30 years San Antonio hadn’t made the playoffs, and this was looking like the year the streak would end.

Then the Spurs were invited to the bubble with an outside chance at the postseason. They were only half-game outside the ninth seed and the chance at a potential play-in game for the eighth seed in the playoffs, but they had to jump three teams in order to do it and had a schedule that featured six playoff teams in eight games.

Yet San Antonio has been nothing but entertaining in winning three of its first five games to jump into 10th place just a game back of ninth. The final hurdle in that climb to the postseason is a matchup with the Utah Jazz, who the Spurs beat less than a week ago.

However, the Jazz were not close to full strength in that game. They rested 80 percent of their starting lineup on the front end of an important back-to-back, though they listed injuries for all those who missed the game.

Perhaps giving the reserves more minutes will help improve the contributions from the bench, which have been lacking for the Jazz. The players outside Utah’s first six in the rotation have struggled in the bubble, and that will hurt against a deep team like the Spurs. If nothing else, San Antonio’s bench presence has proven it has three or four players who could have a big game if the situation allows for it. That confidence cannot be a negative even if every Spurs reserve isn’t on every night.

Both teams have done the best in the bubble when the games have opened up and become high-scoring affairs, so I’d expect that to happen Thursday. Friday’s win over Utah was San Antonio’s worst shooting day of the restart, having made 49.5 percent of its shots or better in three of the previous four games. The Spurs are averaging 122.4 points per game and are 3-2 with this almost defense-optional approach.

Utah was really stymied by the Thunder and the Lakers in its losses to those two clubs. The Jazz haven’t shot better than 45.2 percent from the field in any of their five games, but that performance produced 124 points and a win.

Ultimately, the Spurs are playing like a team on a mission at the moment and the Jazz are still trying to find a rhythm to their game. This is the final game of the regular season, so Utah is running out of time to find its flow, but San Antonio’s confidence carries them to a big win that could potentially extend its season.

My Prediction

Spurs

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Josh Walfish is an award-winning journalist who has been covering college and professional sports in the United States. He holds a journalism degree from Northwestern University and his work has appeared in the Miami Herald, Chicago Sun-Times and Providence Journal. He most recently chronicled the UMass hockey teams rise to prominence over the last two years for the local newspaper

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