nba
16.01.2023

Jazz @ Timberwolves Game Preview and Pick

The Utah Jazz have had a rough go of the past ten games, finishing the stretch with a 3-7 record. They will now head to Minnesota tonight to take on the Timberwolves at 4:00 PM ET, and we’ll break down the game before going over why I’ll be targeting the point total.

Game Preview

The Jazz have not been the most impressive defensive team for the entire season, but the defensive struggles have been amplified quite a bit over their recent ten-game stretch. In their previous ten games, they managed a defensive efficiency rating of 116.3 in that span, ranked 21st in the league.

Transition and interior defense are arguably the two most significant areas the Jazz have struggled the most on that end of the floor. Entering tonight, they are 28th in fast break points allowed per game, and over their last ten games, they allowed an average of 15.9 fast break points per game.

When the Jazz have had success on that end of the floor, it’s when they can force opponents into half-court sets and run them off the three-point line. Utah allows the least amount of three-pointers made per game in the league this season which will be an interesting factor tonight against a Timberwolves team who has been shooting the lights out recently.

In their last ten games, Minnesota is 6-4 and has the sixth-best effective field goal percentage in that span at 56.5%. The Timberwolves have won two-straight games in which they shot over 52% from the field in both. In that stretch, leading scorer Anthony Edwards is averaging 25.1 points per game, two points higher than his season average.

Much like Utah, the problem for the T-Wolves this season has also been on the defensive end. Minnesota does not possess the same ability to limit opponents from deep, though, as they allow the second-highest opponent three-point percentage in the league. On average, teams are making 13.6 three-point attempts per game this season on them.

Pick for the Game

The point total for this game is currently set at 234, and I’ll be taking the over as my best bet. Utah has been a profitable over team this season, with the over going 26-20 so far, and recently the over has gone 4-0 in their last four road games and 5-1 in their previous six games played.

Minnesota has been shooting it well, but they also get a large portion of their offense from inside the paint, which plays into a weakness of the Jazz. The Timberwolves are 6th in the league in points in the paint per game, while Utah allows the second most paint scoring per game in the NBA.

Utah also has an offensive system that exposes the Minnesota defense, as the Jazz attempt the 4th most three-pointer per game in the league, and as previously mentioned, the Timberwolves have let opponents shoot 37.1% from three this season. The Jazz also won't have to worry about Rudy Gobert down low since he left the last game with an injury. Both teams also rank in the league's top half in pace of play, so between the defensive weaknesses and fast tempo, I like this game to go over.

Recap

  • Over 234

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