nba
29.02.2024

Utah Jazz @ Orlando Magic Game Preview and Picks: A Prop Play for Each Team

Winning in general, has not come easy to the Utah Jazz this season, but winning on the road has been especially difficult. Following their loss to Atlanta at the beginning of the week, the Jazz have dropped four consecutive road games, and they are back on the road tonight to play the Orlando Magic.

These teams met at the very beginning of the season, and the Magic walked away with a two-point win. Orlando still has advantages on both ends of the floor tonight, which is why I’ll be targeting two different prop markets for the game.

Game Preview

There are rough nights on offense, and then there is scoring 97 points against a Hawks team that is 22nd in defensive efficiency over the past ten games. That was the case for Utah on Tuesday night, as they would shoot 37% from the field and 29% from three, which is nowhere near good enough to stay in a game, especially when your defense allows 124 points.

Even with their 128-point performance against the Spurs over the weekend, the Jazz have come out of the All-Star break in a bit of a shooting slump. Since the break, Utah ranks 22nd in effective field goal percentage (51%) and 21st in true shooting percentage (55.5%).

To make matters worse for the Utah offense, they are a team that relies heavily on the three, as they rank 10th in percentage of points that are threes this season. The problem is that over their last ten games, the Jazz rank 17th in three-point percentage (36.1%), and improving on that tonight will be no walk in the park since the Magic rank 10th in opponent three-point percentage (35.8%) and 2nd in threes allowed per game (11.2) in that same ten game span.

Orlando is on a five-game run in which they haven’t allowed more than 109 points, ranking them 9th in points per 100 possessions allowed in non-garbage time over the past two weeks, per Cleaning the Glass. While most teams have found it easy to defend the Brooklyn Nets, the Magic put on a defensive show in their most recent win, holding Brooklyn to 81 points on 39% shooting from the field and 26% three. Not to mention, the Magic also forced 20 turnovers in the win.

Orlando Magic Prop Pick

Offense is the one area where the Magic will likely need to improve before truly taking the next step as a team, but until then, they should at least be able to find some success against Utah’s defense. Specifically, opponents have been able to expose Utah’s perimeter defense, which is why I’ll be taking Jalen Suggs to go over 1.5 threes made, a number widely available across most sportsbooks, including Hard Rock Sportsbook.

Suggs may not be known as a three-point sniper, but he has cleared this number in nine of his last 15 games, which includes five of his last seven. While he only attempted two threes in Orlando’s blowout win over the Nets, I think he’ll be able to walk into a good number of clean looks from beyond the arc since Utah ranks 29th in both opponent three-point percentage (44.4%) and three-pointers allowed per game (15.9) over the last ten games.

According to BettingPros, over their last 15 games, the Jazz have allowed an average of 3.8 made threes per game to opposing guards. With Suggs shooting 40.7% from beyond the arc over his last ten games, he shouldn’t have many problems knocking down open looks, especially if Paolo Banchero can return to the lineup and open more space on the floor.

Utah Jazz Prop Pick

As I’ve mentioned, the Magic are the opposite of the Jazz when it comes to defense, and that includes rebounding. Orlando has allowed the fewest rebounds per game to opponents over the last ten games (36.4), so as a result, guys like Lauri Markkanen will likely see a dip in his rebounding production tonight.

Markkanen’s rebounding total is currently set at 8.5, and I think the under is the play to make here. The Finnish big man has finished nine of his last 15 games with eight rebounds or less, and he has not reached the eight-rebound mark in his previous two meetings with the Magic. Markkanen was essentially a non-factor on the boards against a Hawks team that ranks near the bottom of the league in most rebounding metrics, so I struggle to see how he’ll perform better against a scrappy Orlando team.

Recap

  • Jalen Suggs Over 1.5 Threes (-130) on DraftKings

  • Lauri Markkanen Under 8.5 Rebounds (-129) on BetRivers

*odds subject to change

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