Golden State Warriors vs. Utah Jazz Online Odds Comparison
The Warriors will advance in five games
By Eric Uribe
As far as playoff semifinals series, you won’t find as many lines as lopsided as this one. The Warriors are overwhelming favorites to advance at -3000. The Jazz are practically a prayer bet at +1500. Both lines are courtesy of BetOnline.
Let’s be up front, Utah is not going to pull off an upset. That’s just insane. Now that we got that out of the way, will they at least play Golden State competitively enough to cover the spread and steal a game or two? Absolutely.
The Dubs have lost one game since March 12, winning 19 of their past 20 games — including a first-round playoff sweep of Portland. Well, that lone loss came to none other than Utah.
With the league’s most stingy defense (96.8 points per game), the Jazz won’t be pushovers in this series. Sure, the Dubs have the league’s highest-scoring offense (115.9), but Utah has proven they can slow them down. In three regular season meetings, Golden State averaged only 103 points a game against the Jazz.
It doesn’t help the Warriors’ cause that head coach Steve Kerr and prized acquisition Kevin Durant are both nursing injuries. Durant will likely play, but after missing two games in the first round with a calf injury, he might have to shake off rust at first.
Kerr’s issues are more serious, as a he’s out indefinitely with a back injury. In other words, interim coach Mike Brown may be this team’s head man from here on out. For all of Golden State’s starpower, losing their leader mid-postseason has to affect them negatively some way.
Aside from injuries, the NBA champion favorites have other vulnerabilities that Utah can exploit. Size is the big one — no pun intended. At 7-foot-1 and 245 pounds, Gobert will tower over everyone else. With Gobert and Draymond Green, this series will feature two of the best defenders in the entire NBA. Just one problem: Gobert has six inches on Green.
The few times Golden State has been exploited the past three postseasons — against Oklahoma City and Cleveland last season — size and length was their undoing. Aside from Gobert (who has the largest wingspan in the association), the Jazz can punch the Warriors in the mouth with 6-foot-10 power forward Derrick Favors and it’s pair of 6-foot-8 wings Gordon Hayward and Rodney Hood.
Utah’s massive size and length advantage isn’t only to bully the Warriors around, though. It’ll also help shorten the Dubs passing lanes, possibly creating turnovers for easy buckets the other way.
The Jazz usually get knocked for their slow pace. It’s a reasonable criticism, however, against the Warriors, it could work to their benefit. Golden State has proven time after time you can’t run and gun with them. High-octane teams like the Blazers and Rockets have tried, but the Warriors always have too much firepower.
Utah’s best bet to win will be during crunch time. Last round, the Trail Blazers proved they could hang with Golden State until the fourth quarter at least. The Jazz will need to do that and more. This is where that size difference comes into the picture. The bully-style play could wear on Golden State late, forcing some critical mistakes.
By using their size and slowing the pace, the Jazz will surely avoid the sweep. We think five games is reasonable here.
Remember that the Warriors had a full week off before this series after a quick sweep. Utah fought the Clippers tooth and nail in seven games to reach it this far. There’s already a massive talent difference, now throw in fatigue? Not good news.
Spreads might be your best bet in this series. We’re confident the Jazz can keep these games close enough to cover double-digit spreads.
Pick: Warriors (-3000)
Series outcome: five games (+160)
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