Bucks look for rare win in Utah Tuesday
MILWAUKEE BUCKS (2-2)
at UTAH JAZZ (2-3)
Tip-off: Tuesday, 9:05 p.m. ET
Line: Even, Total: 184.5
Utah looks to retain its recent dominance over Milwaukee on Tuesday by beating the Bucks for a 10th straight time (SU and ATS) at home.
The Jazz have created this streak with some great teams, but they just don’t have the horses to consistently beat quality NBA clubs like Milwaukee. The Bucks should be playoff-bound this year with the additions of Stephen Jackson (18.5 PPG with Charlotte last season) and Mike Dunleavy (40.2%, 3-pt FG last year) to help out a subpar offense. But Milwaukee needs no help on the defensive end as Scott Skiles’ team finished third in the NBA in scoring defense (92.7 PPG) and sixth in FG Pct. defense (44.7% FG) last season. They have been even stingier so far this year with a league-leading 39.8% FG defense and 90.8 PPG allowed (7th in NBA). Also, the Bucks are 9-0 ATS in the past three seasons when playing teams shooting 43% or less from the floor. MILWAUKEE is the pick to finally win in Utah.
The FoxSheets have a another trend steering bettors away from the Jazz:
Play Against - Home underdogs (UTAH) - after failing to cover 3 of their last 4 against the spread, playing on back-to-back days. (52-22 over the last 5 seasons.) (70.3%, +27.8 units. Rating = 2*).
The Bucks were in a great position to win at Denver on Monday, leading by six points heading into the fourth quarter. But they shot a woeful 5-of-22 from the floor in the final 12 minutes and lost 91-86. Brandon Jennings entered the contest with 22.7 PPG and 5.3 APG, but he finished with just 12 points, three assists and six turnovers in the loss to the Nuggets. Jennings also had problems with Utah’s defense last year, with six points, four assists and three turnovers in the last meeting against them in December 2010. Carlos Delfino has played well in his first two games back from a wrist injury, scoring 14.5 PPG on 50% FG, including 6-of-11 from downtown. Andrew Bogut is also having a strong season, averaging a double-double (14.3 PPG, 10.0 RPG) with 1.8 BPG. This offense will be much more potent once the two newcomers find their rhythm. Jackson is shooting 33% FG (21% threes) and Dunleavy is even worse at 32% FG, but Utah is allowing an NBA-high 48.7% FG while surrendering 101.2 PPG (2nd-most in league).
The Jazz have played much better at home (2-0 SU, 1-1 ATS) than on the road, where they were outscored by 19.0 PPG in three losses (SU and ATS). They opened their three-game homestand Monday with a 94-90 win over New Orleans as Al Jefferson (16.5 PPG) poured in 22 points on 11-of-18 shooting. It was Jefferson’s second straight 20-point effort since returning from an ankle injury. Devin Harris (12.2 PPG), Paul Millsap (11.8 PPG) and Josh Howard (11.4 PPG) are the other three Utah players averaging double-figure scoring. But the Jazz have had a difficult time shooting the basketball with team marks of 42% FG, and 28% three-pointers, both ranking in the lower third of the league. They don’t expect to get many good looks from Milwaukee’s blanketing defense allowing a combined 37.5% FG to its past two opponents.