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NBA: Utah crashes into matchup with Lakers

Written by:
Carrie Stroup
Published on:
Apr/18/2009

The Utah Jazz have no-one but themselves to blame for their precarious postseason positioning.

The Jazz faded down the stretch, eventually winding up in the Western Conference's #8 spot. Since going 15-1 in a torrid stretch from February 2nd through March 10th, Utah sputtered to a 7-11 finish.

Oddsmakers don't give the Jazz much of a chance in their Best-of-7 series versus the Lakers, making bettors lay $2000 for every $100 they'd like to win by backing Los Angeles.

If there was any spot to avoid in all of this season's playoff foray, that was it. The #2 through #7 seeds are going to be enjoying competitive and balanced playoff basketball. The Jazz meanwhile, get a series of dates with the Lakers, a team that wrapped up the top seed weeks ago and bettered all other West clubs' records by double-digit wins.

Don't tell the Jazz that they have no chance however, as if you ask, they'll tell you that they just need to steal one game in Los Angeles to have a chance in this series. Utah's home court advantage has been one of the most superior in all of the NBA. In '08-09, Utah was 33-8 at home.

Furthermore, Jazz players might also point out that they were the victim of unfair scheduling, going a horrid 3-18 in the second of back-to-back games. Of course, in the playoffs there are no such scenarios, meaning Utah should be fully rested for each encounter.

Los Angeles spent the last week or so attempting to work Andrew Bynum back into the rotation, figuring his contribution would be enough to take this team over the top. The Lakers of course, finished one step short of their goals last season, losing to the Celtics in the Finals, four games to two. They failed to even cover a pointspread in that series, so the bitter playoff aftertaste still in their mouths is one they'd like to be rid of quickly.

L.A. was 16-2 when rested two or more days, so like Utah, the playoff schedule figures to be of benefit.

Prediction: LA Lakers in six games

Now here's a look at the top StatFox team playoff trends for both clubs:

#1 LOS ANGELES LAKERS

* The LA LAKERS are just 7-22 SU & 12-16-1 ATS in their L29 games as a playoff underdog.

* Dating back to '01, the LA LAKERS are 15-5 SU & 13-6-1 ATS as road chalk in the postseason.

* Since going 14-25-2 ATS at home from '99-'03 in the playoffs, the LA LAKERS are 23-4 SU & 14-12-1 ATS.

 

#8 UTAH JAZZ

* Over the last decade, UTAH is just 6-28 SU & 13-21 ATS as an underdog in the postseason.

* UTAH is 8-3 SU & ATS in its L11 first round playoff games.

* UTAH has been a big UNDER team on the road in the postseason, 29-15 in its L44.

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Carrie Stroup, Gambling911.com Senior Reporter

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