- The New Orleans Pelicans and Utah Jazz matchup on January 19, 2021
- Lonzo Ball and Joe Ingles are out, while Derrick Favors is day-to-day
- Get the latest odds, betting preview and a pick below
The Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans meet on January 19, 2021. Utah is aiming for a sixth straight win. New Orleans beat the Kings on Sunday to end a five-game losing streak.
This is the first matchup between the two teams this season – Utah went 3-1 in the season series last year, with the Pels’ lone win coming in an overtime thriller on the back of a 49-point performance from Brandon Ingram.
New Orleans is still without Lonzo Ball for this game. Joe Ingles is sidelined for the Jazz and, at the time of writing, it’s unclear whether backup center Derrick Favors will be available – Favors is listed as probable to face his former team.
New Orleans Pelicans vs Utah Jazz Odds
|New Orleans Pelicans||+6 (-108)||+205||Ov 217.5 (-110)|
|Utah Jazz||-6 (-112)||-250||Un 217.5 (-110)|
Odds taken on Jan 18 from FanDuel.
Zion Breaks Out
Zion Williamson hasn’t been a human highlight reel quite like he was last season. The first overall pick was a viral sensation once again on Sunday as the Pels bested the Kings. Williamson scored 31 on 13-for-15 from the field. Sacramento had no answer to him.
Utah is a different challenge, of course. Former Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert will meet Zion in the paint. Gobert is one of the best rim protectors in the game. What’s interesting from Williamson’s perspective, though, is how they choose to guard him. Bojan Bogdanovic is a good defender, but he’s not got the athleticism to live with Zion. Other teams have put their center on Zion, but Gobert’s attention will be taken by Steven Adams.
The Jazz lead the league in rebounds per game. They might have met their match in New Orleans, however. The Pels are number one in offensive rebounding rate – earning those extra possessions is crucial for the Pelicans given their struggles in the halfcourt (24th in the NBA in points per 100 halfcourt possessions).
Williamson and Adams are ferocious offensive rebounders. Both rank in the top 10 in offensive rebounding rate. Gobert is third in the league in defensive rebounding rate. The battle of the boards will go a long way to deciding this game.
Jazz Shooting Lights Out
Utah is shooting just under 40% from three as a team. The backcourt triumvirate of Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson are making over nine combined threes per game. That’s a worrying sign for the Pelicans, who are without one of their best perimeter defenders in Lonzo Ball and allow more three-point attempts than any other team in the NBA.
New Orleans’ opponents take over 45% of their shots from behind the arc. Over 12% of shots are corner threes. The length of Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart and the defensive hustle of Ball and Eric Bledsoe has kept shooters to 37.8% from deep, but the Pels’ willingness to give up threes is a concern against a Jazz roster with plenty of shooting.
It’s unlikely the Pelicans change their defensive scheme and run shooters off the line. Mitchell, Clarkson, Conley and others will get plenty of three-point looks. If they continue to shoot the ball as they have so far this season, it could be a difficult night for Stan Van Gundy’s team.
The Pelicans’ offense looked like it would be problematic on paper. That theory has become reality. They are among the worst teams in the league in the total number of three-point attempts and three-point percentage. Williamson is unlikely to have the same success he enjoyed against the Kings, too. While they have moved away from playing Favors and Gobert together, they could run some two-big lineups to combat the brutality of Zion and Adams.
New Orleans needs a cold shooting night from Utah to win this game. That’s very much possible, but recent performances suggest it’s unlikely. Even if one or two of their shooters are missing good looks, the Jazz move the ball well enough, and have enough shooters, to score freely.
The Jazz’s moneyline might be too short for some. They’re good value to cover anywhere up to -6 or -7.
Pick: Utah Jazz moneyline (-205)
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