|NBA Playoffs Betting Preview - LA Lakers at Utah Jazz (Round 1, Game 3).
Oddsmakers have installed L.A. as a 3-point road favorite, but Utah boasts a significant home court advantage in tonight's Game 3 match-up.
In the series opener, the Lakers were near perfect in building a 62-40 halftime lead as 12.5-point home favorites.
It would be expected Utah would show professional pride and at least make a run or two in the last 24 minutes and they did, before falling 113-100.
After the game, the Zen Master expressed his dissatisfaction with his team's effort in the second half, being outscored 60-51, in terms even the common man would understand, "It wasn't a coach's delight, that's for sure," Jackson said.
The players took their coach's words to heart in the next contest, for 12 minutes. Los Angeles played like the best team in basketball.
The Lakers converted on 85.7 percent of shots launched (18 of 21) and immediately built 41-29 first quarter lead as six different gold-clad players scored.
From that point forward, the Lakers went from looking like NBA champions to like many who go out to eat and attend parties in La-La Land, a bit fake.
Los Angeles was actually outscored by two points in the final three quarters and needed a late pulse, after blowing all but three points to the Jazz as 12.5-point favorites in 119-109 victory.
Maybe a hostile crowd will stimulate the Lakers who were 29-12 and 22-18-1 ATS on the road.
Possibly it will be more of challenge to face a desperate team, who knows the series is over for all practical purposes unless they win on the home court, where they were 33-8 and 22-19 ATS and are 28-13 ATS in home games when playing against a team with a winning record over the last two seasons.
Los Angeles enters tonight's game as 2.5-point favorites and the total is at a series high of 214 at Sportsbook.com.
Bryant and his mates continue to bludgeon meager defensive teams and are 15-3 ATS in road games versus clubs that allow 46 percent or worse shooting percentage in the second half of the year over the last two seasons.
When L.A. has the offense cranking, they are 14-3 OVER off two or more consecutive home wins this year.
Utah has to find a way to contain the Lakers and it won't be easy having 4-14 spread record after a road game where both teams score 100 or more points.
The Jazz will likely have to play better defense in the regard of creating turnovers that can lead to easy buckets to defeat L.A. and they are 15-4 OVER after allowing 110 points or more.
TNT will have Game 3 of the series at 10:35 Eastern, with the Jazz 5-3 and 4-3-1 ATS hosting the Lakers. It will be intriguing to see if Jackson can have his team compete for all 48 minutes, no matter the score.
Pick: Under 214 (-110)
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