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Utah Jazz To Defeat Trail Blazers On Christmas Day

December 18, 2018


Can Mitchell rise to the occasion on Christmas Day?

The Utah Jazz and the Portland Trail Blazers round out the schedule in the NBA on Christmas Day at the Vivint Smart Home Arena.

Both of the two teams have been a fixture in the Western Conference playoffs for the past two seasons, although neither have been able to make an impact.

The Jazz won the first round in back-to-back years before being dumped out by the powerhouses of the Golden State Warriors and the Houston Rockets respectively.

Portland didn’t even get that far, losing in the first round in successive campaigns without winning a game against the Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans.

Utah have been inconsistent this term, hovering just below .500 in their campaign. Quin Snyder’s men have played above expectations in the past, but they’ve been underwhelming this term.

Donovan Mitchell has taken the next step forward in his development following his outstanding rookie season, but there has not been enough support for the point guard.

The Trail Blazers are in contention and are trending in the right direction for a place in the post-season. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum remain at the peak of their powers, while Jusuf Nurkic has also played well in his second season with the club.

Both teams have playmakers and it should be an intriguing battle to see who comes out on top.

Get the best odds on Christmas day games with our top sportsbooks below:

Utah Jazz

Under Snyder Utah have been a sound defensive unit. It has been the foundation of their campaigns for the past two seasons when they reached the playoffs. The strategy allowed them to defeat the Los Angeles Clippers in seven matches in the 2016/17 term and then the Oklahoma City Thunder in the following campaign.

Only the presence of the Warriors and the Rockets proved too much for the Jazz to handle, although they played well despite their defeats in both series in the Western Conference Semi-Finals. Therefore it is no surprise to see Utah rank sixth overall in fewest points allowed in the NBA this season, continuing to build a stout unit.

Rudy Gobert is the reigning defensive player of the year and he has maintained his high standards around the net, averaging 8.7 defensive rebounds per game. His blocks are down slightly on last term, but he has improved his efficiency at the other end of the court, improving his field-goal percentage and points per game. Gobert has been the reliable player that Snyder requires in the defensive third. Against Lillard and McCollum, the 26-year-old needs to continue to operate at the peak of his powers to win what the Jazz would hope would be a low-scoring game.

Utah have to win with their efforts on defense as their offense is ranked in the bottom third of the NBA. They’re averaging 106.8 points per game, which is not good enough to win on a consistent basis in the league as it stands at the moment. There’s too much pressure on Mitchell to be the threat with the ball in his hands, with more required from Derrick Favors, Joe Ingles and Ricky Rubio to ease the pressure on Utah’s rising star.

Portland Trail Blazers

Terry Stotts’ men are enjoying another solid campaign in the NBA, although their form on the road is suspect. At the time of writing they’re well below .500 away from the Moda Center, which is preventing them from breaking into the upper echelons of the Western Conference.

Portland won 49 matches last season to win the Northwest Division and clinched the third seed in the post-season. Unfortunately for the Trail Blazers their campaign ended in a similar manner, suffering first-round defeat in the playoffs without winning a game against the Pelicans. They’ve bounced back somewhat from the disappointment, but the real acid test will not come until they’ve qualified for the playoffs.

Lillard has remained at his All-Star level from last season. The 28-year-old is averaging 26.9 points per game and is the focal point of Portland’s offense. He has displayed a great efficiency than the previous campaign from the field and with his three-pointers. Lillard’s accuracy has allowed the Trail Blazers to average 111.6 points per game – good enough for 11th in the NBA at the moment. McCollum has been solid as well on the court, although Stotts may have wanted to have seen an improvement in his play from last term.

Nurkic has continued to be a good contributor in the offense, while he has been impressive in the defensive third, increasing the amount of rebounds gathered. However, the rest of the roster needs to come to the fore to ease the burden on the three players as there’s not enough production from the other two starting spots or the bench for Portland to kick on this term.

Betting Options

Utah should have the edge in the contest due to the Trail Blazers’ record on the road.  The Jazz have been patch on home soil themselves, but given that they will be hosting on Christmas and will have one target to focus their defensive performance around they should come away with the win. Back Snyder’s men at odds of -240  with TopBet to claim a much-needed victory. Take the under on 214.5 points to be be scored at odds of 10/11  with Betway.

It would be a surprise to see any of the players involved in the contest be the leading points’ scorer in the NBA on Christmas Day. The Jazz will be determined to play the game on their terms therefore it should be a low-scoring contest. However, Lillard has been on form throughout the campaign and could spring a surprise in the game at odds of +150  with TopBet to lead the way in the NBA.

Tips Summary

Utah Jazz To Beat Portland Trail Blazers
Tuesday 25th December 2018 22:30 ET (Wednesday 26th December 2018 03:30 GMT)
Odds: -240

Under 214.5 Total Points To Be Scored
Tuesday 25th December 2018 22:30 ET (Wednesday 26th December 2018 03:30 GMT)
Odds: 10/11

Damian Lillard To Be Leading Points’ Scorer NBA Christmas Day
Tuesday 25th December 2018 22:30 ET (Wednesday 26th December 2018 03:30 GMT)
Odds: +150

  • Damian Lillard
  • Donovan Mitchell
  • nba
  • Portland Trail Blazers
  • Utah Jazz

    About the author

    Simon Sinclair
    Simon Sinclair

    Sports Writer

    Simon is a freelance sports writer from the UK. He passionately writes about all kinds of sports, sharing his predictions on everything from the latest cricket matches and golf tournaments to major horse racing events and popular American sports.