Wednesday, 26 April 2017 01:27

Clippers – Jazz

The Utah Jazz will try to get a second away win of the series in Game 5, but they are sweating over the fitness of Gordon Hayward. Clippers on the other hand miss Blake Griffin. The series is now tied at 2-2, with each team winning one on the road and Utah winning Game 4 on Sunday.

The Clippers (4th seed) fell down 0-1 to Utah but recovered with two wins in a row, before losing Game 4 due to being outplayed in the 4th quarter. LA did not look good during this entire series and after losing Blake Griffin with injury in Game 3, only their home court advantage is keeping them favorites in this series – though one might argue that they actually aren`t favorites anymore.

Utah (5th seed) finally got back Rudy Gobert in Game 4 and he was excellent despite having to play limited minutes – posting 15 points (100% shooting) and 13 rebounds in just 14 minutes of action. He should get more playing time in this Game 5, but Utah now has to deal with the potential absence of Hayward. Their All Star guard played just 9 minutes in Game 4 due to food poisoning.

 

The Clippers might get backup Austin Rivers back, but they will be without their 2nd best player, Blake Griffin, who will miss the entire playoffs after getting injured in Game 3.

The Jazz will likely give more minutes to Gobert this time around and will gain a lot from that. Raul Neto also came back for 7 minutes in Game 4 and should be more involved this time around. Hayward (who traveled with the team to LA) is questionable but you would expect him to play, he is getting the best treatment money can buy and he should really shake off that food poisoning in the two days since he got it. Of course, that isn`t something we can say for sure.

Even if Hayward will sit out, or if he`ll play but won`t be effective, Utah still has a good chance to steal this Game 5. They were competitive in this series without Gobert (when LA still had Griffin) and a fair case can be made that Gobert is more important than Hayward – because he can`t be replaced, while Hayward’s production can be regained through guys like Joe Johnson, George Hill or Rodney Hood. Plus, Utah already won Game 4 without Hayward, albeit that was at home.

The Jazz just seemed like the more cohesive team in this series, defending better and playing better as a team, while the Clippers are alive for one reason and one reason only: Chris Paul. Utah managed to anihilate him late in Game 4, so if they can keep that up, there won`t be much left for LA to do.

Betting on this game with Hayward’s status uncertain can be a bit of a risk, but I feel it actually provides value. You have to play the percentages, which clearly indicate that Hayward should play, and there`s also every chance Utah could win even without him.

If Hayward does play, odds on Utah will go down – and since I`m anticipating him to be fit, I will take the bet early. If he won`t play, there will be a better handicap available pre – game on the Jazz, but, as I said, we have to play the percentages.

The Clippers are well known for chocking in the playoffs and with Griffin out, facing a very good team, it looks increasingly likely that this will be another disappointment. I think the Jazz could steal this Game 5, but I will bet on the point spread as opposed to the straight win. All games in this series have been close and the +4 handicap offers a good safety net. My tip is Utah to cover. Prediction: LA Clippers – Utah Jazz 97 – 100.

Pick: Jazz +4
Odds: 1.91 @ Pinnacle
Stake: 8
Possible profit: 7.28
Event date: 26 April