NBA Betting Preview: Phoenix Suns vs. Utah Jazz – Thursday, Dec. 31, 2020

The Phoenix Suns wrap up 2020 with a New Year’s Eve night contest against the host Utah Jazz.

The Suns had high hopes for the 2020-21 season after running the table in the Orlando bubble and just missing out on the 2019-20 playoffs. The addition of Chris Paul in the offseason added a seasoned component, and they’re off to a 3-1 start.

Unlike the Suns, the Jazz were on a different trajectory at the end of last season, struggling in Orlando and eventually blowing a 3-1 series lead and losing to the Nuggets in the first round of the playoffs. They didn’t make a lot of offseason moves but did manage to bring back 6-10 forward Derrick Favors.

Phoenix Suns Betting Preview: Paul Paying Dividends

It’s still early, just four games into a 72-game campaign, but the Suns are looking like the team they had hoped to be. Phoenix failed to win in the preseason, losing twice each to the Jazz and the Lakers, but have bounced back when the games began to count in the standings.

With the experienced Paul at point guard, the ball is being distributed to multiple players, with eight scoring in double figures. Guard Devin Booker is still the leading scorer, but his 19 points a game is far below the 26.6 he averaged in 2019-20.

Paul is averaging 9.5 assists a game, and 6-11 center Deandre Ayton is cleaning up on the boards with 11.8 rebounds a game. Phoenix leads the league in scoring defense, allowing 98.5 points a game while scoring at a 109 point clip.

Utah Jazz Betting Preview: Looking Ahead, Not Behind

Utah has a balanced offensive attack, with five players averaging over 15 points a game. The Jazz are led by a trio of guards, Donovan Mitchell, Mike Conley and Jordan Clarkson.

Center Rudy Gobert is second in the league in rebounds per game with 14.3 and leads the NBA in shooting percentage, making 75% of his shots.

Head coach Quin Snyder appears to have the team playing like they did before the pause in the 2019-20 season. With stellar guard play and the inside presence of Gobert, the Jazz can make life difficult for most of their opponents.

One weakness has been the three-point shooting of Mitchell, who has made less than 28% of his attempts. As a team, the Jazz are shooting 35% from behind the arc, placing them 18th in the league, a little low for a team dominated by guard scoring.

Jazz vs. Suns Betting Lines and Odds list the home-standing Jazz as four-point favorites, with the over/under at 221 points. On the moneyline, Utah is at -170 with Phoenix at +145.

The top sportsbook also offers a number of proposition bets to expand the traditional wagering options.

Phoenix is 3-1 against the spread but 0-4 against the over/under. The Jazz have a 1-2 record against the spread and are 1-2 on the over/under.

Free Betting Pick

The Jazz swept the Suns in the preseason, but those were in the first two games. Gobert will pose problems for Phoenix and will put pressure on Ayton inside the paint. This is a tough matchup for the Suns, giving the Jazz the advantage.

Look for Utah to pressure the guard play of Phoenix and make it difficult for the Suns defense. Paul will help, but the Suns just don’t have enough scoring to win the game.

Spooky Express Free Pick: Utah -4

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