Having established themselves at the top of the Western Conference, the Phoenix Suns are chasing another win as they look to pull away from the chasing pack.
The Suns have hit form with a three-game winning streak and they are expected to see off a Utah Jazz side that are dropping down the standings.
While the Jazz were the early surprise package of the NBA campaign, they’ve started losing games and have begun to drift back towards the bottom. Can they arrest that slide against Phoenix, or will the Suns continue to rise?
What: NBA Season 2022/23
Where: USA and Canada
When: 18th October 2022 - June 2023
Odds: BOS Celtics +425, MIL Bucks +550, GS Warriors +650, LA Clippers +700, PHX Suns +800
The Utah Jazz have lost three straight games as they head into this meeting with the Suns. They still have a record good enough for a Play-off spot, as they sit sixth in the West with 12 wins from 21 games this season.
Despite sitting sixth, the Jazz are +120 to make the Play-offs this season, while they are -190 to win fewer than 43 games this term. They can still take a lot from their good start having shipped out their main stars and their coach in the summer, with this new look Utah side showing some potential.
It’s been a dream start for rookie coach Will Hardy. He was brought in to develop a long-term project in Utah and while that’s still the case, he already has a great chance to test himself out in this season’s Play-offs.
Only the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks have more wins than the Jazz this term, but the worry is how sustainable this is for them. Utah have struggled on the defensive end, as they’re ranked 22nd in the league. They’ve been boosted by a brilliant scoring record, with the Jazz the league’s third-highest scorers with 117.4 points per game.
Even in their three-game losing streak, the Jazz have posted 118, 116 and 114 points in those defeats. Clearly, they’re exciting even in defeat and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. Over 230 points in their clash with the Suns is priced at -110.
The Suns are closing in on the Eastern Conference sides in the overall NBA standings, having seen the Bucks and Celtics run away with things early on.
The Suns are back on top in the West having been the number one seed last season, while they’re +200 to lead the conference at the end of the regular season this year. The Jazz, on the other hand, sit out at +6600 to top the West.
However, the Suns will need to sort their away form out in order to top the pile, as there’s a worrying trend developing for them on their travels. While the Suns have 12 wins on the board so far, that’s largely due to their league-best 10-1 home record this season.
The Suns have put together their current winning run thanks to a three-game home stand, while they’ve lost five of the seven away matches they’ve had so far. That includes their last trip - a 134-133 defeat at the Utah Jazz.
The Suns head into this game having lost their last three away, so meeting a high-scoring Jazz side could prove to be a problem. While the Suns have a good defensive rating overall, they’ve struggled to win big on the road.
Their two away wins to date came in matches which were quite close according to the spread, while they lost at the Orlando Magic. They were expected to win their last trip to the Jazz and lost, while this one sees the Suns priced at -110 with a -7 handicap against a side that can rack up points.
With the Jazz predicted to struggle this term they’re used to approaching games as the underdogs, with 10 of their 12 wins coming in games in which the spread was against them.
The Jazz also have a 6-2 home record so far, which pitted against the Suns’ struggles on their travels suggests that the hosts can make this a close-run thing. The Jazz head into the encounter with a +7 advantage on the spread, but they can also be backed at +240 on the Moneyline to continue their excellent record at their arena.