UTAH JAZZ (3-4)
at TORONTO RAPTORS (1-5)
Tip-off: Monday, 7:05 p.m. ET
Line: Utah -2.5, Total: 193
Utah seeks its first road win of the season when it visits a Toronto team trying to stop a three-game losing skid.
The Jazz are 0-4 (SU and ATS) on the road this season, getting outscored by 10.2 PPG and out-shot 46.4% to 42.8% FG by the host teams. The Raptors have also been off the mark, shooting just 40.6% FG for the year (3rd-lowest in NBA), including 39.6% FG at home, where they are only 1-2 (SU and ATS). Despite Utah's road struggles, it has thoroughly enjoyed its trips north of the border, winning six straight times in Toronto (SU and ATS) by an average of 10.5 PPG. Since 2005, the Jazz are 12-1 SU (11-2 ATS) against the Raptors, with the one loss coming in January, a 111-106 home defeat. Utah could be without leading scorer PG Mo Williams (abdominal), who did not play on Saturday and is questionable for Monday's game. Meanwhile, Toronto will most likely be without star PG Kyle Lowry (ankle) and SF Landry Fields (wrist), who both missed Saturday's 93-83 home loss to Philadelphia and are both doubtful to return on Monday.
Which team will earn a much-needed win on Monday night? For the answer, connect to NBA Best Bets for all the Expert picks throughout the entire 2012-13 season. Last year, StatFox Dave won 62% ATS Best Bets in the regular season and was 5-0 ATS in the NBA Finals. Entering Monday, StatFox Scott is on a 4-0 ATS run to improve to 57% ATS (8-6) for the season. StatFox Gary is at 60% ATS Best Bets (3-2), while StatFox Brian is 56% ATS Best Bets (10-8-1). As far as NBA Totals are concerned, StatFox Scott leads the way at 14-5 (74%) on Totals for the season and StatFox Brian is 14-10 (58%).
Utah continues to be carried by C Al Jefferson and PF Paul Millsap, who each had a double-double in Saturday's 94-81 home win over Phoenix. Jefferson had 27 points, 14 rebounds and a +22 rating, while Millsap had 18 points, 13 rebounds and a +24 rating in the win. Jefferson also scored 30.5 PPG (66% FG) in two meetings with Toronto last season, while Millsap torched the Raptors for 31 points and 11 rebounds in the one head-to-head matchup last season. Jazz backup PG Jamaal Tinsley did a great job running the offense as the replacement to Williams, dishing out 14 assists and just two turnovers. He didn't score (0-for-3 FG), but made sure three other Jazz players finished in double-figures (Gordon Hayward 18, Marvin Williams 13 and Derrick Favors 10). Utah shot poorly from downtown though (2-for-14 threes), lowering its season percentage to under 30 percent (29.8%, 6th-worst in NBA).
Toronto struggled without Lowry, who leads the team in points (18.3), rebounds (5.8), assists (6.3) and steals (3.0). PG Jose Calderon did an admirable job running the point against Philly with 11 assists, but also committed four turnovers. The biggest weakness for the Raptors has been their poor rebounding (minus-5.7 RPG, 2nd-worst in NBA), as the 6-foot Lowry is the only player pulling down more than 5.5 boards per game. The big men duo of Andrea Bargnani and Jonas Valanciunas are not only getting dominated down low, but they are also shooting poorly, at 39% FG and 44% FG respectively, which are horrible marks for near 7-footers. They will certainly have their hands full with the physical duo of Jefferson and Millsap. Raptors SG DeMar DeRozan is also shooting poorly during the three-game skid, making just 36% of his shots (16-of-44 FG). In addition to Lowry and Fields, SG Alan Anderson (foot) is also doubtful to play on Monday. He led the Raptors with a +10 rating over 27 minutes in Saturday's defeat.