NBA Odds & Predictions

Thursday Night NBA pick: Jazz vs. 76ers Prediction

Jessica Gridiron
Utah Jazz v Philadelphia 76ers
Utah Jazz v Philadelphia 76ers / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

Interconference juggernauts face off in tonight's Thursday Night NBA showdown. The streaking Utah Jazz travel to the healthy home of the Philadelphia 76ers in tonight's prime-time battle. Let's dive into the Jazz vs. 76ers matchup in this forecast and determine the best bet for this Thursday Night NBA prediction.

Thursday Night NBA pick: Jazz vs. 76ers Prediction

This season, Utah is a top-five team in the league based on their dominant defense to go along with their efficient offense. However, even with their 17-7 overall record, the Jazz have only compiled a 13-11 record against the spread (ATS) this season.

Philadelphia started the season out extremely hot but, due to injuries, has come back down to earth. They enter this game with a 14-11 overall record while going 12-13 ATS. The last time these two teams met was in Utah and without their superstar center Joel Embiid, which allowed the Jazz to dominate the 76ers to a 120-85 victory.

Smooth Jazz

Shoot from the perimeter and defend the rim; that's the motto the Jazz live by. All-Star center Rudy Gobert is the rebounding leader thus far and ranks among the best rim defenders in the league. Add that with Utah's ability to make it rain 3's early and often, and you have one of the most lethal combinations in the NBA.

Utah's offense ranks No. 1 overall in effective field goal percentage (eFG%) and top 10 in offensive rebounding and free throw rate. The one area they could improve is their turnover rate (TO%), where they are in the bottom ten overall. They operate at an average pace, so this offense isn't predicated on speed or slowing down opponents. Both Mike Conley and Gobert have eFG% over 62%, while Bogdan Bogdanovic and Royce O'Neale come in slightly lower. Inside or out, the Jazz can make you pay.

On the other side of the ball, Utah comes into this game with a top-three defense. They rank third in defensive eFG% and rank top-10 at defensive rebounds and free throw rate. As with their offensive TO%, they rank bottom five at causing turnovers on defense and will be facing a Philadelphia offense that rarely turns the ball over, to begin with. The Jazz are one of the best two-way teams in the league, and the early season has proved why they are a top 3 team in the NBA.

Healthy and Hungry

After health and safety protocols, Philadelphia is finally healthy and has their leading man Embiid back in the mix. They struggled without Embiid at home, going 1-3 in his absence, but thrived when he was on the floor, going 4-2 at the house. Even with a dominant Utah team coming to town, Embiid is healthy, and his starting bodes well for the 76ers.

Offensively, Philadelphia enters this game with a top 10 offense. They rank 12th in eFG%, rarely turn the ball over (6th), and get to the free-throw line at a top 10 rate in the league. They fail to dominate the offensive glass, where they have a bottom three offensive rebounding percentage. They will need to keep the rebounding disparity slim tonight, considering they will be going up against a top 3 unit in Utah.

On defense, Philadelphia is the middle of the road. Their defensive eFG% ranks 14th overall while they are 18th at causing turnovers and 13th at defensive free throw rate. As on offense, the 76ers struggle on the boards, where they have the 24th ranked defensive rebounding rate. This game may come down to how well these two teams can rebound the ball in tonight's matchup.

Jazz vs. 76ers prediction and pick

As mentioned before, Philadelphia is dominant at home with Embiid in the lineup; they are 4-2 with him in and 1-3 with him sitting. The 76ers issues with rebounding could also be attributed to Embiid's unavailability during stretches this early season. With him back in the lineup, Philadelphia should limit the dominant Utah rebounders and help keep Gobert in check.

Embiid also presents a deep threat that most centers in the league lack, and thus Gobert will likely be cleared from the paint multiple times this game. This line is short after Utah's blowout victory in Salt Lake City, and I believe there is value in taking Philadelphia in this game. Give me the 76ers +3 at the FanDuel Sportsbook in a matchup that I think Philadelphia has a solid chance to win outright.

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