Tonight the Jazz play the Clippers in LA without Kawhi, PG and Nic Batum and yet, despite being 19-2 against the spread and recently blowing out the Clips late, Vegas hasn’t moved.
Jazz are currently -4 and let me tell you, they are as close to a sure thing in betting as you can possibly get. In fact, according to Covers, they are historically good ATS. In the last 30 years, the only team that had a streak almost as good as the Jazz were the Atlanta Hawks in 2014 at 19-1 in 20 games before coming to a screeching halt.
So why the hell hasn’t the line moved? Why, does the public money consistently come in heavily for slumping teams like Boston and Milwaukee even when Utah is playing at home?
Vegas has a term for it. They call it, East Coast Betting Bias.
But really, there’s an easier one word explanation. Sleep.
The US has 6 time zones and and 45% of the population lives on the East Coast. Add in the 30% that live in the Central, and that means three quarters of the country live east of the Missouri River.
So when the Kings and the Clippers play at 10:30 EST on a Tuesday night, it’s a lot harder for people to stay up and watch West Coast games. So most casual NBA fans (and gamblers I might add) just don’t get to see the lesser Western Conference teams play on a regular basis. And with a few West Coast teams sucking all the oxygen out of the room (Lakers, Clippers, to a lesser degree the Blazers and Suns), there’s some teams that just fall through the cracks, like the Denver Nuggets last year.
And in this case, the Utah Jazz.
It’s simply incredible what’s happening with the Utah Jazz this year, not just on the court, but from a gambling perspective. Take the February 9th game against the Celtics. Boston visited Utah and the opening line was a shocking Utah -4. This for a team on a massive role, against a slumping Celtics team that got called out for it’s lazy play not long after by Kemba Walker. Eventually the line moved to Utah -5.5 and of course, Utah won by 14. The next game, on February 12, saw the Bucks (without Jrue) come into Salt Lake City … and the opening line was Utah -2. Keep in mind, Utah was already 15-2 ATS at this point and had won 16 of 17 straight up. The line settled at -1, Which means MORE money came in on the Bucks than the Jazz in this game. … and you guessed it. Utah won by 14.
So why do the Jazz keep beating the spread? Not enough East Coast gamblers know enough about them to understand just how well they’re playing, so the lines are way off, to say the least. Or another way to put it is, many gamblers just don’t believe in the Utah Jazz.
They’re just throwing money away at this point.
Tonight, the Utah Jazz visit the L.A. Clippers, in a game in which the opening line was Utah -3.5. Keep in mind the two teams just played Wednesday night (opening line Utah -4) and the Jazz won by 18 points. Paul George is out. Kawhi is listed as “questionable” but almost certainly is out. Batum and Kennard are questionable. And yet, the line stands right now at Utah -5.
Listen, I don’t pretend to be a big money gambler. I just like having something to root for in a game on a Thursday night. But I also really, really like winning. And there’s been no surer bet this year, and in at least 6 years in total, than the Utah Jazz.
If you like winning money, keep your eye on the Jazz. Eventually, Vegas will push the Jazz lines to the point that they can win handily and still not cover. But until then?
They are still money in the bank.
Check out the latest episode of This League where I break this down in greater detail, and we talk about A.D.’s injury, Dame as an MVP candidate, and a host of other subjects.