Battle of the Injured Teams: Betting Analysis on the Jazz vs. Lakers

January 11, 2019 | insideinjuries | No Comments

The Lakers and the Jazz face off tonight in Salt Lake City, but both teams are dealing with serious injury concerns. The game could turn into a battle of the benches as both teams are missing major play-makers. The Lakers are ranked No. 8 and the Jazz are right behind at No. 9, but you may not have guessed that considering the lines in Vegas are favoring the Jazz by -8.

Let’s start with the Lakers. First, and most importantly, they will be without LeBron James again tonight as he continues to recover from a left groin strain. While he’s continuing to ramp up his practice, he still isn’t expected to return for at least another week or so. James leads the team in points, rebounds, and assists, making his absence arguably the most significant of any player on any team in the NBA. The Lakers are also missing Rajon Rondo, one of the team’s best playmakers, since he underwent surgery on his right hand in late December.

Aside from missing their two veterans, the Lakers two best young guys are currently dealing with injuries. Kyle Kuzma just returned from a recent back injury and is still at a High Injury Risk. The good news is that he has returned to an Above Average Health Performance Factor (our metric for measuring player performance). Kuzma is the second best scorer for the Lakers behind LeBron, so having him healthy is crucial to their success. Brandon Ingram is also a High Injury Risk. He is top 5 for the team in both scoring and assists, but his recent injury history could affect him in tonight’s game.

If you think the Lakers are in a bad spot, just wait until you hear about the Jazz’s injury concerns. Each of the Jazz’s three point guards are out with an injury: Ricky Rubio is out with a right hamstring injury, Dante Exum is out with a left ankle sprain, and Raul Neto is out with a groin strain. And to make matters even worse, the rookie who had some experience at PG in the summer league, Grayson Allen, is also out with an ankle injury. And this is all just related to one position. The Jazz are also expected to be without Thabo Sefolosha tonight as he recovers from a right hamstring injury.

Being without any viable point guards is bad enough, but it’s important to also note that being without Ricky Rubio is a pretty devastating blow to the Jazz for other reasons. He leads the team in assists and is No. 3 in PPG.

A bit of good news for the Jazz is that Donovan Mitchell, arguably their best player, is pretty healthy. He has an Elevated Injury Risk, but his Health Performance Factor is Peak. Other major play-makers for the Jazz are Joe Ingles and Rudy Gobert, both of which are currently healthy and have a Peak HPF.

Overall, each team’s Injury Risk is High. The Jazz do have the better injury risk at 27% but the Lakers are close behind with 29%. Alternatively, the Lakers actually have an overall Above Average HPF (69%), while the Jazz’s HPF is Below Average (63%). The Lakers’ top scorers are slightly healthier than the top scorers for the Jazz, but the Jazz’s rebounding core should perform much better than the Laker’s top rebounders. Both team’s top 5 play-makers (players with most assists), are extremely banged up and have a Below Average HPF. While the lines in Vegas are heavily favoring the Jazz, we aren’t so sure. The Jazz do have their top-playmaker healthy, but they are missing all three point guards. The Laker’s being without LeBron James is huge, but they have still been able to win 4 of the last 10 games without him and have kept other match-ups close. Their young stars are recovering from injuries, but they have returned to an Above Average HPF. According to the Inside Injuries metrics, we think the Jazz will still win, but won’t be able to cover the -8 point spread.

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