The line in this series is -500 Lakers +350 Jazz. I don’t like to bet 5-1 favorites, and won’t, but I think this line is actually too low. What are the odds of Kobe Bryant or Pau Gasol suffering a major injury? Those are the true odds for the Jazz to win this series.
Carlos Boozer had a dream match-up in the last series. K-Mart was too small to bother him, and too crippled to play him. Nene was too slow to guard him out on the floor.
He has a nightmare match-up in this series. What bothers Boozer is length, and the Lakers have that in spades. He will struggle to get his shot off against Bynum, Gasol and Odom.
Deron Williams also has a tough road. He will do fine initially against Derek Fisher, but if the series stays close, he will find himself guarded by Kobe. When that happens, the Jazz will have very few offensive options. As always, they are offensively challenged at off-guard and small forward, providing the Lakers plenty of places to hide Fisher.
Milsap of course will have the same problems as Boozer. He also may get a little taste of Ron Artest, who is just as big as he is, if not bigger.
On the other side of the ball, the problems just get worse. The only player on the court who can defend Pau Gasol is Kobe Bryant. The Jazz’s best shot is if Kobe continues to freeze Gasol out.
Additionally, the Jazz will struggle to keep the Lakers front line from dominating the offensive boards. Even if Bynum can’t play, the length of Gasol and Odom will tell. Boozer and Milsap will struggle with foul trouble, and there’s no one behind them.
The Lakers went 3-1 against the Jazz in the regular season, and beat them by an average of close to 20 points in every victory. They are built to shut down the Jazz, and they will. Jazz +8 in the first game? Not for me. No bet.