Hawks Take on Jazz

The Utah Jazz have a five-game road losing streak and are just 5-9 away from home. Their four-game Eastern Conference road swing, though, may be just what they need to snap that slide.

The Jazz will try to win its first road game this month on Monday when they look for their 10th straight win against the Atlanta Hawks.

Oddsmakers from SBG Global have made Utah –4.5 point spread favorites (NBA Odds) for today’s game, the over/under has been set at 191.5 total points (Matchup). Our public betting information shows that 93% of bets for this game have been placed on Utah –4.5 (View NBA Bet Percentages).

Despite winning the Northwest Division last season, Utah (14-11) lost nine of its last 11 road games, and that trend has carried over into 2007-08. The Jazz won three of their first four away from EnergySolutions Arena, but have lost eight of their last 10 outside Utah.

They had lost six straight overall before beating Seattle 96-75 at home on Saturday, limiting the SuperSonics to nine fourth-quarter points.

"It's been a long time,'' said forward Carlos Boozer, who had team highs of 21 points and 16 rebounds. "It was good for us. Me and (Deron Williams) were talking with each other (on the bench) and just said, 'Thank God we got a win.' Thank God we got off that slide."

While his team has been struggling, Boozer has been steady. The All-Star averaged 24.3 points and 11.8 rebounds during the Jazz's six-game skid, nearly identical to his season averages of 24.9 ppg and 11.7 rpg.

The main problem for Utah during its road losing streak has been defense. The Jazz give up 99.5 points on average, but allowed 109.6 per game in their last five losses away from home.

Their level of competition won't be quite as tough on their four-game trip against Southeast Division opponents. Those teams have combined records of 40-51, while the Western Conference opponents Utah lost to on the road are a combined 72-47.

The Jazz have been particularly dominant against the Hawks in recent years. They've won nine in a row in the series - including four in Atlanta - by an average of 14.4 points.

Atlanta (11-12) avoided a three-game losing streak with a 93-84 victory over Charlotte on Saturday. Joe Johnson scored 31 points for the Hawks, who have not beaten the Jazz since a 105-98 victory Oct. 31, 2002.

"Our starters were unbelievable (against the Bobcats)," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "...To hold (them) to 84 points, and play the way we did offensively, so unselfish, that was fantastic."

Being one game below .500 six weeks into the season may not seem like much, but it represents progress for Atlanta. The Hawks have reached 11 wins at an earlier date than any season since their last playoff appearance in 1998-99.

Improving their defensive effort has been a key to the Hawks' relatively good start. After allowing 98.4 points per game last season, Atlanta has yielded just 93.6 in 2007-08, making them one of the five stingiest teams in the league.

Their defense has been especially strong in their last six games, giving up only 88.2 points per game in winning four of them. The Hawks also have limited opponents to 40.9 percent shooting from the field in that stretch.

Atlanta is 7-6 at Philips Arena and 5-3 against Western Conference opponents.

By: Marc Young - theSpread.com - Email Us

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