Last Updated: 2018-12-06
Rarely who could expect to see the Houston Rockets (11-12; 9-14 ATS) and the Utah Jazz (12-13; 12-13 ATS) under 50.0% in December, but both these teams are really struggling to perform on the highest level. The Rockets have won just two of their last seven games and only one of their previous five contests on the road, while the Jazz has dropped six of its last ten games and is 3-6 at home this season. This will be their second duel on the season, and the Jazz overcame the Rockets 100-89 at Toyota Center in Week 2.
The Rockets gave up of Carmelo Anthony, while Brandon Knight is still recovering from a knee injury, but the talented playmaker went through full-team practice yesterday, so we can expect him on the floor very soon. On the other side, the Jazz doesn’t have any serious injury worries.
Utah opened as a 2-point favorite here with the total at 216.5 points and the Rockets at +105 money line odds. As I’ve already mentioned, the Jazz has been playing poorly at home so far, winning just three of its nine games along with a 4-5 ATS record. On the other side, the Rockets are 6-7 straight up and 5-8 ATS in 13 games on the road this season, while they are just 2-6 straight up and ATS in their last eight outings away from home. The over is 16-9 in Utah’s 25 games overall, and it is 14-9 in Houston’s 23 games this season.
What’s at Stake?
We’ve said it many times, but it’s a home truth – every game counts in the Western Conference, and these two teams have already dropped a lot this term. With only Phoenix Suns out of a playoff picture, the stake is huge for every other team on the west coast whenever they meet a conference rival. The Jazz leads the series 1-0, so the Rockets need to think about that, too.
The Rockets are coming off a 103-91 defeat at Minnesota where they’ve scored just 9 points in the fourth quarter this past Monday. They had a couple of days to recover and prepare themselves for a much better performance at Utah, while the Rockets will visit Dallas after the clash with Jazz, so we can say they are on a tough schedule. On the other side, the Jazz has humiliated the Spurs 139-105 at home last time out, and Utah will travel to San Antonio after the matchup with Houston.
The first game between the Rockets and the Jazz saw James Harden’s hamstring injury and Donovan Mitchell’s 38 points on 14-of-25 shooting from the field. Harden scored 29 points before leaving the game in the fourth quarter, while the Rockets had to play without Chris Paul who was serving his suspension. Houston had just 40.2% from the field, hitting 11 treys out of 40 attempts, while the Jazz dropped 10 out of 29 shots from deep, recording 43.6% from the field.
The Jazz completely dominated the Rockets on the glass, grabbing 16 boards more (62-46), while scoring 12 points in the paint more than the Rockets (48-36). Houston made just 16 assists, having a lot of problems with Utah’s perimeter defense, whilst Clint Capela lost the battle in the paint with Rudy Gobert. These two guys will match up each other again, and Capela is averaging 18.1 points, 11.8 rebounds, and 2.2 blocks per game, while Gobert is tallying 15.5 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 2.1 blocks per contest this term.
The Rockets are 27th in the league in rebounds per game (41.0), and they will have to do a much better job if they want to beat the Jazz on the road. Utah is 23rd with 42.8 rebounds per night, so Houston has a chance to win even with a lousy shooting, and Rockets are averaging 44.9% from the field (21st in the league) and 34.2% from beyond the arc (23rd) while taking the most three-point attempts per game in the league (42.3). We can expect more of the same tonight, and the Jazz is allowing its opponents to hit 36.3% from deep, while both teams are among the worst in the league when it comes to opponents’ field-goal percentage.
The Rockets are allowing 113.3 points per 100 possessions which rank their defense 25th in the league, while Utah’s defensive rating is 12th-best with 108.5 points allowed per 100 possessions. The Rockets’ pace is the second-slowest in the NBA with just 95.8 possessions per 48 minutes, whilst Utah is averaging 99.3 possessions per 48 minutes (21st).
This is a tough matchup to nail the winner, as both teams are struggling with consistency. You never know what to expect from the Jazz, while you know Houston will shot a bunch of treys and play a lot of pick and rolls. Taking James Harden and Donovan Mitchell to surpass their lines on the total points should be a nice wager and arguably a better solution than betting on the winner.
From the betting trends point of view, the Rockets should be favorites here, as they are 8-2 straight up and 7-3 ATS in the last ten meetings with the Jazz, while they are 4-0 straight up and ATS in the last four H2H duels at Utah. The last three games in Salt Lake City have been finished in the under, while the over is 8-5 in the previous 13 H2H meetings overall. If the Rockets find their shooting rhythm, we could easily see a high-scoring affair, but the chalk is a tricky one at 216.5 points which makes this wager even more difficult. Just one of the previous seven duels between these two foes had more than 216 points on the scoreboard, but I’ll take the over, hoping that the Rockets will bounce back after that terrible fourth quarter at Minnesota.
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