I got back on track with a win last night, as the Minnesota Timberwolves went into Los Angeles and took down the Clippers. My pick was based on an early -5 line and Minny only won by 6, so hopefully you hopped on that bet with me early in the day. The win lifted me to a 10-8 NBA picks record for the year and gives me a chance to start a winning streak.
The pickings are slim on a short four-game slate on Thursday night, but I still think there’s some value to be had. For me, that comes in Utah, where the Jazz prepare to host the Houston Rockets.
Both of these teams are in terrific form, as the Rockets storm in with a 7-game winning streak and Utah has been red hot, themselves, winning 7 of their last 10. Utah got smoked by the Rockets in their first meeting this year, but that game was in Houston and it stands to reason that the Jazz will be out for some blood in this one.
Should you take the Rockets to cover, side with Utah at home or attack the Total? Let’s dig deeper to find out:
Houston Rockets (-6) @ Utah Jazz (+6) Total: 209
You could probably provide a strong argument for each betting angle in this matchup. The Rockets look like one of the best teams in the NBA right now and should be confident coming into tonight. They did destroy the Jazz last time (James Harden scored 56 points!) and Utah was perfectly healthy, too.
Houston just doesn’t lose much these days, either, while they’ve also been especially dialed in on the road. The Rockets are 18-4 on the year and a staggering 10-1 outside of Houston. They’ve been nasty against the spread, as well, as they enter tonight’s tilt with a solid 13-9 ATS record and are also 7-2 against the spread when favored on the road.
Utah isn’t a slouch against the spread, either. The Jazz are even better overall (15-10) ATS and when picked as the home underdogs, they’ve gone 4-1. I just don’t see much wiggle room here, so picking this one ATS with a pretty loose line feels dicey.
If I had to pick a side, however, I’d actually favor the Jazz. Rudy Gobert is back and healthy and rookie shooting guard Donovan Mitchell has been in flames. Rodney Hood could be back tonight, too, but even if he isn’t, the Jazz have been getting sensational play out of bench scorer, Alec Burks.
Houston runs with the second fastest pace in the league and boasts the NBA’s 2nd most efficient offense, but Utah has now joined the top-10 ranks in that department, as well. The Jazz are playing faster than we’re accustomed to seeing and they’re really filling it up offensively. Add in their 6th-ranked defense, and Utah looks pretty dangerous these days.
I really don’t anticipate another beating like Houston handed out the first time. The scenery has shifted, Utah won’t forget how that game went and they’re honestly playing fantastic basketball. I like the Jazz if I’m forced to play the spread, but given Utah’s shift in playing style and Houston’s obvious scoring upside, I’m enamored with a seemingly low Total.
The Over is just 9-13 for the Rockets this year, but I think that has a lot to do with them blowing some teams out and their Totals tending to be ridiculously high. You can’t blame Vegas for that, but betting on a team to top a 225+ Total only works so often. Utah has morphed into a more explosive team over the past couple of weeks, too, so I’m not sure their past results with the Over/Under can be safely take into account, either.
For me, I’m just looking at two teams that absolutely destroyed this Total the last time they’ve met and have shockingly topped this specific Total in each of their last four showdowns. I give Utah the edge if you want a straight up underdog pick or an ATS angle, but to me, the best bet on the board is the Over at BetOnline.
Be sure to shop around, as some other NBA betting sites have this Total at 210 or higher. You’re going to want all the value you can get, so target the 209 Total if you can.