The Houston Rockets and Utah Jazz were expected to be two of the teams most active before the trade deadline. It didn’t turn out that way, although at least one of these clubs could be in better position as it relates to their ability to get into the playoffs. And the way their Tuesday night meeting shapes up, the winner will be able to lay claim to the eighth and final slot in the Western Conference playoff order. Game time is 9:05 PM ET at the Vivint Smart Home Arena, and after it tips off, BetAnySports customers can keep the action going, as they partake in real-time wagering with the help of Live Betting Extra.
The Rockets currently hold that #8 position, with a 28-28 record, and they have not been a profitable team, going just 24-32 against the NBA pointspread. The Jazz are 27-28 straight-up and 28-25-2 ATS. So Houston is only a half-game ahead of Utah, and will relinquish their hold on the eighth spot if they lose, but at the same time, if they win, they can find themselves in a tie with Portland for the seventh position if the Blazers lose at home to the Brooklyn Nets.
Utah lost to that Portland team two nights ago (115-111), despite shooting 50% from the field, and if you are looking for an obscure technical trend that may work here, consider that the Jazz have covered in 34 of the last 52 instances after allowing 105 points. Along those lines, Houston has covered 18 of its last 24 games on Tuesday nights.
In the NBA betting lines that have been posted on this game by the people at BetAnySports, the Jazz are favored:
Utah Jazz -5 Houston Rockets +5
Over 202.5 points -110 Under 202.5 points -110
The Rockets were expected to move either Dwight Howard (a free agent-to-be) or James Harden before last Thursday’s trade deadline. But neither of those things happened. And a multi-player trade that sent forward Donatas Motiejunas and guard Marcus Thornton to Detroit as voided when Motiejunas failed a physical. Interestingly enough, Joel Anthony, who was acquired from Detroit in that deal and was almost immediately shipped off to Philadelphia, had to go back to the Motor City.
Utah was seemingly desperate for a point guard who might be able to improve upon the performance of Trey Burke, and Atlanta’s Jeff Teague was one of those people purportedly up for grabs. That deal didn’t happen, but the Jazz fortified their bench by picking up Shelvin Mack from the Hawks, and he came up with 16 points and six assists in 24 minutes in his first outing.
There is some scoring punch in Salt Lake City, to be sure, but BetAnySports patrons know this team prides itself on being able to slow down the opposition. In fact, they have permitted the fourth fewest points in the NBA (96.8 per game) and play at the slowest pace in the league, with 90.8 possessions per 48 minutes. Houston is faster, ranking seventh in “pace,” and they attempt more three-pointers than any team in the league. In terms of two-point tries, they are 30th and last, and that may mitigate the effect of Utah’s superb shot-blocker, Rudy Gobert, who is second only to Miami’s Hassan Whiteside in Block Percentage.
Harden, who does make for a synergistic combination with Howard, leads the league in field goal attempts, free throw attempts and turnovers. He is just 42.6% accurate from the floor, so Utah’s strategy will include trying to force him into bad shots.
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