The Utah Jazz will host the Oklahoma City Thunder on Saturday night in the much different atmosphere than their guests. It will surely be a fast-paced game with little defense on display, so let’s dig in and see if we can make a profit out of it.
Thunder at Jazz
Spread: Oklahoma City -4 (-110) at BetDSI Sportsbook
Total: o/u 202.5 (-110)
Knicks pose no threat to Thunder in the opener
The Oklahoma City Thunder started their season with an easy win over Knicks, winning 105-84 on Thursday night. It was an ideal way to open the season, as they get to showcase their new stars in front of their fans with little resistance from the other side. Anthony got his revenge against the former employer (and promptly demanded to be stopped being asked about NYK), Russell Westbrook got his triple-double, and George had his shots as well. All’s well in the State of Oklahoma, trees are green and rainbows over skies. Unfortunately, that game meant nothing.
We did learn that the Thunder will look to play at high pace. Part of it are Knicks and part of it is the excitement of playing together, but you can expect them to continue to seek easy points in transition. It’s a way to get more shots up to feed the hungry stars, and make Westbrook more comfortable playing his me-first game. George is turning into a three-point launching machine, which might work and I haven’t heard that a player doesn’t like to shoot from deep. Anthony will likely get his shots in isolation, and his low efficiency isn’t encouraging. If you are not one of the three and play for OKC, you should know that you won’t get the ball much. Adams did have a nice role and he’ll probably be an integral part of any lineup as the Thunder don’t have any other rim protection. The second unit doesn’t exist, as Donovan usually rest one or two of the stars, so it’s more of a fluid rotation.
The Thunder have much tougher road ahead as they visit the Jazz and play Minnesota on two consecutive nights, in this order. We’ll learn much more about how good this team is and can be from those two games.
Place: Vivint Smart Home Arena, Salt Lake City, Utah
Date/Time: Saturday, October 21st, 2017. 9:00 PM ET
TV Coverage: Fox Sports Oklahoma
No Hayward, no problem for the Jazz
The Jazz has had a successful start to the season as well, claiming win number one in the home opener against the Denver Nuggets. They rode their superstar center Rudy Gobert, great team chemistry and the usual lockdown defense to the final score of 106-96. While this might seem as a lot of points scored by a team that’s supposed to struggle without their former number-one offensive weapon, the absence of Hayward was hardly felt. Of course, the Nuggets defense hasn’t stopped anyone yet, so it might be a fool’s gold, but the Jazz knew as they exactly know what they want to do on the offensive end, running their set plays and getting the ball in the right hands.
Rudy Gobert was the centerpiece in the win, scoring 18 points and getting 10 rebounds, although he did struggle with ball security a bit. He also stopped Jokic and protected the paint like few can do. Rookie Mitchell started the game as Hood wasn’t yet fully healed from an injury and he and Rubio shot rather poorly – but not unexpectedly. Still, Rubio remained in control of the game, playing for his teammates and bothering ball handlers on the other end. Burks and Johnson picked up the backcourt offensive slack with strong showing off the bench. They combined for 29 points as the second unit played a major role in turning the game around. Jazz trailed most of the night before an impressive 31-5 run that spanned third and fourth quarter and decided the outcome of the game.
This game is the tail end of the back-to-back set that also has Jazz play Minnesota, only tonight. Should the Jazz come out of the three tough games with a positive score, it would surely ignite their confidence and also improve the trust of the public in their strength. It’s tough in the West, so it’s a good test for the new-look Jazz.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz Game Trends & Prediction
Oklahoma City won and comfortably covered the lone game they played, justifying my pick on their side. It’s unlikely that a star-studded team will be a bet feeder, as they quickly lose any value due to books fading them for their public image. So, be selective with them. The game was also an under – as it was a blowout – something that I had also warned you about in the Knicks game preview. With the pace and the offensive weapons the Thunder have, I doubt the market will overreact to it.
Back-to-back games that I preview always have that little component of the previous game missing, so the Jazz ATS and O/U stats presented don’t account for the Minny game. The Jazz is 1-0 against the spread, beating the minor handicap in the first game. Under was tight, by only 3 points, but it’s still the Jazz way. Whenever you get enough value to play below the expected line on their games, grab it.
A unique ranking system – AdmiRank helps you understand how good NBA teams are on a scale to 100. Not much separates the two sides, despite what the media has been telling you. The Jazz may not be as good as last year and the Thunder have improved, but it’s still going to be a photo finish race, as it looks now.
This is going to be close. Two teams from last year have been significantly altered, but remain in pursuit of the highest level they can accomplish. The two sides play at much different pace and with much different style, so it will be a power struggle to make the game played at their own liking. Hopefully, the Jazz won’t be too exhausted after the game with Wolves, so we get to see the true potential of both sides. They both figure to be better over time, but at this point, I see the Jazz as a slight home favorite, if no injuries occur in the meantime.
The books don’t agree with me, but I’m fine with it. Getting Jazz as a home dog is a punter’s dream, especially against a possibly overrated team. With only the b2b inclined hesitation, I’ll be looking to take the home team here, as soon as they finish their game in Minnesota and I make sure that they came out of it injury free (and not having played triple overtime or something like that).
Total points estimation is more prone to the game with the Wolves, but as of now, I’m going with nice and round 200, that leaves almost no promise for a wager on either side. It suits my thinking well too, as this is a game where it’s hard to be confident about which way does the game flow, and going with an under is basically duplicating the Utah side wager, so I’ll stick with the spread only.
My Pick: Utah +4 (-110)
Total: (any wager highly unlikely)
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