Utah Jazz @ Houston Rockets | NBA Playoffs Predictions and Betting Tips
Houston had a chance to end their first-round series with the Utah Jazz in Salt Lake Monday night. However, the Jazz wanted it a little bit more and was able to pull out a win in the fourth quarter. But can they now get a win in Houston or will the Rockets close out the series in front of a home crowd?
Spread: Rockets by 8
Money Line: Jazz +300; Rockets -360
*Odds via William Hill
In Game Four, the Jazz did precisely what they needed to do. They got their offense on track early and got out to an early lead. Their defense kept them in the game by not letting the Rockets offense heat up in the first half. But after it did in the third quarter allowing Houston to take the lead heading into the fourth, they responded. Donovan Mitchell led the offensive charge while the defense shut the Rockets offense down in the final quarter. Five players scored in double figures, three recorded double-doubles (including two off the bench), and they outrebounded the Rockets, 52-35. In short, they outplayed the Rockets in just about every facet of the game. But can they do it again?
The Rockets came out in Game Four looking like they expected the Jazz to fold and let them walk into the next round. They were uncharacteristically sloppy in the first quarter resulting in falling into an eight-point hole to start the game. Utah scored ten points off six Houston turnovers in the first quarter alone. After the game, Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni summed up what he saw, via ESPN: “We did things that are uncharacteristic of a team that wants to win.” They were able to turn things around and even take the lead heading into the fourth, but by then, they had allowed the Jazz to become confident they could win—and so they did after taking over and dominating the fourth quarter with ease. Part of the problem could have been not having a healthy Clint Capela available. He had been battling a virus and was only good for 28 minutes with minimal impact. On Sunday, he was diagnosed with a couple of different viruses and was told it would be four to five days before he would be fully recovered. How much he has recovered by Wednesday night could decide the game.
Utah Jazz @ Houston Rockets Head-to-Head
The Jazz and Rockets played four times this year with each team winning twice, once at home and once on the other team’s court. From a historical perspective, the edge in the all-time series goes to the Jazz with 105 wins to 96 for the Rockets. This will be the ninth playoff series between them. While Utah has beaten the Rockets in five of the previous eight, of the 44 playoff games they have played, they have each won 22. Houston beat the Jazz in the Western Conference semi-finals last year, 4-1. The Rockets lead the current series 3-1.
Odds and Predictions
Part of the problem for Houston in Game Four was a lack of focus; that will not be a problem in Game Five. They will come out ready to put on a show and end the series in front of a home crowd. Of course, being prepared to do so and being able to do so are two different things. How much Capela can do will be the deciding factor. In Game Four, with him battling his illnesses, the Jazz dominated the boards and the paint. If Capela can up his game enough to keep Houston from being dominated in either, that might be enough for them to escape with a win. Utah deserved to win Game Four, but now that they have made the Rockets mad, they will not be so fortunate in Game Five. Take Houston to win (-360) but for the Jazz to win against the spread (+8). As for the over/under (212.5)— three of the four games in this series have failed to cover the over. Go with the under.
Expert Betting Tip
The Rockets know they missed a golden chance to close out the series in Game Four. They will not let another opportunity slip by. They will win the game.