Defenses Will Step Up in Rockets-Heat, Jazz-Grizzlies Matchups

Charles Stark

Wednesday, February 7, 2018 2:35 PM UTC

Wednesday, Feb. 7, 2018 2:35 PM UTC

The totals for the Houston-Miami and Utah-Memphis games on Wednesday night might have been set a bit high, so think "under" for your NBA picks and you could cash in.

Wednesday NBA: Rockets vs. HeatFree NBA Pick: Under 211Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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Just last month Miami lost at Houston 99-90 in what was a surprisingly slow-paced affair. Despite that, the NBA odds board came out with a big 211 total for tonight's rematch in Miami.

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I will back "under" the total with my NBA picks because I just don’t see this game getting up and down the floor. In that first game both teams shot decently well, with Miami shooting 47.6 percent and Houston hitting at a 44.4-percent clip. The issue was the pace; Miami got up just 82 attempts and Houston only 81. The game was a bit sloppy with quite a bit of turnovers, and both teams took advantage by scoring a combined 35 points off of those takeaways.

Tonight I think the pace is going to stay about the same, and both teams are playing proficient enough on defense to keep the other in check. While the Heat remain in the top 10 in most defensive categories, the Rockets are in the bottom third of the league. However, they are allowing just 84.9 attempts per game from their opponents, which ranks them 13th. As well, Houston ranks in the middle of the pack in opponent field goals made per game and scoring average. Look for this to be a surprisingly defensive affair.

Wednesday NBA: Jazz vs. GrizzliesFree NBA Pick: Under 202.5Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Utah has changed its dynamic a little bit this year and is actually a decent scoring team, averaging 103.4 points per game and shooting 45.9 percent from the field. Memphis has also not been horrible on the offensive end, and odds makers have noticed; the NBA odds board has the total for tonight's game at 202.5.

Still, for my NBA picks I will back "under" the total. Memphis is allowing opponents just 45.3 percent from the floor and Utah 46.3 percent. The Jazz make up for their lack of percentage by allowing opponents just 38 field goals made per game, which ranks sixth in the NBA. Memphis ranks first in this category at 36.1 and first in allowing opponents just 79.8 field-goal attempts per game. Neither team has been horrific in scoring, but still we are talking about two teams that rank in the bottom half of the NBA in shooting percentage and field goals made per game, and in the bottom three in field-goal attempts per game. Look for a classic Utah versus Memphis slugfest.

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