Jordan’s NBA Picks: 59-41 (Playoffs 5-3)
Utah (50-33 SU & 44-37 ATS) at Houston (54-29 SU & 41-39 ATS)
Wednesday, 9:30 PM EST, TNT
Free NBA Pick: Rockets ATS 1H
Recommended Sportsbook: BetOnline
Game 1 was just one of those nights for the Jazz. Other than the big men, nobody really had anything going offensively, while everyone on the Rockets was seemingly on fire from the opening tip. Will Game 2 be any different?
Rockets Three-Point Barrage
One thing that will kill almost any team playing Houston is their ability for seemingly anyone of their guard or wing players to knock down multiple three-pointers. They took 41 three-pointers in Game 1 and hit 15 of them, which was more than enough against a Jazz team that didn’t find their way off the bus.
Utah will certainly put up a better effort this time around, but after Houston shook off their early-season issues, they have beaten the Jazz easily in pretty much every meeting sense. In Houston’s last three games against the Jazz including Game 1, they are averaging 116 points per game.
During the regular season Utah did a good job of limiting the number of three-point attempts for their opponents, but they were basically league average defensively in their opponent’s three-point percentage.
With the Rockets’ ability to get three-pointers away with ease, I don’t think the Jazz cans top everyone from getting away open looks. With no one able to stay in front of James Harden, I could see another bloodbath awaiting the Jazz in game 2, even if they do play better on offense.
The Sharp Pick
During the regular season, only the Warriors had a better first half offensive efficiency. Houston posted a 55.0% first half effective field goal percentage (eFG%) and they also posted the league’s best first half offensive efficiency of 117.4.
I think the Rockets can cover the spread in this one, but I feel better about the first half number for a few reasons. Utah may come out more fired up, but that might not matter if the Rockets are breaking down their defense early again.
The Jazz are tough enough to stick around, but their road issues have been apparent all season. This is especially true in the first half of their regular season road games. Utah’s offensive rating was just 105.2 during those 41 instances in the regular season, ranking 24th in the league. It’s no surprise they only put up 44 first half points in Game 1. I think they have a similar poor effort and the Rockets cover the first half number.
First Half Score Prediction: Jazz 49 – Rockets 54