James Harden and the Rockets will take on the Jazz at home tonight, with the NBA odds very much in their favor. What's the best play here?
The Rockets have opened as 8.5-point faovirtes at a good chunk of the top online sportsbooks, but we wouldn't be shocked to see that number change throughout the day as we get more news. That's why it's pivotal to keep tracking the live line movement on the NBA betting odds so you can set yourself for success by getting the best number available.
A total of 197 has been posted for now, and it's going to be interesting to see the clash of styles tonight. Whereas the Rockets like to push the pace and can put up points in a hurry, the Jazz have been elite defensively, especially over the second half of the season.
Here's the scenario: if the Rockets win and San Antonio loses, Harden and company will win the Southwest division and therefore be the number two seed. Should they lose, Houston could fall all the way down to sixth based on how the other games go.
It's a jumbled mess, but here's the jist of it: the Rockets will be wanting to win this game and they're not going to be resting anyone regardless of the fact they've already made the playoffs. They'll want to finish as high as possible in what's a gauntlet of a Western Conference, so we can expect a top-notch effort this evening.
It all starts with James Harden, though, who is currently battling with Stephen Curry to earn the honor of Most Valuable Player. Right now it looks like Curry is in the lead, but you know Harden is going to want to put on a show tonight to try and sway the critics. Either way, Houston will enter tonight's game on the heels of consecutive wins, first beating the Pelicans by seven and then taking care of Charlotte by 10 on the road. Is a third straight win looming?
The Jazz won't be participating in the playoffs, but you're not going to find very many upset fans. After all, this team has been tremendous in recent months, working their way to a much more respectable 38-43 record after being 19-34 at one point in the season. The development has been a joy to watch.
With very talented (and young) players like Gordon Hayward, Derrick Favors, Rudy Gobert, Rodney Hood and Trey Burke, the future is bright for this Utah franchise. Letting Enes Kanter go and giving Gobert the starting role has turned things around for this team and has quickly vaulted the Jazz into elite status when it comes to defensive play. He's been an incredible presence around the rim for Quin Snyder's team.
Heading into tonight, Utah has gone 7-2 over its last nine games overall, and that includes wins over Oklahoma City, Portland and Dallas (albeit shorthanded) among others. The Jazz will want to close out the season on a high note by giving a competitive effort in Houston here.
We've been very impressed with the Jazz over the second half of the season and can't wait to see how they perform next season with another year of experience under their belt.
However, the circumstances and motivation couldn't be much different for tonight. Whereas the Jazz may rest guys and take the "young" route again, the Rockets are going to go for the win here in hopes that will propel them to as high of a seed as possible. Home court advantage in the playoffs is a major factor, and Houston is well aware of that fact.
So, with our NBA picks, we like the Rockets to take care of business against what could be a shorthanded and very young Utah squad.
NBA Pick: Houston Rockets at BetOnline