Houston Wins, but Tricky Call For ATS Winner vs. Utah in Game 5

rockets jazz

Doug Upstone

Monday, May 7, 2018 4:05 PM UTC

Monday, May. 7, 2018 4:05 PM UTC

When Houston puts their mind to it, the Rockets can be a very good basketball team as Utah has found out losing at home by 21 and 13 points in the last two contests? Is the series over after Tuesday's Game 5 in Houston?

Game 5: Utah Jazz (1-3) at Houston Rockets (3-1)Free NBA Pick: UtahBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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After a Game 2 loss, we and many others raised the questioned about Houston's commitment to excellence. Were the Rockets really ready to put in the effort and attention to detail to beat an inferior opponent? Or were they just satisfied to presumably win and believe they turn up the intensity for Golden State?

Credit Mike D'Antoni for convincing his team to play to its capabilities in Salt Lake City with a pair of double-digit wins and covers. Next, the Rockets look to take care of their business and wrap up the series Tuesday back at home.

According to the latest NBA odds, Houston is like a standard box of donuts, favored by an even dozen points with a total of 208. What are either team's chances of beating the spread?

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Just another night at the office for @JHarden13.

✔️ 24 PTS
✔️Rockets Win! pic.twitter.com/TcmkrMHjVh

— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) May 7, 2018
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Utah Lacking in Scoring Options

Ricky Rubio is hardly a prolific scorer at 14 points a game. But add that number to seven assists, which makes him accountable for at least 28 Jazz points a contest (not including possible free throws made by teammates) and you can understand why Utah has been well below their season scoring average in three of four games in this series.

Other than Donovan Mitchell, the rest of Utah players need someone to get them the ball to take their favorite shots, and without an injured Rubio that is not happening. Derrick Favors, Jae Crowder, Rudy Gobert and even Joe Ingles lack the variety and explosiveness to create on their own consistently when Houston players have a defensive mindset. This is a tough spot for the Jazz.

For Houston, It's Time For the Semisonic Song

After a pair of sterling performance in Utah, for the Rockets players and its fans, it's time to cue the Semisonic hit from 1998: "Closing Time." Houston is well aware Golden State is likely to end their series at home Tuesday night and they will want to do the same two and half hours before the Warriors.

In every contest in this series besides Game 2, Houston has taken whatever run Utah had assembled and dismantled it effortlessly. The Jazz have put together any number of 6-0, 8-0 or 10-2 runs and the Rockets always had an answer with a three-pointer or two, a layup or a mid-range jumper. While James Harden or Chris Paul often were driving forces for these runs, many times it was others like Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza or even Clint Capela extending Rockets runs.

Houston is 6-3 ATS in the postseason and when they come to play, in their six covers, they have won by an average of 17.5 PPG.

What to Expect for Outcome

For NBA picks, given Houston's tendencies to cruise from time to time, handing out a dozen points seems like a dicey situation. Thus far in the postseason favorites of 10 or more are only 4-4 ATS (7-1 SU).

Let's go with the idea the Rockets play in spurts and not always with great fervor, but are at least solid defensively and win by 10 or 11 points.

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