Monday, 8 p.m. ET
Free NBA Pick: Rockets ATS
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
The Jazz dropped the two dates on their mini-road trip as the Spurs and Thunder both dispatched Utah by double-digits but a return home against the Heat on Wednesday was the home cookin’ they needed. The Jazz scored 40 points in the first-quarter alone and set the dial to cruise control en route to an easy, breezy 111-84 win over Miami. But once they took to the highway on Saturday night, to meet the Magic in Mexico City, it was back to the drawing board. Those who backed Utah as six-point neutral site favorites in their NBA picks saw their investment tank in the fourth quarter as Orlando drew away to a 96-89 victory.
Expectations were sky high for the Rockets in 2018 but after a third of the season in the bank, Houston is a surprisingly pedestrian .500 club hoping to expand upon a three-game winning streak. Houston has not only notched victories over the Trail Blazers, Lakers, and Grizzlies over their last three but has covered the number in each one as well. James Harden is clearly beginning to feel it as evidenced by his two-consecutive triple-doubles in victories over LA and Memphis.
These teams met nearly two weeks ago in Utah, and at the time the NBA odds board dealt the Jazz as an ever so slight one-point home favorite. But the game was not nearly that close as the Jazz pressed the Rockets all night long and forced them into a season high 22 turnovers which Utah converted into 33 points. Center Rudy Gobert was whistled for a foul and then tossed from the game just three minutes in after swatting a paper cup in disgust. But his absence did not hinder the Jazz as Derrick Favors stepped up with 24 points and 10 boards. The Rockets were held to a season low 11 points in the third quarter and Harden was Houston’s leading scorer with a quiet 15 to end the night.
This time around will be noticeably different. Let’s begin with Utah’s jet lag after coming off of a disappointing loss in the thin air of Mexico City. It’s tough to readjust coming home from vacation and going back to work let alone having to suit up just two days later ands face a Houston squad that is just now getting their groove back on after it sitting dormant through the early part of this season. In addition, this will be the third time these teams have met this season and Utah has spanked the Rockets in both meetings but it should be noted that Houston is 9-4 straight up and 8-5 ATS over the last 13 meetings with the Jazz in games played in Houston.
Houston is starting to feel good and no longer has the Carmelo Anthony cloud hanging over their collective heads. If Chris Paul can get his shots to drop on a regular basis then the Rockets will once again be near the top of the Western Conference standings. As for this game, let’s consider these trends:
- Rockets are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.
- Rockets are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 home games.
- Rockets are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 games following an ATS win.
- Jazz are 1-5 ATS in their last 6 Monday games.
- Jazz are 0-4 ATS in their last 4 road games.
Final Score Prediction: Rockets 117, Jazz 104