NBA Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Saturday

LT Profits Sports Group

Saturday, November 2, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Saturday, Nov. 2, 2013 4:00 AM GMT

Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out a total that simply does not add up and therefore offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Saturday.

Two of the top three teams in the NBA in field goal percentage against in the very early going square off on Saturday night when the Houston Rockets (2-0, 0-0 away) pay a visit to the Utah Jazz (0-2, 0-1 home) at EnergySolutions Arena in Salt Lake City, UT at 9:05 ET.

The posted total at Pinnacle Spots is 199½ for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -105.

Neither of these teams played much defense last season, but the Rockets went out and perhaps shook the landscape of the Western Conference by signing Dwight Howard, as even after breaking a playoff drought last season by running opposing teams off the floor and leading the NBA in pace rating, Houston knew that it had to improve its defense if it wanted to possibly elevate itself into elite status.

As for the Jazz, they finished in the middle of the pack in scoring defense last season ranking 16th overall allowing 98.1 points per game, but they had severe home/away splits allowing only 95.2 points per game here at EnergySolutions Arena as opposed to allowing 101.0 points per game on the road.

The Rockets do not figure to run-and-gun most of the time this year with Howard in the middle, and he is already making his presence felt as Houston leads the league in the early going in field goal percentage against at 37.4 percent. The Rockets are also still eighth in pace rating, but they will probably hover right around there for the whole season as long as Howard is healthy as they simply cannot run the floor 100 percent of the time with him in the middle.

But that is an excellent trade-off as the Rockets know that defense wins championships, and Howard’s defense could allow Houston to compete with the better teams in the West in a seven-game series, again provided he is healthy, which has been an issue in recent years.

Because the Rockets are adjusting to having perhaps the league’s premier big man in the middle swatting away shots, Houston could be a sneaky-good ‘under’ team in the short-term as books may be a tad slow in adjusting their totals.

The Jazz opened their season vs. Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder here at home and they were nipped 101-98 despite holding the Thunder to 40.7 percent shooting, including Durant going only 9-of-24 from the field. They followed up that tough loss with another one on the road vs. the Phoenix Suns 87-84 last night despite limiting the Suns to 37.3 percent shooting.

Add that all up and the Jazz are currently third in the NBA in field goal percentage against at 39.0 percent. Unfortunately, they are only shooting 40.9 percent themselves, and that is also a contributing factor to Utah’s 0-2 start.

The bottom line here is that Houston’s defensive improvement at home is not an aberration and that Utah is continuing to play better defense at home just like last season, so go ‘under’ at Salt Lake City on Saturday.

[gameodds]5/246746/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Rockets, Jazz ‘under’ 199½ (-105)

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