Nothin’ Like Cool Jazz on a Sunday Night: Utah vs OKC

Utah Jazz

Swinging Johnson

Saturday, April 14, 2018 7:04 PM GMT

Saturday, Apr. 14, 2018 7:04 PM GMT

The opening game of the series between Northwest Division rivals, No. 5 Utah and No. 4 Oklahoma City begins at 6:30 PM EDT on Sunday. Let’s check out the NBA odds board and determine which side is poised to cash.

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Western Conference @Kia NBA Rookie of the Month @spidadmitchell of the @UtahJazz in action! #KiaROTM pic.twitter.com/AUUs66G24u

— NBA (@NBA) April 12, 2018
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Jazz (48-34 SU, 43-39 ATS) at Thunder (48-34 SU, 33-47-2 ATS)

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Free NBA Pick: Jazz +3 ½Best Line Offered: at Skybook
  • Oklahoma City is 24-41 ATS as a favorite this season.
  • Oklahoma City is 15-24 ATS in home games this season.
  • Oklahoma City is 2-14 ATS vs. division opponents this season.
  • Utah is 18-7 ATS in road games when playing against a team with a winning record - 2nd half of the season over the last two seasons.
  • Utah is 13-3 ATS versus good offensive teams - scoring 106+ points/game - 2nd half of the season this season.
  • Utah is 6-1 ATS in Sunday games this season.

Game Analysis

The Jazz enter this first-round showdown with Oklahoma City having won six of their last seven (4-3 ATS) over their final seven regular season games. Perhaps foremost on their minds is the fact that they did not fare well against the Thunder during the regular season as evidenced by their 1-3 record and 2-2 ATS mark. The last two games were lopsided victories for Oklahoma City as they defeated Utah by an average of 21 points. However, let’s not forget that all four of their meetings were over before Christmas and as we all know, a team in December can be markedly different than the one in April. Such is the case here.

Utah may have a seemingly pedestrian offense, ranked 19th headed into the postseason, but as of late their scoring production has soared. Over their last seven games the Jazz have averaged over 112 points per game, eight points higher than their season average, while their No. 1 ranked defense has tightened up even more, holding opponents to just 95 PPG, four points below their 99.8 points per game average. That could spell trouble for the Thunder on Sunday night.

As the regular season wound down, the Thunder ended with a flourish, winning four of their last five (3-2 ATS) with an offense that looked dominant in their season finale when they drew away to a 137-123 victory over the lowly Memphis Grizzlies. Despite that impressive offensive production, the Thunder failed to cover the 16-point impost and cost all of those bettors who backed them in their NBA picks.

There are a few things to consider regarding this matchup. First, Carmelo Anthony is laboring through his worst season as a pro. Granted at age 33 that’s not a complete shock but Melo has career lows in field goal percentage (.404), assists (1.3/game), and scoring (16.2 PPG). A more under the radar consideration is the loss of Andre Roberson starting on January 27th when he suffered a season ending leg injury. Roberson was a defensive specialist for OKC and his impact was noticeable. Digest this for a moment; Oklahoma City allowed 96.4 points per 100 possessions when Roberson was on the floor but 107.6 points when he was off. The Thunder has gone 19-14 straight up but 13-19-1 ATS since Roberson has been sidelined.

Oh, and it should also be noted that Roberson played in all four previous games against Utah during the regular season. Now I am not saying that Roberson is the straw that stirs the drink in Oklahoma City because we all know that distinction belongs to the supremely talented Russell Westbrook. However, the Jazz are in a good spot to not only win this game but provide a mild first-round upset in the series. A quick glance at the NBA odds board and we see Skybook is giving us a 3 ½ point head start with Utah against a team in Oklahoma City that has not thrived at home for bettors, registering a 15-24 ATS record and a stunningly horrendous 2-14 ATS overall mark versus division opponents. Give me the points with Utah all day long.

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