Pick Utah -4 Over Weak OKC in Thunder vs. Jazz

David Lawrence

Tuesday, November 18, 2014 1:31 PM GMT

The Oklahoma City Thunder are coming off a couple of ugly home losses and now they have to head back on the road with a visit to Utah. The Jazz are posted as a four-point favorite on the NBA odds for this matchup.

The Oklahoma City Thunder Can Win Because…
Their opponent is just not a consistent team, and more specifically, it’s not a team that can be trusted late in games. The Jazz are very young, and while this might help them down the road, it’s not helping them in the present. Utah lost a fourth-quarter lead at Atlanta last week in a nasty loss, and it failed to do anything of consequence in fourth quarters against Indiana and Toronto over the course of the past week. Oklahoma City might not be a good offensive team, but it has been a strong defensive team so far this season. The Thunder know that the only way they can stay in games without Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook is to defend. The Thunder have lost a lot of close games, but at least they are in fact keeping games close with their hustle and work ethic. Oklahoma City is sixth in the NBA in defense, allowing only 94 points per game. With that kind of tenacity, the Thunder can stay in this game, and given the spread, they can cover merely if they lose by fewer than four points. That’s a very realistic scenario here in Salt Lake City. The Jazz have the number 20 offense in the NBA, averaging under 98 points per game. The Jazz also have a defense that is rated 23rd, allowing nearly 103 points per game. Oklahoma City can make inroads against this team, and play the game very close if nothing else.

 

The Utah Jazz Can Win Because…
They're playing a team that just can’t put the ball in the basket without Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Oklahoma City scored just 65 points on Sunday night against the Houston Rockets, giving a new low to a season full of them. It’s not as though Oklahoma City doesn’t have proven players even with all the injuries, but guys such as Serge Ibaka and Nick Collison and others are not able to play the amount of minutes they’d like… and not because the minutes are on the short side. The Thunder players who have been a regular part of the rotation this season have been overextended, and they are going to run into games such as the one on Sunday when just nothing happens that’s positive, and no one can find the basket because everyone’s shooting legs are gone. Utah has just come back from a week-long road swing. The Jazz should be energized when playing at home. They should take advantage of Oklahoma City’s offense, ranked last in the NBA with an average of 89.5 points per game.

 

Outlook
That last statistic, about Oklahoma City being last in the NBA in scoring offense, makes it really hard to trust the Thunder from an NBA betting standpoint. Even though the Jazz aren’t a particularly strong team in the grand scheme of things, they’re still better than a hurting Thunder team. For that reason we will place our NBA picks on Utah tonight.

Free NBA Pick: Utah -4 at Bovada

 

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