Rockets vs. Jazz Game 2 Betting Preview: Will Houston Keep Rolling?
Photo credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: James Harden
Game 2 Betting Odds: Houston Rockets vs. Utah Jazz
- Spread: Rockets -7
- Over/Under: 213
- Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
- TV Channel: TNT
- Series Score: Rockets Lead 1-0
>> All odds as of 10:30 a.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.
James Harden and the Rockets eviscerated the 5-seed Jazz in Game 1 by 32 points. Was that a fluke or a sign of things to come? Our analysts discuss.
Betting Trends to Know
The Jazz had the fourth-best defense in the league this season, allowing opponents to score 106.5 points per game. That didn’t translate to Game 1, however, as they gave up 122 points to the Rockets. That was just the 12th game this season that the Jazz have allowed an opponent to score 120 or more points. They’ve typically bounced back: In the following games, opponents have averaged 100 points and Utah has gone 7-4 ATS. — John Ewing
In Game 1, Houston simply outplayed Utah. The Rockets shot over 50% from the field; the Jazz shot under 40%. Since 2005, when a team shoots 50% from the field or higher against an opponent that shoots less than 40% in Game 1 of a playoff series, that team is 7-5 against-the-spread (ATS) in its next game.
More importantly, those teams have gone 11-1 straight-up in Game 2s, winning by 9.9 points per game. Those same teams are only 18-18 straight-up in Games 3-7 of a playoff series in this spot. — Evan Abrams
Mears: Can You Count on the Jazz to Bounce Back?
The Jazz starters actually shot the ball pretty well, but the bench was terrible, going a combined 3-of-19 (15.8%) from the field. Some of those guys — like Jae Crowder, who went 1-of-9 overall — are streaky shooters, but it is interesting that the Jazz elected to go more defense-first, playing Kyle Korver just 10 minutes. He didn’t attempt a field goal.
I understand the defensive trade-off with Korver, and maybe he never becomes a factor in this series. But even with Crowder, a far inferior shooter, some of these shots will go in at a higher rate. This is a good look:
So is this:
There are countless others. And, as a team, the shot profile for the Jazz was solid. They took 47% of their shots at the rim (93rd percentile this year), but they hit just 54.8% of them. They took an average amount of 3s but hit just 29.2% of them, despite having some good looks.
It would certainly help if they could get more looks for their better shooters, like Joe Ingles, who got up just three 3-point attempts all game. But the shots they did get weren’t terrible ones like the Pacers and Pistons got; the Jazz just missed a bunch of make-able ones.
Of course, it’s not a lock by any means that shooting progression will come for the Jazz role players in Houston. Role players typically play better at home, so maybe the better bet is to wait for this series to get to Utah for Game 3. But the main point is that this series certainly isn’t over, despite the blowout we witnessed in Game 1.
That said, it could be over quickly if the Jazz don’t make some defensive adjustments. The Rockets shot a ridiculous 77.4% at the rim in Game 1 against a team starting Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors. The issue wasn’t poor protection — it was that no one was there in the first place:
The threat of James Harden freezes Gobert, whose impact is greatly neutralized by having to be out at the 3-point line instead of patrolling the paint.
Harden’s just so darn good right now, especially with his new-and-improved floater. Just the threat of that here makes Gobert step up, leaving Capela wide open for a lob and dunk:
This is a tough game to handicap. On one hand, the Jazz should almost certainly shoot better. On the other hand, maybe the Rockets are just their Achilles heel given how Harden warps their defense in unanswerable ways.
This game is a stay-away for me for those reasons, and we’ll revisit the matchup for Game 3. — Bryan Mears
Moore: My Quick Thoughts on Tonight’s Game
If they hadn’t played last year, I’d be in on the Jazz. But this is a matchup nightmare for them going back to last season. They struggle to score vs. Houston’s switches and can’t shoot off the dribble well enough to create separation. I think Game 1 was a continuation of a trend, and I’ll grab Houston to protect home court with a cover. – Matt Moore
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.