NBA Betting Preview | Thunder vs. Jazz Odds, Pick, Prediction

NBA Betting Preview | Thunder vs. Jazz Odds, Pick, Prediction article feature image

Pictured: Talen Horton-Tucker dunks over Anthony Davis. (Photo by Alex Goodlett/Getty Images)

  • The Jazz host the Thunder in a Thursday night NBA Western Conference tilt.
  • Both teams need to win to keep playoff hopes alive, but it doesn't seem as if both are interested in making the postseason, which makes this game tricky to bet.
  • However, Brandon Anderson has found betting value in a Talen Horton-Tucker prop and details his best Thunder vs Jazz bet below.

Thunder vs. Jazz Odds

Thunder Odds-6.5
Jazz Odds+6.5
Over/Under239.5 (-110/-110)
Time9 p.m. ET
TVNBA League Pass
Odds via BetMGM. Get up-to-the-minute NBA odds here.

If you're into small market teams on the fringe of the postseason, we've got a treat for you!

No game left on the NBA schedule has more at stake in terms of postseason odds. Utah has lost seven of eight and is 36-43. If the Jazz lose, they're officially out, finally and perhaps mercifully. It's unclear whether the Jazz are even trying to win at this point, and that's putting it kindly.

The Thunder are 38-42 and control their destiny. Beat the Jazz and the presumably resting Grizzlies in the finale and Oklahoma City will be in the play-in. The Thunder may get there anyway if Dallas keeps losing, but a win here would put the Thunder right on the cusp of clinching.

So, the Thunder desperately need a win, and the Jazz seemingly want to lose. Easy, right?

Oklahoma City Thunder

Whether the Thunder want to win or not, they're not exactly doing so lately. Oklahoma City has lost six of its past eight. Some of those are respectable losses to Western Conference contenders, but they also have some terrible losses to the tanking Hornets and Pacers.

Oklahoma City is 2-1 against Utah this season, all since the All-Star break. The Thunder won two of those games comfortably and really should've won the third, a one-point overtime loss coming out of the break. Oklahoma City scored efficiently in two of the three games, and Utah struggled to score in all three.

The Thunder continue to be very careful with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. He missed two weeks after that first Jazz game and has been carefully managed down the stretch. Oklahoma City is only 3-6 without him, but he should be rested and ready for a must-win game. He scored 38 and 39 in the two games he played against Utah this year and got to the line 19 times in each game.

Rookie Jalen Williams — the perimeter one — continues to be a revelation for the Thunder. He had a career-high 32 points his last game against the Jazz and is averaging 18.9 PPG since.

The Thunder rank 11th in Net Rating since the start of January, far ahead of the Jazz in 24th. The offense has found itself, and Utah has shown it has no defensive answer for Gilgeous-Alexander or Williams.

Utah Jazz

The Jazz have lost seven of eight and certainly seem to be tanking for better lottery odds. Utah traded away Mike Conley Jr., Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt. Rookie Walker Kessler has been shut down to injury, and Most Improved Player candidate Lauri Markkanen has played only three of the past nine games (injuries and load management).

Here's the starting lineup Utah rolled out in its last game: Talen Horton-Tucker, Ochai Agbaji, Luka Samanic, Kelly Olynyk and Udoka Azubuike. The Jazz also gave significant bench minutes to Damian Jones, Kris Dunn and Simone Fontecchio. How many of those men could you even have named?

Still, the Jazz are playing hard. They lost that game by just two points and took LeBron James and Anthony Davis to overtime. The game before that, they lost to Brooklyn by one.

Unless Markkanen plays — don't hold your breath — it'll be hard to find a Jazz prop to feel good about.

Horton-Tucker is running point for this team. He's averaging 20.9 points and 6.6 assists per game over the past month. He has at least seven assists in nine of his past 14 games (64%) and is up to 31.0 PPG over the past four. He's had at least 23 points, four rebounds and seven assists in each of the past three games, so you might be able to build a steady SGP with those as a baseline.

Thunder-Jazz Pick

It's difficult to lay the points with Oklahoma City, even as the better team pushing for a win. The Thunder have only covered this spread once in their past 11 games, and that was by just one point against the tanking Blazers. And remember, even these tanking Jazz lineups are playing hard and pushing postseason-bound opponents.

At -200, the Thunder are an implied 67% to win this game. That feels low with incentives so clear, but if we're afraid to lay the points, that implies a close game and anything can happen at that point.

Props are probably the safest route here. Gilgeous-Alexander's points prop sits at 31.5. He's cleared that in nine of 14 appearances since the break (74%) and twice against Utah, but it's a high line and you risk going under if this turns into a blowout.

Horton-Tucker has cleared 22.5 points in four straight. He's also cleared 5.5 assists in nine of 13 (74%) and was one away in two others. Utah is allowing Horton-Tucker to explore the studio space, so if Markkanen is out, you can play Horton-Tucker for 23/6 with potential escalators. He should also be fairly blowout proof.

The safest play is a points + assists over since he could easily hit that on points alone. Or, you can be more aggressive with alternate lines or a SGP.

Pick: Talen Horton-Tucker Over 28.5 Points + Assists or Alternate Overs/SGP

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