NBA Betting Preview: Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets
By: Brad Young
Saturday, March 19, 2011
The road team has won both Houston and Utah matchups this season.
Utah (36-33 straight up, 29-39-1 against the spread) begins a three-game road trip with Sunday’s matchup at Houston (36-34 SU, 37-31-2 ATS). Both teams would be on the outside looking in on the NBA Playoffs if the regular season ended today. The Jazz currently reside in ninth-place, one game behind eighth-place Memphis while the Rockets are just a half-game behind Utah.
The Jazz have strung together back-to-back SU and ATS victories after dumping Minnesota Wednesday as six-point home ‘chalk,’ 119-104. The combined 223 points soared past the 209 ½-point closing total, helping the ‘over’ improve to 8-2 the past 10 games.
Utah jumped out to a 21-point halftime advantage, 71-50, and finished the contest with advantages in points in the paint (62-42) and assists (28-13). The Jazz shot a stellar 55 percent (46-of-84) from the field, and 37 percent (7-of-19) from behind the arc.
All five starters reached double digits in scoring, led by small forward C.J. Miles who scored 40 points on 14-of-18 shooting. Center Al Jefferson provided 26 and 11 rebounds in the victory, while small forward Andrei Kirilenko added 15, six and six assists.
Houston has posted three consecutive SU victories and back-to-back wins ATS after Friday’s triumph over Boston as a 1 ½-point home underdog, 93-77. The combined 170 points never seriously threatened the NBA odds, helping the ‘under’ cash the third consecutive contest.
The Rockets cruised to an easy victory despite getting outscored in the fourth quarter, 21-12. Houston also won the rebounding battle, 44-35, while also delivering more assists, 22-19. The Rockets shot 44 percent (32-of-73) from the field, and 36 percent (8-of-22) from 3-point land.
Shooting guard Kevin Martin paced the offense with 25 points, while point guard Kyle Lowry added 20 and nine assists. Power forward Patrick Patterson provided 18 and 12 in the victory, while center Chuck Hayes had 11 and 11.
The road team has won both matchups this season in the Utah-Houston series, while the ‘under’ has cashed the previous three encounters. The Jazz prevailed Jan. 8 in overtime as a one-point road underdog, 103-99, while the combined 202 points went ‘under’ the 207 ½-point closing total. The Rockets won Feb. 2 as a two-point road ‘dog, 97-96, while the combined 193 points went ‘under’ the 203-point closing total.
Utah guard Raja Bell (toe injury) and guard Ronnie Price (toe) are ‘probable’ versus the Rockets, while forward Andrei Kirilenko (back), forward Paul Millsap (knee) and center Francisco Elson (knee) are ‘questionable.’ The Jazz conclude their road trip with games against Memphis and Oklahoma City.
Houston forward Luis Scola (knee) is ‘questionable’ against the Jazz, while forward Terrence Williams (abdominal) is ‘doubtful.’ The Rockets wrap up a six-game homestand with Wednesday’s outing with Golden State.
Utah is just 11-26 ATS the past 37 games overall, while the ‘under’ is 13-6 the past 19 outings versus Southwest Division opponents. The Jazz have seen the ‘under’ go 7-2 the previous nine games in Houston.
The Rockets are 8-3 ATS their last 11 games overall. Houston has seen the ‘under’ go 7-3 its past 10 outings overall.
Sunday’s contest is scheduled to start at 4:00 p.m. PT from Houston’s Toyota Center.