Utah Jazz vs. Houston Rockets Preview and Pick – Point Spread – Betting Odds

Utah Jazz (51-27 SU 47-27-3 ATS) vs. Houston Rockets (39-38 SU 33-43 ATS) Toyota Center, Houston, TX 8 PM EST Wednesday April 7, 2010 on ESPN
by Jason Green at Predictem.com

Point Spread: Jazz -5.5 / Rockets +5.5
Over/under: 214

Tonight in a Western Conference match up that means nothing to one team, but a lot to the other the Houston Rockets host the Utah Jazz. Even though Houston has a winning record they will not make the playoffs this season. One the other hand the Jazz will be in the post-season, but every remaining game is important for them.

Utah is currently in 2nd place in the Western Conference, but they only lead Dallas, Denver, and Phoenix by game. If they finish 2nd they will have home court advantage in the playoffs until the conference finals if they were to play the L.A. Lakers. That is big for the Jazz, as they are one of the best home teams in the league, but only a .500 road team.

Houston is coming off a win and is 4-6 in their last 10 games and Utah is also coming off a win and is 7-3 in their last 10 games.

This season the Rockets are 21-17 at home and the Jazz are 19-19 on the road.

Kevin Martin (20.2 ppg) recently came back from a shoulder injury and the Rockets will need his scoring tonight. For the Rockets to win Martin and backcourt mate Aaron Brooks (19.6 ppg) have to play well and score since the Rockets are not a good defensive team.

One player that has to play well for Houston is Luis Scola (16.1 8.8 rpg), who is the Rockets only legit inside threat. He has to score, but it may be more important that he plays good D on Jazz PF Carlos Boozer (19.6 ppg 11.3 rpg). Scola especially has to keep Boozer off the glass and not allow him to dominate the boards in this game.

Houston will have to get out and run and score in this game, as the Jazz are a much better half court team and can score inside and out.

The Jazz have won 2 of 3 against the Rockets this season including the last 2.

In their last game the Jazz win a thriller outgunning the Oklahoma City Thunder 140-139 in OT last night. The high scorer for Utah in the game was Deron Williams blowing up for 42 points on 14/23 shooting and he also dished out 10 assists. For the game the Jazz shot well going 49/94 for a FG% of 52.1%. On D the Jazz allowed the Thunder to shoot 45/90 from the floor for a FG% of 50%.

The Rockets also won last night beating the Memphis Grizzlies 113-103. The high scorer for Houston in the game was Kevin Martin going for 29 points on 7/16 shooting. For the game the Rockets shot 38/87 for a FG% of 43.7%. On D the Rockets allowed the Grizzlies to shoot 45/92 for a FG% of 48.9%.

This season the Jazz rank 4th in the league in scoring (104 ppg) and the Rockets rank 11th (101.8 ppg). On defense the Jazz rank a respectable 12th in opponents’ points allowed (98.2 ppg) while the Rockets only rank 21st (102.5 ppg). The Jazz have been a better team on the boards this season, as they have a rebounding differential of +2.8 rpg while the Rockets are in the negative at -0.8 rpg.

According to the Sagarin NBA ratings the Jazz rank 4th (94.83) and the Rockets rank 16th (90.04).

Utah is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 road games, 4-1 ATS in their last 5 games as a road favorite, and 13-6-1 ATS in their last 20 games as a favorite of 5.0-10.5.

Utah has an Under record of 3-1-1 in their last 5 games, and Over record of 5-2 in their last 7 games as a road favorite, and an Under record of 4-1 in their last 5 road games.

Houston is 2-7 ATS in their last 9 games, 5-18 ATS in their last 23 home games, and 3-7 ATS in their last 10 games as a home underdog of 5.0-10.5.

Houston has an Over record of 4-0 in their last 4 games and an Over record of 6-0 in their last 6 games as an underdog.

In the last 7 games in Houston between these 2 teams the total has gone Under 5 times.

On the injury front SF Andrei Kirilenko is day-to-day for Utah and SF Shane Battier is Out and SG Kevin Martin and SF Trevor Ariza are day-to-day for Houston.

Jason’s Pick: The Jazz are a great team but only mediocre on the road. Look for the Rockets to avenge a blowout loss that they suffered the last time these two teams met. Take the Houston Rockets to cover the spread.