Oklahoma City Thunder (40-26) @ Utah Jazz (37-28)
NBA Basketball: Monday, March11, 2019; 9 PM ET @ Vivint Smart Home Arena
Odds: Utah Jazz -3.5
ESPN FREE NBA Pick Oklahoma City Thunder vs Utah Jazz
Division Rivals meet in a battle for playoff seeding, Jazz have been slightly above average in the recent matches while the Thunder have lost a lot of plot in the last 2 weeks. Thunder will look to regain some of the lost confidence while Jazz looks to capitalize on Thunder’s struggles.
The Jazz are riding high after reaching a 37-28 record after winning 6 of the last 10 games. They are 2.5 games behind the Blazers and Thunder and will be fun to see which of the 3 teams grabs that 4th seed and gets a home court advantage in the first round of the playoffs.
While the offence hasn’t been as exciting as it was during the home stretch of the last season, the defensive stability has been reinstituted to the system restricting their opponents to a mere 106.9 points(6th in defensive rating). The Jazz have been successful in securing the board, ranking 1st in Opponent’s offensive rebounds(8.9) while also restricting them to just 11.5 second chance points (4th best mark in the league).
The Jazz have a solid 21-11 while playing in Salt Lake City. Their season has included impressive victories against the Warriors and the Rockets. Offensively, they have been a little off largely in parts to a slight Sophomore slump on Donovan Mitchell’s part but they have looked to be back on track since the Kyle Korver trade added a three point threat to their offence. However, the slump of Donovan Mitchell is only as compared to the expectations everyone had from him; he is still the highest scoring sophomore and the vocal point of the Jazz offence along with Backcourt partner, Point Guard Ricky Rubio.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Thunder are playing like they mean business this season. Their two stars, Russ and PG, have been effective and prominent and in Dennis Schroeder, they have a very talented leader to man their bench. The Thunder have looked solid all season until they haven’t and they haven’t enjoyed the richest vein of form in their past 8 games, losing 6 of those. Their away record this season has been pretty average with 18 wins and 17 losses. Thunder looked locked for the 3rd seed till last month but 7 losses in the last 10, they have slipped to the 4th seed with an identical record to the 5th seed, Trail Blazers.
The Thunder have been gritty this season thanks to a league leading 9.8 steals per game. They grind their way to the bucket averaging 15.2 2nd Chance points per game (3rd in the league) to go with 52.8 Points in the paint (5th in the league). They have the 5th best defensive rating (105.9) in the league and average 115.4 points per game (4th best in the league).
Paul George is having himself a career season and is averaging career highs in points (28.4), rebounds(8.1), assists(4.2), FG Made(9.3), 3 Pointers Made (3.8) and Steals(2.2) while shooting a respectable 44.1% from the field and 39% from beyond the arc. He is one of the leading candidates for the MVP award and a frontrunner for the DPOY and may become the first person since Hakeem Olajuwon to win both the awards in same season. (Michael Jordan is the only other player to win both awards in the same season).
CTS 365 Betting Trends
Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City is 1-9 ATS in its last 10 games
Oklahoma City is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games on the road
Oklahoma City is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Utah
Utah is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games
Utah is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing Oklahoma City
Utah is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Oklahoma City
Free ESPN NBA Prediction Utah Jazz vs Oklahoma City Thunder
It’s all about positioning now folks! A win for either side could prove big as to where they will land in the first night of the playoffs, at home or away. Both teams have been good at home and not particularly strong playing away from their fans.
Utah is the team in form but Thunder may look to this game to regain the lost momentum and take it all the way to the end of the season while Jazz may look to erase some of that game between them and the fourth seed so they could have a home court advantage in the first round of the play offs.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder +3.5