Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#2539 Utah Jazz vs.
#2540 Houston Rockets
Wednesday, April 21, 2021 at 8:05pm EDT
Toyota Center, Houston
Written by Roberto Arguello

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The Rockets host the Jazz Wednesday night in the second of three meetings between these teams this season. The Jazz won the first matchup 114-99 on March 12th in Salt Lake City.

The Nets are coming off of a 111-97 win over the Lakers on Monday while the Rockets have lost six of their last seven after most recently losing at home to the Heat 113-91 on Monday.

Can Jazz Shooters Step Up Without Mitchell?

If the Jazz win and cover as double-digit favorites, it will be because their shooters stay hot and Rudy Gobert dominates inside against a smaller Rockets frontcourt. The Jazz will need several of their shooters like Joe Ingles, Bojan Bogdanovic, Mike Conley, and Jordan Clarkson to play well as leading scorer Donovan Mitchell (ankle) remains out indefinitely while Ersan Ilyasova (hamstring) is questionable.

Ball movement will be key for the Jazz as they play without Mitchell in order to get their shooters better looks against a moving defense. The Rockets have struggled to defend in their rotations when the ball moves from side to side, and they just lost by more than 20 points to a Heat team that gashed them with threes while Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo were both out. If the Jazz can move the ball and keep the young Rockets defense out of sync, they have the shooters to win and cover. The Jazz take the most three-point attempts in the NBA (45.2% of their shots) and are shooting the third-highest percentage (39.8%) this season.

Gobert should also have an opportunity for a huge night against the Rockets. Per Cleaning the Glass, the Jazz rank among the top four in both offensive and defensive rebounding rates while the Rockets rank among the bottom five in both rebounding rates. The Rockets frontcourt with Kelly Olynyk, Christian Wood, and others simply don’t have the size and athleticism to match up with Gobert inside, and he should feast.

Can the Rockets Catch Fire from Beyond the Arc?

If the Rockets cover or pull the upset, they will need to get hot from beyond the arc and get an efficient performance from John Wall. Danuel House Jr. (ankle) and Sterling Brown (facial lacerations) are out for the Rockets while Eric Gordon (groin), D.J. Augustin (ankle), Dante Exum (calf), and David Nwaba (wrist) all remain out indefinitely.

The Rockets will need to get hot from beyond the arc to stay competitive against the Jazz. The Rockets will get their threes up as they have taken the fifth-most attempts in the league this season (41.1% of their shots), but they haven’t converted enough of them to win as their 34.3% three-point accuracy ranks second-last in the league. Streaky shooters like Kelly Olynyk, Christian Wood, Kevin Porter Jr., and Wall will need to find their rhythm.

The Rockets also need an efficient all-around game from Wall. He has been important as a scorer and distributor in their most recent wins. Rockets fans, however, haven’t been too upset as he has faded in the second halves of games recently and acted as the head “tank commander” in Houston’s quest for lottery luck.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

While I don’t normally recommend laying double-digits on the spread, I like the value here for the Jazz to cover as they should get a huge performance from Gobert inside. Both teams take a high volume of threes, but the Jazz are one of the elite shooting teams in the league, even without Mitchell, while the Rockets remain horrific collectively from beyond the arc. Expect the Jazz to run away and cover as heavy road favorites.

Prediction: Jazz -11

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

Take the under as the Rockets’ low team total will keep the final score below the total. The Rockets will jack up too many threes at a poor rate while they fail to get second-chance looks as Olynyk and Wood aren’t bruisers on the glass. The Jazz will play more slowly than normal as they use more ball movement to generate shots than if they had Mitchell and his electric stepback available.

Prediction: Under 228
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Written By Roberto Arguello , "Roberto Arguello"

Roberto is a college basketball and NBA sports betting analyst. Prior to joining our team at Winners & Whiners he broadcasted for PGA TOUR LIVE and was the voice of Stanford Football on KZSU 90.1 FM. His sports betting articles have been featured on Sporting News, The Action Network, and BetQL. Roberto enjoys long romantic walks through the fairways and fullback handoffs.