The Oklahoma City Thunder (39-12) look for their fifth straight win tonight as they get set to face the Utah Jazz (28-24) in Salt Lake City. Losers of their last two, the Jazz look to get back on track after giving up one at home against Chicago last Friday and getting worked by Sacramento the night after. Can the Thunder become the second NBA team to reach 40 wins this season?
AccuScore simulations seem to think so. The Thunder are solid 71.7 percent favorites tonight, with nearly a 59 percent chance at covering the -5.5 spread. The average score after 10,000 simulations is 102-94. Both teams have the same exact chance at getting a close win (< 4 points), but OKC has approximately five times the chance of Utah at a big win (> 10 points). There is a 58.7 percent chance the total goes over 200.5. The total has gone under in 5 of Utah’s last 6 games at home.
Defensively, the Jazz are coming off a horrible performance at Sacramento. The Kings had their second-highest point total of the season, shot 52 percent from the field, 42 percent from beyond the arc, and won the rebounding battle, 44-39. Utah also knows they gave up a home game vs Chicago last Friday, so while the results may not necessarily be better tonight, the effort and intensity definitely will be.
Unfortunately, the only part of the projected stat sheet the Jazz have an edge in is in the steals department, by 2-3 steals. I wouldn’t expect this advantage to have much of an impact on the final score, especially with Utah projected to be out-rebounded (both o-rebs & total rebs).
The Thunder won this season’s previous match-up with Utah, a 106-94 victory in OKC on Nov. 30. Oklahoma City is 6-1 straight up in its last 7 games when playing Utah. That game’s total score went under the set amount for bettors.
Prediction- OKC has won their last four games by 20 points or more. If I were betting on this game, I’d give up the five or six points (whatever you get the line at) and take OKC. Thunder by 8.
All projection data provided by AccuScore