Today's Free Picks for
Posted at 12:00 AM EST. Odds subject to change.
Oklahoma City/Utah over 245
Best Odds: -110 at Pinnacle
9:10 PM EST. We've talked about it plenty here on SportsWagers but it's always worth repeating: there are many pontificators in the betting industry, and most of what they say is utter nonsense. Gambling attracts people who like to be right. And other people, in turn, are attracted to people who always seem to be right. It also helps if they earn them money. People like money, we're not sure if you knew that. Anyway, many-a-pontificator has talked about something called "regression" and it's been used so often it's damn-near nebulous at this point.
Bettors abuse this mystical notion called "regression" because they think something or someone is about to change, for the better or for the worse, and need something to call it. Of course it has it's value in some cases, and some handicappers have a solid history of seeing it coming. This is awfully rare, though.
Ipso facto, this is the first reason that leads us to this wager tonight. We could overanalyze this matchup between the Thunder and Jazz and try our damndest to pretentiously advocate for this total to fall under the listed number. If you look for something long enough, you'll find it, right? We all have our biases, so sometimes they send us down these paths. Hint: avoid at all costs.
If we truly know who these teams are and how prolific their offenses have been, there are reasons by the dozens to support the over. In other words, there are virtually no legitimate reasons to blindly "anticipate" regression because we simply want to feel smart. We see that way too often across betting spaces, don't we?
The OKC Thunder are nearly at the end of a four-game road trip. They're tired, as evidenced in their collapse against the Clippers two nights ago. Defense might lack when legs are getting wobbly, but they were also on the second leg of a back-to-back. What does OKC do well no matter what? Offense. The Thunder have been a consistent top 5 offense and shooting team all season, in fact they own the best shooting percentage in the NBA (50.5%), and they average well-over 120 points per game. Small-sample claims will say that the Thunder were in two low-scoring games recently, but that was against two slow-paced teams and two very good defenses. And OKC's star, Shae Gilgeous-Alexander, looked gimpy. Finally earning a rest-day, SGA is currently off the injury report heading into Thursday's big battle.
But we like tonight's over even more because of the home team. The Utah Jazz are absolutely exploding right now. They've won 10 of their last 12 and they own the #1 net rating over that stretch. In their last 6 games, all wins, they've averaged 131 ppg. Coach Will Hardy has quickly formed, stormed, and normed his new team, turning them into one of the best ball-movement programs in the NBA. They're assist ratios have been sky high for nearly a month, and over the last few weeks they've become the fastest offense on hardwood. Utah's momentum and newfound chemistry is no joke, and seemingly overnight it's turned them into a formidable playoff contender. At home they damn-near seem unstoppable at times.
When two high-octane offenses clash, it becomes a "who can do it better" type of game. It's hard to assert which offense we'd prefer, but could we go wrong? The Thunder and Jazz scored 254 in their first battle, and they weren't even shooting that well. Well, one team wasn't. A slow first quarter quickly turned into what's inevitable when these two meet - a scoring showcase. The pace and output led to a 64-point second quarter and a pair of 45-point quarters for each team, even though Utah only shot 48% from the field and 31.6% from beyond the arc. Too many possessions, too much tempo. If the Jazz continue with the efficiency and high-scoring that we've seen recently, then where will this total land?
This is simply a bet we must make. If regression occurs, well, it happens, but there's just not enough evidence behind that claim, especially at this number. We think this total should be listed well-into the 250s. Gotta fire.
Oklahoma City/Utah over 245 -110 (Risking 2.2 units - To Win: 2.00)