The bubble league continues as we head into our first weekend of NBA basketball since March. That’s right, a full slate of NBA action for bettors to feast on all weekend. If you’re down for a matinee, on Saturday afternoon the Utah Jazz square off against the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Saturday’s contest will be the second game that the Utah Jazz have played since entering the bubble. They will be 25% of the way done with their seeding games when the final buzzer sounds…already. They won their first game out against the New Orleans Pelicans by a score of 106-104.
Oklahoma City has yet to play a game since the NBA returned. Saturday’s game will be their first. The shake the rust off game. Something the Jazz have already gotten out of the way. Tip-off is set for 2:30 ET and you can tune in and watch on ESPN.
Sweet Summer Jazz
Utah seemed to skate by just fine without their second leading scorer, Bojan Bogdanovich. The Jazz announced in May that he would have season ending wrist surgery. His 20.2 points per game and 41% three point percentage are not easy things to replace.
Without Bojan, look for Donovan Mitchell to shoulder more of the load all over the floor, which is almost hard to do because he already does so much for Utah. Mitchell is averaging 24.1 points, 4.4 boards, 4.2 assists, and 1.1 steals per game.
Both Rudy Gobert and three point specialist, Joe Ingles, should also find the ball in their hands a bit more. Gobert puts up 15 points per game, while Ingles averages 9.4 and shoots nearly 40% from beyond the arc.
In With a Bang
OKC hopes to get the “thunder” rolling in their first game back on the floor. They definitely need to get going quickly because the Jazz are one of basically 6 teams battling for seeding in the Western Conference.
Second place all the way through seventh are all within 5 games of each other, given that 5 games is Mt. Everest to climb in an eight game season. The Thunder head into the contest 10 games behind the conference leading Lakers. The Jazz are 1.5 games in front of them, 8.5 behind the Lakers.
OKC has been the walking embodiment of an all around “team” this season. They don’t have a single player that averages more than 20 points per game. The closest is Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at 19.3 points per game. Chris Paul and Dennis Schroder keep the ball moving. The duo puts up 11 assists per game combined.
Where’s the Smart Money?
Well, the NBA has been full of surprises since it’s return, especially on teams’ first game back. These two teams met twice earlier in the season, including the season opener. They’re 1-1 and didn’t break a total of 200 in either game, 195 and 194 respectively.
BetOnline has the total set at 217, and if history tells us anything, take the under. The Thunder are currently favored by -1.5. OKC is (-125) on the money line, Utah is (+105). OKC comes out rusty in this one, while Utah comes out in rhythm. With the spread being only 1.5, take Utah on the money line for the win. The payout is much better and 1.5 points in the NBA is microscopic. Take Utah and the under, win some cash. Good luck.