Houston built a 25-point halftime lead over Utah in the first game of the series and coasted to victory. Will Game 2 be any different Wednesday night on TNT starting at about 8:05 Eastern?
Normally, betting double-digit NBA favorites requires sitting through 2 1/2 hours of trying to bring a winner home like you are watching a Kentucky Derby favorite. Or, you bet it, go on with your life, but check the score on your phone hoping you made the right decision.
The opening game between Utah and Houston was about as comfortable as it gets for making NBA picks. The Rockets led by 13 after the first quarter as 11.5-point favorites, by 25 at halftime and while they were a few anxious moments at the end in junk time, Houston covering was never really in doubt.
Sportsbooks are convinced their NBA odds are correct to having Houston again at -11.5, though the total has dipped from 206 to 204.5 as we went to post.
Do the Jazz have any shot to cover? Do the Rockets have anything to fear?
After James Harden hung 41 points on Utah in the series opener, head coach Quin Snyder was asked what thoughts he had for his team to defend “the beard” different. “You ask him to miss. You say, ‘please, James, will you miss this time down the court,’ and you hope he’s magnanimous about it.”
While this sarcastic response drew laughter, Snyder knows his team has to not let Harden and Chris Paul have the ball in their hands and dribbling it in a yo-yo fashion. This is where they do their damage, either scoring themselves or finding opener shooters who make three-pointers.