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NBA Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets

April 23, 2007

2007 NBA Playoffs - (Game 2) Utah Jazz at Houston Rockets (-5.5, 185) 9:30 PM ET

Tracy McGrady of the RocketsThe Rockets ended up being 6.5-point home favorites against the Jazz in the opener, covered the spread and now are listed as full point less a betting choice, still playing on their own home court.

If this were the real business world somebody might lose a job posting this kind of number, but this is the world of sports betting, where the idea is to be wary of the favorite, even when they exceed expectations.

For many of the Utah players, they couldn't throw it in the Gulf of Mexico in Game 1. Carlos Boozer and Mehmet Okur were the leading offenders, shooting a combined 6-31 (19.3%) leading their team to defeat.

The Jazz were so far off key in the second half scoring a grand total of 33 points, Sanjaya might be brought in to work out at shooting guard. Utah is more known for solid offensive execution and settled for too many three-point shots, seventeen in all, connecting just four times from beyond the arc. Houston is known for its stifling defense and it worked holding Jerry Sloan's club to just 35.6 percent.

In trying to understand why the opening line decreased for the second encounter between these teams, one fairly simple presumption is Utah is bound to play better for an entire game versus just half of it this time around.

One element that can not be overlooked is the Jazz took 18 more shots then Houston. Nobody is expecting Utah to shoot their normal average of 47.3 percent; however it would not be a stretch for them to approach at least the low 40's in this game, meaning if they have 80 attempts or more again, they should have a good chance to win the ballgame.

For certain, coach Sloan will emphasize a greater urgency taking it to the basket, since in spite of the wide shot disparity, his team took nine less free throws then the Rockets (26-17) and had made only nine conversions compared to Houston's 21. Even with all these potential positives, it is difficult to garner much support for a team that is now 4-18 ATS in last 22 tries.

Houston has to fill great about themselves after lame first half that had them trailing by 42-33. Tracy McGrady admitted after the game he was extremely nervous before and during the early parts of the game. He has never played on a team that has won a playoff series in five showings and the Houston franchise has not won one dating back to 1997.

Coach Jeff Van Gundy understood the outside influences that might have affected his team. "Sometimes you want something so bad it has a negative impact,' he said.'Instead of seeing it as a great opportunity, I thought we were very discombobulated. We're going to have to have the right level of intensity and be emotionally solid so that you can play poised, efficient basketball."

Only Phoenix and Golden State had more three point tries then the Rockets in the regular season, which launched 27 in Game 1. If they continue to put the pressure on from the perimeter and balance it with Yao Ming in the middle, they can add to Utah's miseries, as they are 9-18 ATS versus teams who attempt 18 or more 3 point shots a game on the season this season.

With listing the Rockets at 5.5-point favorites, it should is noted they are 9-19 ATS as a home favorite of 6 points or less and just 8-19 ATS in home games after scoring 85 points or less.

Unfortunately Deron Williams and his teammates do not gather much confidence for bettors with 1-10 ATS mark in road games after a game where both teams scored 90 points or fewer.

With the total having dropped three points to 185.5, Houston is 14-6 OVER in home games after playing a home game and the Jazz 12-4 OVER as a road underdog of 6 points or less this season.

Discuss tonight's matchups and the entire 2007 playoffs in the NBA basketball betting forum.

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