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NBA Weekend Specials: Jazz and Rockets to cover

Fri, Nov 9, 11:37am by Staff Writer

The Toronto Raptors are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference of the NBA, amassing an 11-1 mark through 12 games.

The Milwaukee Bucks won a franchise record seven straight games to open the season and are in the midst of a West Coast road trip with an 8-2 record.

In the Western Conference it’s all about the Golden State Warriors, with the reigning champs dropping just one game on their way to a 10-1 start.

The Denver Nuggets are close behind at 9-2, with Portland the current third seed at 8-3.

Boston Celtics at Utah Jazz

Saturday, 10 November 2018 at 1:30pm at Vivint Smart Homes Arena, Salt Lake City

The Utah Jazz (5-6) has had a slow start to the season by their own admission, winning just 1 of their first five home games.

The Jazz host Boston on Saturday afternoon and open as $1.64 favourites.

The Celtics are on the second night of a back to back set after playing in Phoenix on Friday and are $2.24 outsiders.

Utah won its first home game of the season on Thursday with a 117-102 win against Dallas.

Injuries have derailed the Jazz’s season so far with second year player Donovan Mitchell in and out of the lineup.

Saturday marks the first time former Jazz guard Gordon Hayward returns to Salt Lake City since leaving in free agency two seasons ago.

Boston made the Eastern Conference finals a year ago and has started the season 6-4.

They lost their most recent match in Denver giving up a career high 48 points to point guard Jamal Murray.

The Celtics have won three of their past four games in Salt Lake City, despite it being a difficult venue for travelling teams to win.

Utah’s offense has increased this season and they are scoring nearly seven points more per game to rank 16th in the NBA.

Scoring has been a problem for the Celtics early in the season and despite their heavy three point shooting offense, they rank 26th in the NBA in points per game.

Utah has struggled at home but welcoming Hayward and the Celtics to town might just be what they need to kick start their season. Take the Jazz at the line as the Celtics are playing on a back-to-back.

Best bet- Utah Jazz to cover 3.5-point handicap at $1.90.

Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs

Sunday, 11 November 2018 at 12:30pm at AT&T Center, San Antonio

Off-season changes have done little to destabilise the San Antonio Spurs with the silver and black winning six of their opening 10 games this season.

They host a resurgent Houston Rockets team that has won four in a row on Sunday.

The Rockets used their recent three game East Coast road trip to kick start their season after losing five of their first six games.

Wins against Brooklyn, Chicago and Indiana has moved the Rockets to 4-5 on the season.

San Antonio has lost consecutive games to Orlando and Miami and will be hoping to end their losing streak at two games.

The Rockets were one of the best offensive teams in the NBA a season ago but are struggling so far this season, ranking 25th in points per game.

The Spurs are ranked 12th and scoring nearly eight points more per game this season.

Houston is not only scoring less but is giving up seven points per game more to their opponents this season, with that 14 point swing contributing to their 4-5 record.

The Rockets won three of the four games between these two division rivals a season ago, but the Spurs prevailed by 17 points in their last meeting in San Antonio.

The Rockets scored over 100 points in all four of their games against San Antonio last season and the last time they failed to tick over triple figures was in February 2016 against the Spurs.

San Antonio was bullied on the glass in their most recent loss at Miami and shot a woeful 30 per cent from the field.

That will improve without a doubt, but the Rockets are gaining momentum and looking for their fifth straight road win. Take the Rockets as a small underdog or a favourite of less than 2.5 points.

Best bet- Houston Rockets to cover a handicap of 2.5-points or less.

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