One of the ten NBA games slated to be played tonight will feature the Utah Jazz heading to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder. We’ll preview the game before going over my best prop play for the action.
The return from the All-Star break has been less than ideal for the Oklahoma City Thunder, as they have gone 0-5. In that five-game span, the Thunder rank 24th in the league in NET rating with a -6.2, with a big reason for the negative rating being their defense.
Oklahoma City has allowed 120 points or more in all five games and are fresh off a game on Wednesday in which they lost 123-117 to the Los Angeles Lakers. Even though the Thunder have not scored under 115 points since the return, they have not been able to offset their defensive troubles and the fact that opponents have managed a field goal percentage of 48.1%.
The entire losing streak post-All-Star break started with a loss to tonight’s opponent, the Utah Jazz. In that game, the Thunder lost in overtime by a final score of 120-119, as they allowed Jazz forward Lauri Markkanen to score 43 points.
Utah has played three games since the break and has gone 2-1 in those games with the 11th-best NET rating since the return. Unlike the Thunder, Utah has been strong on the defensive end over those three games, as their 102.2 defensive rating is the third-best in the league. In their most recent game against the Spurs, Utah allowed just 102 points for the second straight game, but due to a 35% shooting night, they could not come away with the win.
For my prop play in this one, I’ll be targeting Walker Kessler over 11.5 rebounds at (-105). The rookie big man has been a force to be reckoned with the boards this season but especially recently, as he is averaging 11.1 rebounds per game over the past ten games. In that stretch, he has gone over his total in five of those games and has gone over in four straight.
In his most recent matchup with the Thunder, Kessler pulled down 18 rebounds in the game, which is unsurprising due to the Thunder’s recent rebounding struggles. Over the past five games, the Thunder have allowed the second most rebounds per game in the league, with an average of 50.4.
Kessler will likely be able to find success on the boards on both ends of the floor, much like he did in the last matchup. Oklahoma City, over the previous five games, is 26th in the league in offensive rebounds per game, which led Kessler to pull in four offensive rebounds in their last matchup, along with his 14 defensive boards.
Walker Kessler Over 11.5 Rebounds (-105)