NBA Picks: Oklahoma City Thunder Open Up Post-All-Star Break Run with Upset Over Utah Jazz

Dan Favale
By , Updated on: Feb 21, 2023 07:00 PM
NBA Picks: Oklahoma City Thunder Open Up Post-All-Star Break Run with Upset Over Utah Jazz

As the NBA comes out of the 2023 All-Star break, they are wasting little time when it comes to delivering matchups with playoff implications. Nine games are on tap for Thursday, February 23, and many of them will go a long way toward buoying or sinking postseason hopes. And for our druthers, no matchup is more interesting than the one between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Utah Jazz.

Both teams are vying for one of the Western Conference's four play-in spots. And both squads are right next to each other in the standings. Oklahoma City has the West's 10-seed while Utah checks in with the 11-seed. Interesting still, the Jazz and Thunder are both candidates to stage a midseason tank, electing instead to prioritize draft positioning over a play-in berth. That makes this game between the two all the more intriguing. The outcome could dramatically shift their odds to make the NBA playoffs.

Before we get started, here's a look at the latest NBA online betting odds for Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz:

To WinBetOnlineBovadaBetUS
Oklahoma City Thunder+121+120+115
Utah Jazz-143-140-135

Remember to double-check these online NBA betting odds right up until you place your wager. Our Thunder vs. Jazz betting odds are accurate entering Wednesday, February 22. That gives bookmakers plenty of time to adjust the lines prior to opening tip on Thursday, February 23, at 9 p.m. EST.

The best way to stay up to date with the latest Jazz vs. Thunder betting odds? By joining up with the right sportsbook. We're here to help on that front. Our reviews of the top online sportsbooks have all the information you could ever need to spot the best online NBA betting sites around.

Let's get to some Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Utah Jazz predictions!

Don't Underestimate the Oklahoma City Thunder...Oddsmakers Already Are

Utah was always going to be the favorite in this matchup. They have been stellar at home, where they get to capitalize on their familiarity playing at high altitude. But the Jazz just traded away three rotation players at the deadline, and their offense has struggled to hover above league average ever since.

Oddsmakers also don't seem to be accounting for potential changes to the rotation. Utah is going to lean into playing younger players the rest of the way as part of their rebuild. That doesn't mean they'll bench Lauri Markkanen, their only All-Star, but it does mean more reps for rookies Ochai Agbaji and Walker Kessler. Leaning into that direction will cost them a level of continuity and efficiency. The Jazz aren't punting on their chance to enter the play-in tournament. That's not what we're saying. But they are clearly less interested in immediate results compared to other teams.

The Thunder, meanwhile, continue to scrap and claw. They play a frenetic brand of defense, and the offense is able to hang tough with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the floor. Playing on the road doesn't much change things; the Thunder have actually scored more efficiently outside Oklahoma City on the season.

This feels like a great opportunity to roll the dice on an upset. Especially with Oklahoma City expected to welcome back top-tier defender Lu Dort into their rotation. If he shuts down one of the Jazz's primary scorers in Collin Sexton, Jordan Clarkson or Markkanen, it could be game over Utah.

OSB Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder (+121)

Oklahoma City Thunder To beat the Utah Jazz

You Can Hedge Your Risk by Betting on the Oklahoma City Point Spread

Below you can see the latest NBA point spread betting odds for Thunder vs. Jazz: 

  • Utah Jazz, -2.5 (-119)
  • Oklahoma City Thunder, +2.5 (-103)

For the more risk-averse, we'd recommend taking the Thunder to cover the point spread against the Jazz. A three-point margin isn't especially large, but both Utah and Oklahoma City are no strangers to close games. The Jazz rank third in crunch-time minutes played, while the Thunder check in at 10th in this same category.

Overall, we still prefer Oklahoma City's moneyline. Who doesn't want a payout that exceeds even money? But spreads seldom pay out better than -110, and right now, you can pick up the Thunder at -103 while hedging your risk against a potential loss.

OSB Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder, +2.5 (-103)

Oklahoma City Thunder To cover the point spread against the Utah Jazz

Utah vs. Oklahoma City will NOT be the High-Scoring Affair Many Expect

Here are the latest NBA over/under betting odds for Jazz vs. Thunder:

  • Over 239.5 (-110)
  • Under 239.5 (-110)

The "over" has some appeal in this matchup. The Jazz have one of the league's worst defenses and a top-five offense. But their performance at the more glamorous end has slipped since trading Mike Conley, Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt at the deadline.

What's more, the Thunder have defensive options capable of neutralizing Utah's remaining best scorers. Dort can be thrown on Clarkson or Sexton, Josh Giddey can be deployed against the other, and rookie Jalen Williams is capable of making life difficult on Markkanen.

Oklahoma City, of course, certainly isn't going to do the heavy lifting for the "over," either. They may be better at racking up buckets on the road, but they're still 18th in points scored per possession away from home—decidedly below average. The Thunder have yet to figure out how to run the offense when SGA catches his breathers, and though the Jazz's defense isn't forgiving, they have a sturdy rim protector who can make life difficult on their drives to the basket and in transition.

To be honest, it wouldn't surprise us if both teams fail to crack 110. It's the "under" for us.

Jazz and Thunder To score under 239.5 points combined

Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your NBA betting:

Meet the author

Dan Favale

Dan Favale leverages over 12 years of sports journalism expertise in his role as New York staff writer. He provides in-depth analysis across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NHL, tennis, NASCAR, college basketball, and sports betting. Dan co-hosts the popular Hardwood Knocks NBA podc...

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