Basketball picksMarch 5, 2020

LA Clippers vs. Houston Rockets Betting Preview

After winning five straight games, the LA Clippers head to Houston on Thursday for a classic showdown with the Rockets, featuring two of the top four teams in the Western Conference. The Clippers are in second at 42-19, five games behind the Lakers, while the 39-21 Rockets sit in fourth, 2.5 games behind the Clippers, and 7.5 behind the Lakers.

Both teams head into Thursday’s matchup fully healthy, which should give fans the battle royale that they want. The Clippers are coming off a Tuesday night win against Oklahoma City, while the Rockets are coming off a tough road loss to the Knicks on Monday night. Tip-off is set for 8 pm ET at the Toyota Center in Houston. Read on for more on the game in our betting preview.

Results of the Duo

The combination of a healthy Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both on the floor has been a winning one for the Clippers. They come in 21-7 when both are on the floor. Leonard is averaging 27 points, 7.5 rebounds, and 5.2 assists. He also grabs nearly two steals per game.

George is averaging 21.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, 3.8 assists, and 1.3 steals per game himself. Throw in Lou Williams’ ability to score on demand with Patrick Beverley’s ability to defend anyone in the league, and you’ve got yourself a winning team. The Clippers rank top 5 in both offensive and defensive rating in the league.

The Other Dynamic Duo

Since James Harden and Russell Westbrook have been reunited, they’ve both played just as they always have, out of their minds. Westbrook’s efficiency and shooting percentage even went up. The superstar is taking way fewer bad shots. Harden is averaging an NBA-leading 35 points per game, and his step-back seems to get better with age.

The Rockets’ decision to go small and trade away Nene and Clint Capela has worked out so far. The additions of Robert Covington and Jordan Bell allow the Rockets to go even smaller, spreading the floor.

This gives Westbrook the driving lanes he needs, and Harden the open looks from deep that he needs. All feast, no famine. Covington and fellow sniper Eric Gordon both average around 14 points per game. Covington is shooting nearly 37% from three since joining the Rockets.

Spreading it Out Farther

Los Angeles has been better this season against the spread, as well as by record. The Clippers are 33-28 against the spread this season, while the Rockets are only 29-31. The Rockets are just over .500 against the spread at home, at 15-14. The Clippers are an even .500 on the road, at 15-15.

The Rockets are favored in this showdown by one point. The over/under is set at 237. Place your bets, ladies and gents. Good Luck!

For more on this game, check out the matchup page for the game. For more odds and action from around the NBA, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.

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Basketball picksFebruary 11, 2020

Boston Celtics vs. Houston Rockets Betting Preview

The red-hot Boston Celtics hit the road to Houston on Tuesday night for a showdown with the Rockets. If both teams come to play, it could be a battle of epic proportions.

Boston is on the hunt for its eighth straight win, coming in 9-1 in its last 10 games. The Celtics’ last loss came at the hands of the Pelicans on Jan. 26.

Houston hasn’t fared quite as well over its last 10 games, coming in 6-4. The Rockets’ 33-20 record puts them 7.5 games behind the West-leading Lakers, but only four games behind the Clippers for third. They currently hold the fifth spot in the Western Conference.

Boston’s 37-15 record puts them in the third spot in the Eastern Conference, 8.5 games behind the Bucks. Here’s a betting preview for this matchup between two of the top teams in the NBA.

It’s Still Title Town

Boston winning nine out of its last 10 should come as a surprise to approximately zero percent of avid NBA fans. The Celtics were always going to go on a run like this. They have the talent, they have the coach in Brad Stephens, and they are from a city that collects jewelry. The opposition needs to watch themselves coming out of the All-Star break.

The Celtics are finally healthy enough to do some damage, and aside from Robert Williams, head into the matchup with a clean injury report. This is where most previews say led by *insert players name, but with this squad, it’s maximum team effort.

The Celtics are really led by the entire starting lineup. You could point out Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, or Kemba Walker, among others, as the leader.

Too Many Chefs?

It’s not that the combination of James Harden and Russell Westbrook isn’t working; it’s just not working to the expectations of many fans. Nonetheless, the combo of the two averages over 62 points, 14 rebounds and 14 assists per game. They also have a combined 3.2 steals per game.

Houston has five players that average at least one steal per game. That’s a tough feat in today’s NBA.

The recent acquisition of Robert Covington has done nothing but help the team. Houston now has several sharp-shooters to target beyond the arc. Covington is shooting 37.5 percent from three this season.

Off We Go

Tuesday night should bring a battle you won’t want to miss. When it comes to covering the spread, Boston is the second-most efficient team in the NBA. The Celtics are 31-19-2 against the spread this season. On the road, they’re 15-9-1.

Houston is in the bottom half of the league against the spread. The Rockets come in 25-28. They are an even .500 at home, 13-13 against the spread. Stay tuned to see which number moves on Tuesday. The Rockets are favored by 2.5 points in this showdown, with an over/under of 231.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. For more action and odds from around the league, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.

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Basketball picksFebruary 7, 2020

Houston Rockets vs. Phoenix Suns Betting Preview

Friday night brings us a Western Conference showdown as the Houston Rockets head to Phoenix to square off with the Suns. Houston enters the game with a 33-18 record and is 5.5 games out of first place in the West coming off Thursday night’s victory over the Los Angeles Lakers. Phoenix comes in at 20-31, six games behind the Grizzlies for the eighth spot in the West.

Houston heads into the matchup fairly healthy, but with a question mark around one of its best players. Russell Westbrook is questionable with a sprained thumb.

The Suns have been ravaged by injuries of late, as their starters and reserves have taken a hit. Aron Baynes, Cameron Johnson, and Frank Kaminsky have all already been ruled out. Tyler Johnson, Ty Jerome, and Dario Saric are all day-to-day, but questionable nonetheless.

Here’s a betting preview of this matchup between potentially explosive offensive teams.

Shooting Stars

The Rockets have attempted and made more three-pointers than any team in the league this season. Unfortunately, they rank a mere 22nd in the NBA in three-point shooting percentage. One would think that their third-ranked two-point percentage would make up for part of that, but considering they shoot fewer two-pointers than anyone in the league, does it?

Apparently, it does, as, even with their mediocre three-point percentage, they’re in fourth place in the West. They sit 5.5 games behind the Lakers for the conference lead and three games behind the second-place Clippers.

They’re 7-3 in their last 10 games, but if they want to catch the city of Los Angeles, their pace must improve headed into the All-Star break.

Burning Out

Phoenix started the season scorching, but their supernova has come to an end, so to speak. The Suns are 3-7 in their last 10 games. A big issue for the team has been winning games played on its home floor.

The Suns have only won nine games in Phoenix this season, sitting at 9-16 at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Then again, they haven’t fared a lot better on the road either at 11-14.

The big plus of the season has once again been superstar-in-the-making Devin Booker. He’s averaging 26.7 points, 6.3 assists, and 4.1 rebounds per game this season.

Second-year center Deandre Ayton has improved his numbers from last season and is averaging 18.6 points, 12 rebounds, and 1.6 blocks per game. These two young men can ball, and the future is bright in Phoenix, but the present is a tad dim.

Spread It Up

This is one of those odd matchups where one team is outmatched, and of course, the team that’s outmatched covers more often. In this case, both teams have been fairly poor against the spread. Both teams cover 48 percent of the time. Houston is 24-26 against the spread, while Phoenix is 24-26-1. That’s interesting, to say the least.

At home this season, Phoenix is 10-15 against the spread. On the road, Houston is only 11-14. Houston is also 6-11 against the spread when it is favored on the road. Tip-off is set for 9 ET at Talking Stick Resort Arena in Phoenix.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page for the game. For more odds and action from around the league, check out our NBA Public Consensus page.

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Basketball picksJanuary 22, 2020

Denver Nuggets vs. Houston Rockets Betting Preview

Just as we all expected a few weeks before the All-Star break, the Nuggets have four more wins and lead the Rockets by a few spots in the West. This makes Wednesday night’s matchup even more interesting. Denver heads to Houston to try and extend its lead over the Rockets and catch up with the Lakers and Clippers. Denver sits tied for third in the conference, while Houston sits at sixth.

Since losing to the Cavaliers, Denver has won three of its last four, dropping one game to the Pacers. The Rockets are on a nosedive, as they’ve lost four straight and five of their last six games. James Harden and company can’t afford to drop another one, so they better bring their A-game Wednesday night.

The Rockets are favored by 8.5 points in this one, with the over/under at 229.5. Let’s take a betting preview of this game.

Diggin’ For Gold

The Nuggets have been red hot this season. No one thought they’d be bad, but how many could’ve predicted 30-13 and third in the West at this point in the season? Led by Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, Denver doesn’t look to slow down anytime soon. Jokic is averaging 19.4 points and 10 rebounds per game, leading the team in both categories.

Murray has been showing why he was a high draft pick this season, putting up 17.6 points and 4.6 assists per game. Denver exemplifies the definition of team sport. It’s all five of the Nuggets players swarming you for four straight quarters. Fighting for every rebound and often winning the turnover battle.

Houston, We Have a Problem

The Rockets would like to forget these past few weeks, losing to teams they should beat with ease. Houston averages over 118 points per game, but that’s been cut down to around 109 in its last four. That’s not great when your defense is giving up nearly 118 over the last four.

Houston needs to improve the 15 turnovers per game it is committing. The Rockets rank 15th in the league in turnovers per game.

Harden and Russell Westbrook have been an interesting duo since being reunited, to say the least. Harden is averaging an astounding 36.9 points per game while putting up 7.4 assists. Westbrook is putting up 25.3 points and 7.3 assists, also adding over seven boards per game to the mix. And of course, that Westbrook tenacity.

More Than Expected

The 8.5-point spread is surprising to me. Even with the Rockets at home, Denver has just looked like the better team the past few weeks. Houston may have the talent, but it’s been Denver with the heart and soul to win close games. Wednesday night should give us an idea of just how good Denver can be down the stretch.

For more on this matchup, check out our matchup page. And for more from around the NBA, go to our NBA public consensus page.

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Basketball picksNovember 13, 2019

LA Clippers vs. Houston Rockets Betting Preview

An NBA Western Conference heavyweight match will take place Wednesday night in Houston. The Clippers come to town to square off against the Rockets, in a battle that you’ll want to tune your televisions to ESPN for.

The Rockets haven’t lost since dropping back-to-back games against the Nets and Heat at the beginning of November. The Clippers are coming off of two straight victories, with their last loss coming at the hands of the Milwaukee Bucks last Wednesday.

Both teams have 7-3 records and are tied in third place in the West with the Denver Nuggets. The Lakers lead the West with an 8-2 mark, with Utah sitting a half-game back at 8-3.

The Clippers are 6-3-1 overall and 1-2 on the road, against the spread this season. The Rockets are 3-7 overall and 1-3 at home against the spread, interestingly enough. The Rockets are favored by two points headed into the contest, with the O/U set at 234.

Who Runs Los Angeles?

The Lakers and the Clippers both made over their respective rosters this offseason, and so far, it looks like both teams made moves in the right direction. The Clippers only trail the Lakers by a game in the West, and with the return of Paul George imminent, they have no intention of slowing down. It doesn’t look like George will be ready to go Wednesday night, but he should return to the lineup Thursday against the Pelicans.

The Clippers defense has fared very well even without the defensive-minded George. They force 15.9 turnovers per game, which ranks 11th in the NBA. They also rank in the top 10 in both steals and opponents’ field-goal percentage.

The combination of lockdown defenders Kawhi Leonard and Patrick Beverley has already proven deadly to the opposition. Leonard is averaging an astounding 2.3 steals to go along with his 27 points per game, and Beverley isn’t far behind, averaging 1.6 steals per game.

Offensively, the Clippers have been led by Leonard along with Montrezl Harrell and NBA veteran Lou Williams. Williams has been named the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year three times in the last five seasons and is second on the team in both assists and scoring this season, averaging 22.3 points per game to go along with his 5.6 assists. Leonard leads the team in both categories at 26.9 and 5.9, respectively.

The sharp-shooting JaMychal Green coming off the bench hasn’t hurt either. Green is shooting 42 percent from three-point range this year.

Revamping A Winner

The Rockets didn’t do much this offseason, just a few minor moves. You know, little things like swapping two future Hall of Fame point guards with the Thunder. Since swapping Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook, the team somehow looks even faster-paced than it did a season ago. Which is no knock to Paul; Westbrook just plays a more uptempo game than he does. The addition of Westbrook has certainly made the Rockets an even more must-watch team.

The Clippers will be facing a defense that, on paper, shouldn’t be quite as bad as it’s been. Houston has five players that average at least one steal per game, including both James Harden, who averages 1.4, and Westbrook, who averages 2.0. Clint Capela has been a plus rim-protector, averaging 2.2 blocks and 11.7 rebounds per game.

The Rockets offense gets a lot of the spotlight and rightfully so. They rank second in the league in points per game, averaging over 120. Harden has been on a complete scoring tear all season, putting up 37.3 points per game to go with 8.3 assists, while Westbrook is averaging 21.9 points, 7.4 assists, and 8.8 rebounds per game.

P.J. Tucker, Austin Rivers, and Daniels House have all shot great from deep, while they wait for fellow three-point sharpshooters, Harden and Eric Gordon to get it going, though House and Gordon will miss this contest with injuries.

Weighing Your Options

This matchup will certainly give bettors out there a lot to think about. I would love to see what the betting lines would look like with a healthy George for LA. Look for this game to be a high-scoring shootout. There should be outbursts of good defense and turnovers on both sides, but a fast, up-tempo game nonetheless.

Matchups like these typically hype up the superstars for each respective team, and for good reason. The role players for both teams will be extremely significant, but it will likely come down to how well Harden/Westbrook/Capela match up against Leonard/Williams/Harrell with a little Beverley defense sprinkled in. Strap in folks, this should be a fun one.

This is a close matchup, so to see what everyone thinks about it, check out our NBA consensus page. Check out our matchup page for this game for an in-depth look at this contest.

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