The Rockets are fighting for their playoff lives right now while the 76ers are secure in their playoff spot in the East and may have a tough time getting motivated after stunning the Bulls.
One of the more interesting NBA matchups on the Wednesday night schedule sees the surging Houston Rockets (39-35) paying a visit to the Philadelphia 76ers (38-36) at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, PA at 7:00 ET in a game televised regionally on Comcast..
Both of these teams are coming off of big road wins, with the Rockets routing the Nets in New Jersey 112-87 last night to remain two games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth and final playoff spot in the West. The 76ers meanwhile went into Chicago and snapped the top seeded Bulls’ 14-game home winning streak 97-85 on Monday.
This game means a lot more to the Rockets though, as the Sixers have already secured their playoff position in the much weaker Eastern Conference, so we are looking for Houston to respond with the mild road upset in this spot.
The NBA latest line from Pinnacle Sports for this contest is Houston +3 on the road, with the betting odds set at -108.
The visiting teams and the underdogs have dominated this head-to-head series, both going 13-3 against the NBA odds in the last 16 meetings, and with the Rockets being both the visiting team and the underdog in this contest, we are looking for Houston to carry on both of those trends. The 76ers did so by winning 114-105 in Houston as 4½-point underdogs on February 16, which also make this a revenge spot for a Rockets team determined to make the playoffs.
While we believe that their playoff surge will cone up short as we think that Memphis is simply the better team, do not try telling that to the Rockets, as they are playing their hearts out lately. Houston has now won six if its last seven games, with the only loss in their stretch coming at Miami in a covering 125-119 loss in NBA betting as eight point underdogs.
Somewhat surprisingly, the Rockets are now the second highest scoring team in the NBA at 106.1 points per game, trailing only the Denver Nuggets, who are at 107.7 points per contest. The Rockets rank sixth in the NBA in offensive efficiency at 1.08 points per possession, and they are now over 50 percent in effective field goal percentage at 50.3, helped along by their 36.9 percent three-point shooing that is currently eighth best in the league.
In fact, Houston is averaging a blistering 118.0 points over the last four games, and more importantly, the Rockets were able to rest their starters in the blowout win un New Jersey last night, minimizing the effect of playing on back-to-back nights.
While the Rockets are fighting for their playoff lives, the 76ers are in sixth place in the Eastern Conference and in no danger of losing their playoff spot, holding a commanding 6½-game lead over ninth place Charlotte. Thus, it may be hard for Philadelphia to get too excited about this non-conference affair, so do not expect the Sixers to play with the same sense of urgency as you will see from the Rockets this evening.
Besides, the 76ers have not exactly been a model of consistency lately, as they are an erratic 5-6 straight up in their last 11 games and they preceded their upset win in Chicago by losing here at home to the lowly Sacramento Kings on Sunday. Now, this could simply be a case of the Sixers not being too concerned about games vs. the opposite conference right now, a theory that gains weight when you see how focused they were vs. the top seed in the East after losing to the Kings.
Well, Philadelphia is now hosting a much better Western Conference foe tonight, and we are looking for a similar result as Sunday, with the Rockets prevailing on the NBA betting odds.
Free NBA Pick: Rockets +3 (-108)