The Houston Rockets have been nearly unbeatable at the Toyota Center in December over the past few seasons, as they prepare to take on the Atlanta Hawks Monday night. Let’s take a closer look at the NBA odds for this non-conference affair.

Four-game win streak

Image previewAtlanta has won four games in a row, including a 109-100 victory over the Indiana Pacers as 2.5-point home favorites, but all of those games came against Eastern Conference opponents. The Hawks have averaged 28.0 assists per game during that stretch, while also knocking down 34 combined three-pointers in the last three. The team is 6-5 straight up and against the spread (ATS) when taking on non-conference foes this year.

Bouncing back

Houston has dropped back-to-back games against two of the premier teams in the NBA, including a 124-94 blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder as 4.5-point home underdogs Saturday, while going OVER the total for the fifth time in six opportunities. The Rockets are certainly capable of bouncing back, considering they’ve gone 11-6 at home this season, including a 7-1 mark versus out-of-conference opponents. The franchise is a disappointing 1-4 ATS following a double-digit loss at home.

Enjoying life on the road

Sports bettors may find the Hawks as an attractive option when looking over the NBA betting lines, as they’ve opened the 2012-13 regular season with an 8-4 record on the road, which is the best such mark in the Eastern Conference. Atlanta has covered the point spread in 12 of its last 16 road games when playing a team with a winning home record.

December dominance

It’s going to be very hard not to back the Rockets as one of my NBA picks against the spread on New Year’s Even, as they’ve produced a remarkable 28-5 home record in December since 2008. Houston is 21-12-1 ATS during this calendar month over the last two-plus campaigns, with the OVER going 18-5-1 in that situation.

Taking care of the basketball

James Harden and Jeremy Lin are combining to score 38 points per game in their first season together in Houston, but the duo has been careless with the basketball recently, with the squad turning the ball over 24 times in each of the last two games. Atlanta has proven to take advantage of miscues—ranking fifth in the league in averaging 17.8 points per game off opponents turnovers.


I’m going to recommend that readers back the Hawks as one of their pro basketball picks Monday, as the underdog is 6-1 ATS in the last seven meetings in this series. Atlanta is also 20-12 ATS when revenging a home loss versus an opponent—dropping a 109-102 decision in the first series meeting as five-point home favorites on Nov. 2.

NBA Pick: Atlanta Hawks +4 at 5Dimes