As it has been with several Rockets lines over the last week, the NBA Odds for this game were late coming out thanks to the multitude of injuries to one of the Rockets’ starters. However, the Celtics find themselves as +5 ½ underdogs with a total of 205 ½ tonight, and I think I have found a nice play on this late coming line.
Chandler Parsons Project
Chandler Parsons has been dealing with knee, hamstring and calf injuries over the last week, and it has kept him out of the Rockets’ last three games. However he did participate in shoot around, and is set to make his return tonight barring any unforeseen circumstances. While he might not play his full compliment of minutes, his three point shooting is going to be a welcome sight for a Rockets team that doesn’t shoot the three nearly as well without Parsons.
However going into Boston even with Parsons back in the lineup is going to be difficult, and probably even more problematic trying to cover -5 ½. The Rockets are playing their fourth game in six nights, and the last three have been on the road. While Parsons coming back is great, I still think Boston is the way to go with our NBA picks tonight.
Back in Bean Town
Boston just had a hard and pretty lousy road trip out west, and now they are finally home and seemingly undervalued. They got the day off yesterday to rest and repair, and when playing at home this season, the Celtics have been pretty solid. While their home ATS numbers are nothing to get excited about, their home defensive numbers are.
At home this season, the Celtics rank 8th in defense, and 13th in field goal percentage against, and even versus the fast paced Rockets, the Celtics could still dictate pace tonight. If they can slow the game down, and have Jeff Green clamp down on James Harden, the C’s have a great shot at keeping the game close and covering. If you look at the last three games of their road trip, all of them were close games down the stretch. I see them doing the same here and covering.
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The Sharp Pick
While I do think Dwight Howard will have a good game, I doubt any other Rockets player does. The Celtics are good at defending opposing guards, and while they do give up points to big men, the recent play of Kris Humphries playing center hasn’t been horrible. Sure he has been dunked on a few times since starting to play big minutes again, but that has only given Sports Center and Kim Kardashian something to chuckle about. If you look at his defensive numbers, they aren’t bad, and no, amount of times getting dunked on is not a defensive stat.
The truth is despite being 19-16-3 ATS this season, the Rockets have been pretty overvalued in a lot of instances and they are again tonight. Their road defense leaves a lot to be desired, and even with Kevin McHale coming into Boston, I doubt that energy is enough to propel the Rockets to a huge victory here.My Pick: Celtics +5 ½