Houston owns six straight victories over rival San Antonio, and seven consecutive covers. Do we ride the wave with the Rockets when they visit the Spurs Sunday evening, or go with San Antonio to snap those streaks?
Rockets-Spurs Betting Odds
As of early Sunday NBA odds were holding off on lining this game, because of the injury situations on both sides. Our guess is that when betting odds are posted the spread will be right around a pick 'em, with a total of around 200. Bettors might be wise to wait until closer to tip-off before playing this game.
Rockets-Spurs: The Situation
Houston just went 1-2 on a three-game home-stand, beating Portland but losing to Atlanta and New Orleans. The Rockets then opened a quick two-game road trip with a 117-111 overtime victory at Memphis Friday night. Houston only shot 45 percent from the floor Friday, but held the Grizzlies, who played without F Zach Randolph, to 41 percent shooting.
In his first game for his new team newcomer Josh Smith tossed in 21 points in 32 minutes.
So big-picture, at 21-7 the Rockets are tied with Memphis for the three/four spots in the Western Conference.
San Antonio, meanwhile, got off to a 17-7 start to this season, but has lost six of its last seven games, after falling at New Orleans Friday night 97-90. Just before that the Spurs lost at home to Oklahoma City 114-106.
Also, over the last 25 days San Antonio has lost four times in overtime.
The Spurs outshot the Pelicans Friday night from the field 49 to 42 percent, but committed 17 turnovers, and came up short on covering as three-point dogs.
At 18-13 San Antonio owns the seven spot in the West .
Rockets-Spurs Recent History
As mentioned above Houston has beaten San Antonio six times in a row, including a 98-81 decision back in November in the first meeting this season between these two teams. However, both Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili missed that game with injuries.
The Rockets led that game 45-29 at the half, and upped that advantage to 31 late in the third quarter, coasting to the victory and the cover as six-point home favorites. Also, that game played way UNDER its total of 196, as the Spurs shot just 34 percent from the field.
Last year Houston swept four games from San Antonio, who, as we recall, went on to win the NBA championship. The Rockets won outright as dogs of six, seven and two points, and covered as a five-point favorite. So over the last five meetings Houston has outshot the Spurs from the floor 47 percent to 42 percent.
The totals have titled toward the UNDERS by a 4-1 margin in the last five games in this series, which have averaged 199 total points.
Want More Action? Check Out Our NBA Picks for Sunday Night
Rockets-Spurs Key Numbers
Houston ranks just 28th in the league in FG shooting at less than 43 percent, and 28th in FT shooting at less than 72 percent, but third in FG defense, holding opponents to 43 percent shooting. The Rockets also rank fourth in rebounding at +3 per game, but own a 20/16 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is lousy.
San Antonio ranks fifth in FG shooting at 47 percent, and third in 3-point shooting at 38 percent. The Spurs also rank eighth in FG defense, holding foes to 44 percent shooting, ninth in rebounding at +2 per game, and own a 25/14 per-game A/TO ratio, which is pretty good.
Rockets-Spurs Betting Trends
Houston has trended toward the UNDERS this season by an 18-10 margin, as Rockets games have averaged 198 points. Houston has actually played three OVERS in a row, in part because of three straight totals lined at 198 or less.
San Antonio is 16-15 on the totals, as Spurs games have averaged 202 points.
Houston is 10-2 SU, 8-5 ATS on the road this season.
San Antonio is 9-5 SU, 5-9 ATS at home.
The Spurs are also 4-6 both SU and ATS without Parker this season.
Parker has missed recent action with a bad hamstring, and F Kawhi Leonard (15 PPG) has been out with a sore hand. Their status for Sunday is uncertain.
Meanwhile, Houston is playing without F Terrence Jones and G Alexey Shved (combined 23 PPG this season), and while F Dwight Howard, F Trevor Ariza and G James Harden are all a little banged up, all three are expected to play Sunday.
Rockets-Spurs Free Pick
Houston just pulled a minor upset at Memphis, while San Antonio has been struggling. And the Rockets have owned the Spurs over the last season-plus. But this looks like a good spot for a 'reversal of fortune' play, because San Antonio can be dangerous when vulnerable. So we like the Spurs to win this game outright for our free NBA pick.
Free NBA Pick: Spurs -1 at 5Dimes