Bet Road Dog Hawks +5 vs. Rockets for Your NBA Picks

Joe Catalano

Saturday, December 20, 2014 3:30 PM UTC

Saturday, Dec. 20, 2014 3:30 PM UTC

After trashing Lebron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers by 29 points, the Atlanta Hawks (18-7) come into Saturday's game with the Houston Rockets (19-6) with a ton of confidence. That said, the Rockets feature James Harden and are one of the best teams in the NBA. See who we like in this matchup as our betting pick.

Tip-off is scheduled for 8:00 pm ET tonight at the Toyota Center in Houston, Texas.

Odds Makers a Bit Off?
5 Dimes Sportsbook lists the Rockets as a 5 point NBA odds betting favorite and the total for the game is 197.5. This appears to be a bit high. Even though Houston has home court advantage, they're coming off of a disappointing loss to New Orleans in which James Harden didn't play his best game while Atlanta has been playing the best basketball that we've seen this organization play in decades.

Jeff Teague is Listed As Doubtful
Although Jeff Teague is an important player on the Hawks' squad, he tends to be inconsistent at times. A doubtful status means that the player usually won't play about 80% of the time, but Atlanta has Dennis Schroder, who had a marvelous game in the destruction of the Cavs. In that game, Schroder played 22 minutes and had 10 points and 10 assists, If he can provide something similar here, the Rockets are in trouble.

Shelvin Mack will also be coming into this game with a ton of confidence as he came off the bench to score 24 points on a perfect 6 for 6 from 3-point range. While it might be impossible to duplicate this performance, players such as Mack, who little is expected from, could come into this game on a high.

Big Al Horford is one other player to mention. You usually know that you're going to see a blue-collar type of effort out of the veteran, but he too, had a an outstanding showing against Lebron's Cavs as he scored 20 points on 10 of 14 from the field.

The only concern might be rebounding as Dwight Howard no longer looks for his shot and is tough on the boards. The Hawks will need to address this issue, but thus far this season, they've handled their opposition better than anyone, including their head coach, could've expected.

Even though the New Orleans Pelicans sport one of the best players in the game in the Unibrow, Anthony Davis, the Rockets are coming off one of their worst showings of the season. The deficit of the loss wasn't a lot, it was the fact that their offense had no answers for the Pelicans and James Harden always comes up with an answer.

If his shot isn't falling, Harden will drive to the hoop like a locomotive and draw a foul. In this game, he shot just 8 of 23 from the field and the Rockets as a team shot just 38.4% from the field. Dwight Howard was actually the only member of the Rockets to have a normal outing. The Hawks are coming into the Toyota Center at the wrong time for Houston. The Rockets need guys like Trevor Ariza and Patrick Beverly to step up their game.

Despite the absence of Jeff Teague, I love the Hawks in this spot. As I mentioned earlier, the Rockets are catching the Hawks at the wrong time and Houston will have a tough time winning the game, never mind covering the 5 point betting spread. Atlanta is the NBA pick for this game.

Free NBA Pick: Atlanta +5 at 5 Dimes

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