Houston stumbled out of the gate this season, but has since won two games in a row; Sacramento has lost three straight, and is now without its best player. Let's check the NBA odds first.
Friday's NBA odds market opened this game with Houston favored by six points, then bumped the Rockets to -6.5. Also, books were holding off on posting a total on this game, presumably because of the Dwight Howard situation.
Rockets vs. Kings Match-Up
Sacramento is off to a 1-4 start to this season, 2-3 ATS, following a 118-97 loss at Phoenix Wednesday night. The Kings, as nine-point dogs playing without DeMarcus Cousins, had that spread pushed early in the fourth quarter, but gave up a 17-5 Suns spurt and never recovered. On the night Sacramento shot 48 percent from the field, and hit 11-of-24 on 3-pointers, but allowed Phoenix to shoot 54 percent, inducing a scorching 14-for-23 from long range.
Just before that the Kings lost to Memphis 103-89, missing ATS as four-point home dogs, while just before that they lost at the Clippers 114-109 but covered at +10.
Houston is off to a 2-3 start, just 1-4 ATS, after winning in Orlando in overtime Wednesday night 119-114 but missing on the cover as a nine-point favorite. The Rockets lost their first three games of this season, each by at least 20 points, but have won their last two, including a 110-105 upset of Oklahoma City Monday night.
Houston led the Magic by 10 points midway through the third quarter, coughed up that lead, then had a chance to ice victory in regulation but missed three free-throws in the final minute. The Rockets then scored the first bucket of OT, and led from there on out.
On the night Houston shot 48 percent from the floor and outrebounded Orlando 61-44, but allowed the Magic to shoot 51 percent and committed 20 turnovers. Two days prior, the Rockets only turned it over 12 times in the victory over the Thunder.
Houston has beaten Sacramento five times in a row, including a sweep of three meetings last season, by scores of 102-89, 113-109 in overtime and 115-111. The Rockets covered the first two meetings as four- and one-point favorites, while the Kings covered the final meeting as 10-point dogs.
Sacramento actually outshot Houston from the field in those three games combined by a 46-to-44 percent margin.
Also, two of those three games played OVER, but one of them needed overtime to do it.
Houston is 4-1 on the UNDERS this season, even through Rockets games have averaged 208 points.
Sacramento is 4-1 on the OVERS, as Kings games have averaged a healthy 218 points.
Cousins has missed the last two games for Sacramento with a sore Achilles, and will miss this one, too.
Last season Sacramento went 6-17 in games Cousins missed.
On the other side of the scorers' table Houston C Dwight Howard is dealing with a sore back, and has rested two games so far this season. His status for Friday night is uncertain, so bettors might want to check later updates before getting down on this game.
Houston has won two games in a row, while Sacramento has lost three straight. Also, if both Howard and Cousins sit, that hurts the Kings more than the Rockets. We like Houston on the side. As for the total, these teams played a pair of relatively low-scoring games last season, and the Kings have averaged 93 points in their last two games without Cousins. So we're thinking UNDER as our NBA picks.
NBA Picks: Rockets -6.5 & Under 215 at Heritage