Betting the Total for Rockets vs. Lakers Free NBA Picks

Joe Gavazzi

Tuesday, October 28, 2014 3:09 PM GMT

When planning how to bet on tonight's NBA game between the LA Lakers and the Houston Rockets, know that these are two teams that are clearly headed opposite directions. 

In the 2012-13 season, Houston Rockets and the LA Lakers had identical records of 45-37.  While Houston ascended to 54-28 last season, the Lakers declined to 27-55.  More of the same is expected this season.  While the Rockets are again expected to have a winning campaign, with a projected 49 wins, the odds makers again expect trouble in LA with just 29 projected wins for the Lakers.  The opposing directions of these teams were never clearer than in head-to-head matchups.  After the Lakers captured the first meeting in this series, Houston went on to win the next 3 by an average of 18 PPG. 

As well as the Rockets played last season, they will have great hunger entering this campaign. They enter the new season with a 1st round playoff exit at the hands of Portland, still fresh in their mind.  Gone are PG Lin, traded to tonight’s opponent, as well as Chandler Parsons, who is now plying his wares with rival Dallas.  But, those offensive players did little to improve a Rockets’ defense that allowed 103 PPG last season.  The core of this year’s team will provide a stronger defensive unit.  In the center is Dwight Howard, one of the ultimate paint controllers. Recently acquired is Trevor Ariza, known for his defensive tenacity.  Running the show will be a more mature PG Beverly.  As usual, James Hardin provides his all-around offensive game.  This is again a playoff team in the West. 

For the Lakers, fortunes continue on a downward spiral.  The season looks little better than last. Kobe has recovered from Achilles and knee injuries to lead the attack.  Last year’s running mates, Gasol, now in Chicago and Steve Nash, out for the season with back surgery, make this a whole new team.  In addition, the Lakers enter the season a battered and bruised team.  Four contributors in the persons of Nick Young, Ryan Kelly, Xavier Henry, and Wayne Ellington will all miss tonight’s action.  Joining Kobe will be PG Lin (from tonight’s opponent), Carlos Boozer (from Chicago) and No. 1 pick Julius Randle (from Kentucky).  Even with hopes soaring to begin the season, it appears inevitable that the Lakers will miss the playoffs for consecutive seasons. 

Perhaps the most dominant aspect of this game, however, is the fact that Lakers’ 1st year HC Byron Scott (former Laker star) has understood that small steps are needed for long-term success.  As a result, look for Scott to maintain his verbalized philosophy that he will slow the pace.  This means a Laker defense that will allow significantly less than 109 PPG and afford us a clear opportunity to play the UNDER in this game for your NBA pick.   

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