By the Numbers: Rockets Launch, Blazers Sizzle on Highway

rockets wolves

Swinging Johnson

Sunday, March 18, 2018 2:07 PM UTC

Sunday, Mar. 18, 2018 2:07 PM UTC

By The Numbers is an NBA picks column that runs each Sunday throughout the season and focuses on historical trends, game-time matchups, and the prevailing odds. Let’s see what looks good for today.

NBA: By The NumbersRockets (55-14 SU, 36-33 ATS) vs. Timberwolves (40-30 SU, 32-35-3 ATS)Free NBA Pick: Rockets -7Best Line Offered: JustBet

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What's Trending

Minnesota is 2-5 ATS in their last seven games following a straight-up loss.

Minnesota is 2-7 ATS in their last nine games following an ATS loss.

Minnesota is 1-4 ATS in their last five games as an underdog of 5.0-10.5.

Houston is 5-0 ATS in their last five after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game.

Houston is 6-1 ATS in their last seven games following an ATS loss.

Houston is 7-1 ATS in their last eight games as a road favorite of 5.0-10.5.

Analysis

The Minnesota Timberwolves had a modest two-game winning streak under their belts and three days to prepare for their date with San Antonio on Saturday night. Unfortunately, the Spurs’ LaMarcus Aldridge decided to send the Wolves home unhappy, scoring 39 points and grabbing 10 rebounds in San Antonio’s 117-101 victory. Minnesota is now 4-4 straight up and against the spread without their resident superstar Jimmy Butler, recovering from knee surgery.

What else can you say about the Rockets that hasn’t been said? Houston has the best record in the league and has won 21 of their last 22 games while covering on the NBA odds board in 13 of those contests. The Rockets also played on Saturday but their result was far more positive with a 107-101 win over New Orleans. That did little to comfort those who included the Rockets in their NBA picks, as Houston was installed as 8½-point road chalk.

Houston has beaten Minnesota and covered the number in the previous three meetings this season. Amazingly, the margin of victory has been exactly 18 points in all three games and I don’t see how this one will be any different. At least the T-Wolves had Butler playing in those three other games, but his absence certainly doesn’t help Minnesota’s cause. Back the Rockets and lay the seven.

Trail Blazers (43-26 SU, 39-25-5 ATS) vs. Clippers (37-31 SU, 37-30-1 ATS)Free NBA Pick: Trail Blazers +2½Best Line Offered: BetOnline

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What's Trending

Los Angeles is 0-4 ATS in their last four games as a favorite.

Los Angeles is 3-8 ATS in their last 11 home games.

Los Angeles is 1-4 ATS in their last five home games vs. a team with a winning road record.

Portland is 7-0 ATS in their last seven games vs. a team with a winning straight-up record.

Portland is 13-6-2 ATS in their last 21 games playing on zero day’s rest.

Portland is 17-4-1 ATS in their last 22 after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game.

Analysis

The Trail Blazers just may be the most unheralded story of the year. But if they keep winning, they won’t be a secret much longer. Portland has reeled off 12 consecutive victories, but what’s even more amazing is that they have covered the number in all but one of those contests. These teams have split this season series; the Clippers won 104-103 in Portland in October, while the Blazers returned the favor with a 104-96 win in L.A. at the end of January.

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Twelve minutes. pic.twitter.com/FN8GW5lioT

— Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) March 18, 2018
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The Clips are slightly favored on the NBA odds board for two reasons, aside from their home-court advantage. First and foremost, Portland had to hustle out of the Motor City on Saturday night with a 100-87 win over the Pistons in tow and fly to Los Angeles for tonight's game. Secondly, there are those who subscribe to the look-ahead theory. In this case, Portland might be looking ahead to their date with the best team in the league on Tuesday night when they face the Rockets. Three days later they will welcome one of the premier teams in the East when the Celtics come to town.

I understand that Portland could be out of gas and out of luck tonight, but the Clippers are not playing inspired ball and have fallen 1½ games out of the playoff picture. With our NBA picks, let’s take the 2½ points and back the hottest team in the league. Go Blazers!

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