Fade Rockets At Orlando & Make Magic's Short Spread Your NBA Pick

Charles Stark

Wednesday, December 23, 2015 12:39 PM GMT

Wednesday, Dec. 23, 2015 12:39 PM GMT

The Houston Rockets come to visit the Orlando Magic tonight. Even though Houston has been playing a little better, we don't think they are the right fit for our NBA picks.

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Free NBA Pick: Orlando -1½
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

NBA Odds Overview
NBA odds have Orlando as a small -1.5 -105 favorite like at Pinnacle. There is a question whether or not Elfrid Payton will be able to play, but whether he does or not, for my NBA pick, I like the Magic to win this game by five or more points. Houston has played a little bit better as of recently, but I simply don't think they have turned the corner yet.

 

Houston Rockets
Houston is averaging 104.2 points per game, while shooting 43.4% for the field and allowing 105.6 points per game on 46.2% shooting from the field. Recently they're playing a bit better having won three in a row, but I'm not putting a lot of stock into that because one of the games was against the Lakers, and another one against the Clippers off a back to back at home. Offensively the Rockets ranked fourth in the league in points per game and they have been great in transition ranking fourth in fast-break points. They are also fairly efficient ranking ninth in the league in shooting efficiency and hitting 49.2% of their two-point shots. They like to push tempo and shoot the three leading the league at 31.4 attempts per game, and ranking second in making them at 10.6 per contest. The defensive side is where they have struggled a lot and they rank as the third worst scoring defense in the league. Up and down statistically they've been really bad on this side of the floor and rank worst in the league in allowing opponents 51.5% on their two-point shots. They defend the three decently well, allowing just 33.9% from distance, but Orlando has some good interior play led by Nikola Vucevic and Houston ranks second to last in the NBA allowing 46.5 points in the paint per game.

 

Orlando Magic
Orlando is averaging 100.9 points per game while shooting 44.7% from the field, and allowing 98.5 points per game on 43.3% shooting from the field. When Scott Skiles took over this young and talented team, I really thought that they would make quite the turnaround this season, and they have. Offensively there is not a ton for them to brag about, but they do average 43.6 points in the paint per game which ranks eighth in the NBA, and that should cause Houston some worry. They don't shoot the three particularly well, but they like to push tempo and they're decently efficient averaging 38.9 field goals made per game which ranks fifth in the NBA. Defensively is where this team is made the most strides, again to be expected under Skiles, they rank sixth in the NBA in scoring defense and forth in opponent field goals made per game at just 35.5 per contest. They also ranked eighth in opponent shooting percentage and sixth in opponent points in the paint allowing just 38.6 per game.

With Houston on a bit of a winning streak, I can see why people would want to grab the Rockets to win this game, especially if Payton is out. This Orlando team, though, is deep enough to win this game without him, and I look for them to continue playing well like they have in their last five games. For one of your NBA picks, I suggest taking Orlando minus a small number to take care of Houston at home.

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