Free NBA Picks: Magic vs. Rockets

Joe Freda

Monday, April 1, 2013 3:15 PM GMT

Will Houston’s hot UNDER trend continue here, or will Orlando’s presence loosen up this duel? Let our free NBA picks help you cash in with your betting ticket tonight.

The Houston Rockets have held their opposition to 93.2 PPG in their last nine contests, leading to UNDER backers cashing at 8-1. Monday’s NBA matchup has Kevin McHale’s club hosting the Orlando Magic, who have surrendered a sizable 107.3 PPG in their last six road dates.

NBA Odds makers have opened the Rockets as 12 point favorites, and the total has been set at 202.5. While many bettors might be looking at adding an ATS play to their ticket, I believe that the best betting value lies in the total.

Let's breakdown this matchup and decide what the best options are for our NBA picks tonight.

Also check out our NBA Picks: Monday Value Picks for more free plays.

Rockets, Asik blast by Clippers

Houston logged its fourth win in six games with Saturday’s 98-81 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers, cashing as one-point home ‘chalk.’ The Rockets held Los Angeles to a 39.7 percent night from the floor, while outscoring the Clippers in paint points, 48-26.

Rockets center Omer Asik came away with 13 points and 12 boards, finishing with his second double-double in five contests. Houston’s Chander Parsons and Jeremy Lin united for seven assists, notching 15 points each.

The battle’s combined 179 points plunged below the ‘total’ of 206, with the Rockets hitting 19-of-27 free throws. Asik added two of his side’s five blocks, while he and his mates edged out Los Angeles in rebounds, 48-38.

Magic, Udrih fall short in Atlanta

Orlando saw action on the same night’s card, picking up its ninth loss in 10 matchups with a 97-88 defeat to the Atlanta Hawks. The Magic saw an early eight-point lead erased, while holding on to collect as an 11-point road dog.

Magic guard Beno Udrih notched team-highs of 20 points and eight assists, while mate Moe Harkless logged three of his squad’s 10 steals. Orlando’s Nikola Vucevic and Tobias Harris united for 28 points and 25 boards, leading their side to outrebound Atlanta, 53-44.

The duel’s 185 points dipped below the ‘total’ of 202 ½, moving the UNDER to 4-3 in Orlando’s last seven contests. Magic mates Kyle O’Quinn and E’Twaun Moore were held to a combined 1-for-9 from the floor, with O’Quinn fouling out after 23 minutes of action.

[gameodds]5/223542/43/us[/gameodds]

Back the OVER in Houston

Orlando’s Jameer Nelson (7.4 APG) and Houston’s James Harden (26 PPG) are both listed as “doubtful” for Monday’s matchup due to ankle and foot injuries, respectively. Both squads have one day off following the affair, with Wednesday’s card sending the Magic to San Antonio while Houston heads west to meet the Sacramento Kings.

I am backing the OVER in this battle as part of Monday’s NBA picks, looking for the octane of March’s 118-110 victory for the Rockets in Orlando to surface again here. 

Harden led the Rockets in points and assists that night, but Chandler Parsons and Carlos Delfino also piled in their own buckets with 21 points each. The duo drilled a combined 8-of-16 shots from three-point land, soaring the contest’s 228 points beyond its ‘total’ of 213.

Nelson missed that duel for the Magic, leading to the tandem of Harris and Vucevic uniting to put up 45 points in the veteran’s absence. Orlando went on to shoot 56.4 percent from the floor, while allowing a 54.5 percent mark from the Rockets. 

Look for the points to go north again here, adding another cashed ticket to the OVER’s 14-4 mark in Orlando’s last 18 matchups against Western Conference foes.

Free NBA Pick:  Take the "Over" at 5Dimes