Friday Double-Dribble: Mismatch of Season in Suns-Rockets?

rockets suns

Jordan Sharp

Friday, March 30, 2018 2:42 PM UTC

Friday, Mar. 30, 2018 2:42 PM UTC

We were able to split a pair of NBA Picks on Thursday thanks to the Pacers not covering and an easy winning ticket on the under between the Bulls and Heat. Now here on Friday, the odds once again are ripe for the picking.

Suns at RocketsFree NBA Pick: Over 218Best Line Offered: 5Dimes

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Suns-Rockets has by far the biggest spread of the night and one of the biggest of the season. Now the question is: Can we extract some value from this massive spread, or is there a better wager between two completely opposite teams?

The last time these teams played one another in Houston in January, the spread was -14½ in favor of Houston, and they ended up winning by 9 points. However, the situations for both teams were much different then. The Rockets were coming off a road trip and just starting to hit their stride. Their win over the Suns was actually the start of their 17-game winning streak that helped them climb up the Western Conference standings.

The Suns, meanwhile, might have a ton of guys missing on Friday as they try to tank their way to the best lottery odds. T.J. Warren, Elfrid Payton, and Alex Len all didn’t practice on Thursday, and Warren has already been ruled out. Devin Booker put in a little practice, but the Suns will likely hold him out too because, well …

While the Rockets are a slightly better team now than in January, with the addition of Joe Johnson, they might be without Chris Paul on Friday, who is dealing with a hip injury. Whether or not Paul is actually injured, or just being held out for precautionary reasons, the Rockets are going to have no trouble winning this game. Trevor Ariza is also questionable, but with all the Suns questionable or out, it shouldn’t matter much.

When the Sixers were really bad and "Trusting the Process" back in 2014, they played three games as +19½ underdogs or greater. They went 1-2 ATS in that time frame, but 20-point spreads are so rare in the NBA, that it makes it tough to handicap just based on the history of the number. Tonight the Suns are opening 18-point underdogs with the potential for the Rockets to hold out guys.

The Nets covered as 20-point dogs once last season against the Warriors, but with all the Suns’ injuries I doubt they accomplish the same feat. The Warriors’ loss on Thursday allowed the Rockets to already clinch the top spot in the West, so either way Houston has nothing to play for over the rest of the season other than rhythm and warming up for the playoffs. That might lead to them resting some players and this one turning into a track meet. With a total of just 218 points, look for the 'over' to be the play on this very lopsided game no matter who plays.

Wolves at MavericksFree NBA Pick: Over 216½Best Line Offered: Pinnacle

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The Wolves got a much-needed win on Wednesday against the tanking Atlanta Hawks, and it was all behind a huge game from Karl-Anthony Towns. If Towns can continue to carry the Wolves until Jimmy Butler gets back, they are going to be a tough out in the first round of the playoffs. However, as I’ve mentioned before, the Wolves’ defense has turned to mush without Butler on the wing.

Minnesota gave up 114 points to a Hawks offense that was without their best two offensive players. There is no reason they should have been this bad, but with Minnesota giving up nearly 110 points on the road and over their last five games, the 'over' is looking like a strong bet tonight.

The Mavs have been playing much faster and looser as they tank their way towards the end of the season. This has led to younger players getting more minutes, and a lot less defense. The Mavs are allowing 107.2 points per game over their last five, and they have scored around 107 per game at home since the All-Star break. Against a Wolves defense that has been one of the worst since the break and even worse without Butler, the Mavs should be able to score at will. If that’s the case, look for the 'over' to be a valuable NBA wager.

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