Grab Improving Heat & 'Over' Our NBA Picks vs. Struggling Rockets

Kevin Stott

Tuesday, February 2, 2016 12:19 PM GMT

Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2016 12:19 PM GMT

Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat head to the Toyota Center in Houston on Tuesday to face James Harden and the host Rockets in an inter-conference game. Let's check the NBA odds now!

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Final Score Prediction: Heat 107  Rockets 105
NBA Picks: Heat +5  & Over 204
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker

 

Miami Heat vs. Houston Rockets
James Harden and the Houston Rockets (25-25 SU, 15-12 Home) welcome Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat (27-21 SU, 11-12 Road) to the Toyota Center in Houston on Tuesday evening for this inter-conference showdown and second and final of two meetings between these teams this NBA Regular Season and first stop on a two-game Road trip through the Texas Triangle for the Heat who are in Dallas to face the Mavericks on Wednesday night (FSSW, SUN, 8:30 p.m. EST/5:3o p.m. PST). NBA odds makers here in Las Vegas have currently have the host Rockets as 5-point favorites (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook) with the game’s Total (Points) set at 203 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook). The Money Line Winner) odds here see James Harden and Houston priced as -210 favorites with the Heat lined at +175 on the takeback (Paddy Power). The Houston Rockets Team Total Points has been set at 104 (BetVictor) with the Miami Heat Team Total Points at 99½ (BetVictor) while the 1st Half odds see the Rockets as 2-point (-129) chalks (Winner).

 

Miami Heat
The Miami Heat (24-23-0 ATS, 12-11 ATS Road) and Head Coach Erik Spoelstra are in a nice little groove now, having W4 straight (and covering all four) heading into this affair in Houston. But the Rockets (80/1 to win NBA title, bet365) are missing one of their key cogs in C Hassan Whiteside (Oblique, Out Indefinitely) while PF Chris Andersen (Knee) is also Out Indefinitely (and scheduled to have surgery) and SG Tyler Johnson (Shoulder) is out until early April. So, without 2 of their top 7 scorers, Miami will need everyone else to step up if this evolves into a track meet or to try to play lockdown D against a team (Houston) which has been playing in some pretty high-scoring games lately. In their last game, Miami (95.9 ppg-95.6 ppg) defeated the Atlanta Hawks, 105-87 and covered ATS getting 3 points (Total 197½) and as this team slowly heals, it’s starting to play some better basketball. Whiteside has made the trip with the team to Texas but is still Questionable, although with the nature of Injury Reports in the NBA, Coaches and the Players themselves, no one is surprised when someone not supposed to play, plays and vice versa. Injury information in the NBA can almost be deemed unreliable in its nature, especially when compared to the NFL, NHL and MLB where what you read a day or two ahead of time (in terms of a specific player’s playing status for an upcoming game) is at least close to what actually ends up happening. Anyway, don’t be surprised if Miami decides to play big man Whiteside (11.2 rpg), although if he sits both games of this Texas swing nobody will be surprised. According to Rotowire, the Palm Beach Post and Jason Lieser reported that Heat Head Coach Spoelstra hinted that he didn’t expect to play Whiteside in this game, so maybe he avoids banging in the Paint with the Rockets Dwight Howard on Tuesday and comes back against the Mavericks on Wednesday in Big D where things may be a little bit safer.

 

Houston Rockets
Interim Head Coach JB Bickerstaff and Houston Rockets (21-29-0 ATS, 11-16-0 ATS Home) have hit the skids, again, and are in the midst of a 3-game Losing Streak and have quietly fallen back to the .500 mark (25-25 SU) and to a precarious 7th place in the Western Conference, some 20 games behind conference leader Golden State (44-4). Why? Crappy Defense and games at tough Western Conference foes San Antonio (L, 130-99) and Oklahoma City (L, 116-108). And SG James Harden (27.9 ppg, 7.0 apg) and the Rockets (105.1 PF-106.6 PA) have always been the type of NBA team which goes through streaks and seems to play harder at some times than others. And seeing the scores from recent Rockets (55/1 to win Western Conference, Paddy Power) games shows that a decline in Defense has been the main problem. In their last game, Houston fell 123-122 to the Washington Wizards here at Home at the Toyota Center (HOU -4½, 219) as Harden had a game-high 40 points as well as 11 assists, 7 rebounds and 4 steals in his 37 minutes of play. So maybe Houston is relying on star and leader Harden to try to do to much? And with an Interim HC, these Rockets may be a little like a rudderless ship with Harden at the wheel of the wayward vessel? This hasn’t been a great season in Houston and this may actually be a game in which the Heat can come into Houston and knock off veteran C Dwight Howard (11.8 ppg) and the hosts. It would surprise no one.

 

Series Trends, Logical Reasoning and Picks
Streaky, streaky, streaky. That’s what these two teams seem to be, both this season and in this series. For instance, the L3 meetings in this series have gone Under after seeing 4 straight Overs. And, Houston has L3 straight while Miami has W4 straight and covered the Spread in all 4. Betting basketball is hard enough, but with the streaks involved and quirky nature of team’s play, focusing on Totals and In-Game wagering and niche Props may provide a better approach for some bettors. Along with losing, the Rockets have been playing some really high-scoring games of late (245, 224, 229, 223 and 219 points) and have played 5 straight Overs with 8 of the L9 going Over the posted Total. Mo points equals mo money, mo money, mo money. And Houston has allowed 123, 116 and 130 points in its L3, so, whatever it is, Apathy, Scheduling, Poor Defense or just being Physically Tired, Rockets game are going Over of late. And a Wise Man on my Talking Picture Box said the other day when Houston was playing that when a team’s best player (Harden) is lazy on Defense that it makes it easier to for other players on that team to care little about D and expending energy on it. And he was spot on, and this too is handicapping. Words and numbers. And more numbers and more words.
In this series specifically, Bosh (19.2 ppg) and the Heat are 2-6 ATS in the L8 meetings—while the Rockets are 2-6 ATS the L8 against the Southeast Division—and Miami and Slovenian PG Goran Dragic (5.1 apg) have actually W7 of the L10 meetings SU, something significant for bettors to think about. Miami is just 2-11 ATS in its L13 games played on a Tuesday and the Under is 15-7-1 ATS the L23 Heat Road games, although the Over is a strong 16-5 ATS in the Rockets L21 overall and 8-2 ATS in Houston’s L10 games here in the Toyota Center. With Rockets games going Over at such a solid rate and Miami likely unable to do anything about slowing the pace on hostile hardwood, taking the Over and the Underdog Heat—in a game they can very well win—and the 5 points are the two NBA picks here.

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