NBA Pick: Phoenix Suns +11½ over Houston Rockets

LT Profits Sports Group

Wednesday, March 13, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

Wednesday, Mar. 13, 2013 4:00 AM UTC

The Rockets are fighting to hold on to a playoff spot, but their defense simply gives up too many points for Houston to be trusted giving double-digits, and the Suns beat them Saturday.

The home team looks overvalued on Wednesday night as the Phoenix Suns (22-42, 7-25 away) pay a visit to those Houston Rockets (34-30, 20-9 home) at the Toyota Center, Houston, TX at 8:05 ET.

The point spread at Bookmaker Sportsbook has Phoenix as a double-digit underdog for this contest with the current line at +11½ with odds of -110.

The Rockets are currently the seventh seeds in the Western Conference, but the are only one-half game ahead of the eighth seeded Lakers and, more importantly, one game from being out of the playoffs as that is their lead over the ninth seeded Utah Jazz. Houston did win a big game at Golden State on Friday, but it then followed up by losing to its opponent tonight, the lowly Phoenix Suns, 107-105 in the desert on Saturday.

That inconsistency is inevitable when you play the style that Houston does, which is run the floor as much as possible while trying to get more good scoring chances than the opponent, effectively treating defense as an afterthought. As a result, the Rockets lead the NBA in both scoring with 106.8 points per game and in pace rating at 98.8 possessions. Unfortunately, another result is that they rank second to last in points against at 103.6 per game.

That alone makes it very difficult to trust the Rockets as double-digit favorites, and the road win over the Warriors has been one of the few highlights for a team that is 2-5 ATS in the last seven games while allowing 105.0 points per game in those contests, including surrendering an ungodly 108.8 points per in the five non-covers!

Speaking of inconsistency, the Rockets are now 1-6 ATS in their last seven games vs. teams with losing straight up records, an indication that Houston plays down to its competition, and when the Rockets lost in Phoenix on Saturday, they lost to a Suns’ team at was without its two centers and still got out-rebounded 47-39.

Granted that was the only Phoenix victory and cover in the last four games, but the good news is that center Jermaine O’Neal has rejoined the team after his daughter has successful heart surgery and he is probable to return tonight and may even start. Forward Luis Scola has been starting out of position at center so the former Rocket is one person glad to see O’Neal back.

Furthermore, this will be the first game for Scola and fellow former Rocket Goran Dragic, who leads the Suns both in points (14.1 per game) and assists (6.9), in Houston as visiting players, so both will have added incentive.

Do not forget that the last time the Suns were double-digit underdogs, they shocked the San Antonio Spurs outright on the road! While they may not pull off another stunner here, they do seem more than capable of hanging inside this big spread vs. a defenseless team on Wednesday.


NBA Pick: Suns +11½ (-110)

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