NBA Picks: Grizzlies vs. Rockets

Steven Suarez

Friday, April 12, 2013 2:33 PM GMT

Friday, Apr. 12, 2013 2:33 PM GMT

Two locked and loaded playoff teams will try to get the best of one another tonight. Let's look at the opening odds and decide where the best value lies for our sports picks tonight.

Is it the Grizzlies or Rockets that we are siding with, or are we focusing on a total play instead?

Odds Overview

Houston's been playing well, and that paired with home-court advantage is why we see James Harden and company favored by 2.5 points. 

At time of this writing, the NBA odds have offered the total in the 193.5 to 194 range, and we don't foresee much movement on that number. The UNDER is 6-0 in Memphis' past six games overall and 9-1 in Houston's previous 10 at home.

[gameodds]5/224561/43/us[/gameodds]

Memphis Grizzlies

The Grizzlies are still in the hunt for home-court advantage, meaning a win tonight would set them up nicely with only a few games left on the regular season schedule.

They've been on a roll lately, winning two in a row and six of their last seven. Included in there are some nice wins over the likes of San Antonio (92-90) and this same Houston team (103-94), with their sole loss coming in L.A. against the Lakers.

On Tuesday, Memphis topped Charlotte 94-75 to cover for backers as 13.5-point favorites.

As expected, the Grizzlies dominated the weak Bobcats in the paint, outscoring them 50-34. Zach Randolph had 11 points and 13 rebounds in only 26 minutes of work, while Mike Conley came up with 20 points and seven assists (with no turnovers) in the win.

Memphis now will try to get similar results on the road, though they haven't been making much money for those that have backing them with their sports picks. The Grizzlies have gone 2-6-1 ATS over their nine most recent road contests ahead of tonight. 

Houston Rockets 

It wasn't easy, but the Rockets held off Phoenix to win 101-98 on Tuesday, thanks to a goaltending call on a last-second James Harden three.

The win was Houston's fifth in their last six, with the defeat coming on the road versus Denver. The Rockets, however, haven't covered a spread in two straight games and are just 3-5 ATS over their last eight. 

Against the Suns, Harden was the catalyst, as usual. He had 33 points (9-of-21 FG), six rebounds, and six assists, more than making up for his nine turnovers. Omer Asik was a monster inside, grabbing 22 rebounds in just over 38 minutes.

The Rockets are starting to approach full health at just the right time. Carlos Delfino (foot) practiced and is expected to return to action tonight, while Chandler Parsons (calf, questionable) could also play. 

Houston will need everyone they can get against an extremely well-coached and disciplined Memphis team. The Rockets have put up a whopping 110.8 points per game over their last five – will they be able to even come close to that number against the Grizzlies?

Take a look at our predictions for the First Round Playoff Matchups.

NBA Pick 

To us, this game is too hard to predict in regards to the spread, as both Memphis and Houston are playing good ball. We don't see much value for our NBA picks on either side.

So, let's turn our attention towards a total play with our sports picks. Though the UNDER has been hitting at a high rate for Memphis lately, we believe the OVER is the way to go tonight. 

The Grizzlies are known for their defensive intensity, but every now and then they have the ability to keep pace on the offensive end. That could easily happen here against a Houston team that's allowed 106.6 PPG over their last five.

In a battle between two vastly different teams, we see offense taking center stage. Good luck! 

Free NBA Pick: OVER 193.5

Take a look at our NBA Picks of the Day for more free plays.
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