NBA Picks: Lakers vs. Rockets

Jeff Grant

Tuesday, January 8, 2013 3:08 PM GMT

Tuesday, Jan. 8, 2013 3:08 PM GMT

The Los Angeles Lakers are 0-3 SU/ATS in the month of January, as they prepare to play the front end of a back-to-back situation in the Lone Star State against the Houston Rockets. Let’s take a closer look at this Western Conference affair from a NBA betting perspective.


Injuries mounting up

Los Angeles will play Tuesday night’s game without its two biggest threats in the paint, as it looks to snap a three-game losing streak, as it has allowed opponents to score 100-plus points in each of those contests. Pau Gasol (concussion) and Dwight Howard (shoulder) will be missing from the starting lineup, which has caused the franchise to bring up Robert Sacre, who was the last player taken in this year’s draft. 

Streaking

Houston has won four games in a row by scoring at least 104 points in each contest, including a 112-104 victory over the Cleveland Cavaliers as six-point road favorites Saturday, while going OVER the total for the fifth time in six opportunities. The Rockets managed to pick up their last two wins despite being down by double-digit deficits, as they lead the league in averaging 106.2 points per game. The franchise has compiled a 20-13-1 against-the-spread (ATS) record through 24 games. 

Black Mamba is capable of striking 

Sports bettors need to be very careful in overlooking the Lakers when making their NBA picks against the spread Tuesday, as Kobe Bryant owns the most 40-point performances ever registered against the Rockets with eight, while he currently leads the NBA in averaging 30.5 points per game this season. It’s still important to note that the favorite has covered the NBA betting lines in the first two meetings of this series.

Harden is the key

James Harden was named Western Conference Player of the Week for games played Dec. 31-Jan. 6, while he’s posted 20-plus points in a career-high 16 consecutive games. Houston acquired the former Oklahoma City Thunder Sixth Man during the offseason—a move that has paid off in a big way for one of the younger teams in the NBA. Harden is averaging 26.4 points, 4.2 rebounds and 5.3 assists on the season. 

Back-to-back situation

There’s no question that the Lakers fall into a difficult situation against the Rockets, considering they’ve lost both of their front end games when playing a back-to-back situation on the road. Los Angeles is also 5-10 SU ATS when competing away from the Staples Center this year.

We have added this game to our NBA Picks of the Day, so be sure to check out our predictions.

Prediction 

I’m going to recommend that readers back the Los Angeles Lakers as one of their NBA picks, as Bryant did manage to score 39 points in the first meeting in Houston, while Gasol didn’t participate in that affair. There’s no betting line available in the market at this time, but the visitor may be better off without Howard, as he missed 8 of 16 shots from the free throw line in Houston on Dec. 4. 

NBA Pick: Los Angeles Lakers +7 or higher 

[gameodds]5/133806/19-43-999996-1096-238-93/us[/gameodds]

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