NBA Picks: Lay Spurs Chalky Odds At Home Over Struggling Rockets

Jason Lake

Saturday, January 2, 2016 1:09 PM GMT

The Houston Rockets upset the San Antonio Spurs on Christmas Day. That should make the Spurs a solid NBA pick for Saturday's rematch at AT&T Center – chalk notwithstanding.

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NBA Pick: Spurs -11
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

 

Jason's 2015-16 record as of Jan. 1: 11-11-1 ATS, 4-1 Total

 

Christmas was the most wonderful time of the year for the Houston Rockets. The San Antonio Spurs? They might not have felt the same way after dropping an 88-84 decision to Houston (+7.5 at home). This was the Rockets at their near-best: strong defense, outside shooting, good ball movement. They must have slept well that night, knowing all their problems had been solved.

Not so fast. Houston has lost three straight SU and ATS to fall back under .500 at 16-18 SU and 13-21 ATS. And look who's coming up this Saturday night: the Spurs. In San Antonio. The Rockets are 11-point underdogs on the NBA odds with a total of 200.5, and our early consensus reports show 60 percent of bettors on the home side. Tip-off is at 8:30PM ET.

 

Turkey Lurkey
Houston's mini-slump seems to have re-ignited that dark narrative that surrounded the team at Thanksgiving, when the Rockets were 5-10 SU and 3-13 ATS. I could be wrong, but I think that's hogwash. Losing three games by a combined 12 points is no big whoop. It was a road game in New Orleans and a pair of close shaves against Atlanta and Golden State. C'mon.

Things could be better, don't get me wrong. James Harden (–0.6 DBPM) is having one of his off-years on defense. There isn't a lot of depth after the Rockets shipped four reserves to the Denver Nuggets for Ty Lawson (9.4 PER, –5.3 BPM). But hey, Lawson's play has improved lately. Maybe that two-game suspension gave him the time he needed to reflect on his life and resolve to do better in the future. Or maybe it's just regression toward the mean. Whatevs.

 

Gunter Glieben Glauchen Boban
The Spurs (28-6 SU, 23-11 ATS) managed to shake off the Christmas blues and win their next three games at 2-1 ATS, all while Tim Duncan (17.5 PER, +5.1 BPM) was sitting out with a sore knee. Duncan is expected to play on Saturday. Hey, you can afford to sit Duncan when you've got a guy like Boban Marjanovic (32.2 PER, +3.3 BPM) on your team. Yes, those stats are correct at press time, as per Basketball-Reference.

We need to talk about Boban. He's been a cult figure in San Antonio pretty much since arriving in town this summer – being 7-foot-3 might have something to do with that. But Marjanovic is a seasoned Euro with soft hands and a surprising amount of mobility. Of course, his massive stats might not hold up over a larger sample size, and he mostly plays against the other team's bench. Fine. The minutes that Marjanovic does give the Spurs have been so good, it makes it much easier to put them in our NBA picks, despite all that chalk.