NBA Picks: Rockets vs. Lakers

Jeff Grant

Wednesday, April 17, 2013 12:19 PM GMT

The Los Angeles Lakers will earn a spot in the 2013 NBA playoffs with a victory Wednesday night, as they prepare to host the Houston Rockets. Where does the best NBA betting value lie in this matchup?


Let’s take a closer look at the NBA odds for this Western Conference matchup, with the opening tip scheduled for 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

All about seeding

Houston still has a chance to earn the sixth seed in the upcoming Western Conference playoffs with a victory in this affair, but it could also fall to the No. 8 spot and end up playing the Oklahoma City Thunder. 

The Rockets have alternated wins and losses over their last six games, as they attempt to bounce back from a 119-112 setback to the Phoenix Suns as 7.5-point road favorites Monday, while going OVER the total for a second consecutive contest. 

Over the course of the season, the team has gone 8-7 straight up (SU) and 5-10 against the spread (ATS) off a upset loss as a favorite, with the UNDER going 10-5 in that situation.

Take a look at our daily NBA Odds & Betting Lines report.

Lay it on the line 

Los Angeles has won four games in a row, including a 91-86 victory over the San Antonio Spurs as 3.5-point home underdogs Sunday, while going UNDER the total for the first time in five contests.   

The Lakers will be playing their second game without the services of star shooting guard Kobe Bryant, who is out for the rest of the year with a torn Achilles, as they hope to avoid missing the postseason for the first time since 2005. 

It’s very important to keep a close eye on things at FedExForum, as a Utah Jazz’ loss against the Memphis Grizzlies would automatically place the Lakers in the postseason. 

Not a great situation 

NBA handicappers will find that the Lakers are 1-2 SU and 0-2-1 ATS as home favorites of three points or less this season, while the UNDER has cashed in all of those contests. 

Los Angeles has also failed to cover the spread in four of its five home games with a betting total between 200 and 204.5, with the OVER going 4-1 in that situation. 

Top offense 

Houston ranks first in the NBA in averaging 106.1 points per game, as it attempts to finish atop that particular category for just the second time in franchise history.   

The Rockets are second in the league in averaging 18.6 fast-break points per game, while ranking third in points in the paint (46.2). 

Guard James Harden is the player to watch on the offensive end, as he ranks fifth in the NBA in averaging 25.9 points per game, which has been helped along by leading all players with 780 free throw attempts.

[gameodds]5/224980/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction 

I’m going to recommend that readers play the total as one of their NBA picks Wednesday night—but only if the Lakers need to win in order to reach the postseason. 

The OVER is 4-1 when the Lakers play at home with a betting total between 200 and 204.5.

NBA Pick:  Over 203 at BetOnline