NBA Picks: Rockets vs. Pacers

Joe Freda

Friday, January 18, 2013 1:03 PM GMT

The Indiana Pacers and Houston Rockets have both struggled at NBA betting windows as of late, combining for a 1-9 spread record in their last five duels. Which one of these teams will pull through for our sports picks tonight?

Friday’s league slate has the clubs squaring off at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, with the Pacers returning home after a three-game road trip. Which side will find some spark to get the money here?

Pacers, George outgunned in Orlando

Indiana trailed by as many as 22 points in Wednesday’s 97-86 defeat to the Orlando Magic, held to a 2-for-17 night beyond the arc. The Pacers outscored Orlando in the paint, 46-30, while edging out the Magic in boards, 44-40.

Pacers forward Paul George notched team-highs of 20 points and 10 rebounds, finishing with his fifth straight double-double. Indiana’s George Hill logged six assists and two steals, while hitting 7-of-16 field buckets en route to 15 points.

The battle’s combined 183 points fell well below the NBA betting lines listed ‘total’ of 186 ½, moving the UNDER to 11-2 in the Pacers’ last 13 games. Indiana sank 10-of-12 free throws, while Pacers mates David West and Roy Hibbert united for four of their squad’s seven blocks.

Rockets, Harden edged out by Mavs

Houston’s latest defeat came in Wednesday’s 105-100 setback as a four-point road dog against the Dallas Mavericks. The Rockets were held to 39.3 percent field shooting, trailing by as many as 15 points.

Rockets guard James Harden logged 20 points and eight boards, while adding team-highs of seven assists and three steals. Houston’s Omer Asik came away with 12 points and 15 rebounds, while mate Chandler Parsons drilled 4-of-6 shots from three-point land.

The duel’s combined 205 points dipped below the ‘total’ of 213, making the UNDER 3-2 in the Rockets’ last five contests. Houston outrebounded the Mavericks, 52-47, while edging Dallas in paint points, 40-38.

[gameodds]5/134349/43/us[/gameodds]

Back the Pacers at home

The NBA odds makers at 5Dimes.eu opened Indiana as a 5 ½-point home favorite, with initial Rockets wagers dropping the number a ‘hook’ to five. The ‘total’ was first set at 195, remaining unchanged in mixed early action.

I am adding a ticket on Indiana to my NBA picks for Friday, looking for the Pacers to pull away in this spot. Indiana has held foes to 82.6 PPG in its last 10 home dates, cashing at 6-4 ATS in that span.

Pacers big man Roy Hibbert has logged 12 blocks over his last three games, bringing the Georgetown alum to rank second in the Eastern Conference (2.7 BPG). Last April’s most recent matchup between the Pacers and Rockets saw Hibbert register five of his squad’s 10 blocks, while adding nine rebounds.

Houston is 5-11 ATS in its last 16 road spots against clubs with winning home records, while giving up 105 PPG in its last three spots away from home. The Rockets’ octane has dropped from a recent mid-season surge, while facing a Pacers’ squad here who has held visitors to 41.8 percent field shooting on its floor.

Indiana is 7-0 ATS in its last seven spots that followed a defeat of more than 10 points and is in position to bounce back again here. For your Fridan night sports picks, look for the Pacers to get the money in their return home, while the Rockets struggle to find the rims.

NBA Pick:  Indiana Pacers -5