NBA Picks: Slumpy Offenses Lead Rockets & Lakers To Go 'Under'

Jordan Sharp

Sunday, January 17, 2016 5:15 PM UTC

Sunday, Jan. 17, 2016 5:15 PM UTC

The NBA Odds have the Rockets as -9 road favorites with a total of 206½ points, but with injuries on both sides, is any bet on this game safe? What will be our NBA pick?

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Free NBA Pick: Under 206½
Best Line Offered: at BetOnline


Injuries Question Marks
One of the bigger reasons the NBA odds were late coming out for this game is the wealth of injuries for both teams. For the Lakers, Kobe Bryant might not be able to play tonight due to his most recent injury. His Achilles is sore, and for a guy who is 37 years old and has already had Achilles surgery recently, my guess is that they will be cautious and not play him tonight.

Seeing that he is home and people going to the games have probably seen a lot of Kobe in the past, it would surprise me to see him suit up for this one. Even though Bryant obviously wants to play in every game on his retirement tour, especially against his former teammate/nemesis, Dwight Howard, there is also a chance that Howard might miss this game as well.

Howard has an oblique strain and is also questionable for this one, and if he doesn’t play it will both take away from the Rockets offense and defense. Patrick Beverley is also questionable for this one with an ankle injury, so with all the question marks for this game, the total might be a better wager.

With the potential that Kobe might miss this one, the Lakers’ offense might suffer a lot because of it. In games that Bryant has missed this season, the Lakers are averaging fewer than 90 points per game, and even though the Rockets have a horrible defense regardless if Howard plays or not, the under might be a tremendous speculative play between these two with a high total of 206 ½ points. Teams have the same Offensive Rating this season when Howard is on and off the court, and with the way the Lakers score this season regardless of Kobe plays, the under is the play for this one.


The Sharp Pick
The under has been a great NBA pick for the Lakers this season regardless, but at home they are 12-5 cashing the under at Staples Center this season, and the under has cashed in eight of their last nine games at home. The under is also 6-3 for the Lakers in their last nine games overall, and 23-18-1 on the season.

Even though the Rockets have cashed the over in four of their last five games, four of the last five times these two teams have played the total went under, including the last meeting this season where the final score ended at 107-87. I could easily see a final score similar to that tonight.

Houston has actually been better on defense this season in conference games giving up fewer than 103 points per game, and even though the Lakers have been horrible against their conference this season, they are only averaging 95.6 points per game against Western Conference teams this season.

The Lakers are only averaging 87 points per game in their last four contests, and after only scoring 77 points against the Cavs two nights ago, the Rockets aren’t necessarily setting the league on fire with their offense recently. With two below average teams, look for the offense to be below average tonight, so take the under and add it to your NBA picks for Sunday.

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