NBA Picks Spurs ATS vs. Rockets for Tonight's Betting Action

David Lawrence

Thursday, November 6, 2014 1:54 PM GMT

The San Antonio Spurs defeated the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night, but they couldn’t have liked the way they played. Can they cut down the turnovers and play better against a red-hot Houston Rockets team? The Rockets are 3.5-point favorite on the NBA betting lines.

Why The Spurs Will Cover
The Spurs struggled with the Rockets last season, so there’s going to be a starting point in this game: San Antonio will want to establish a new tone against Houston and work to prevent the Rockets from being the aggressor during the regular season. San Antonio will be especially motivated to win an early-season game beyond a typical level.

A deeper and better reason to expect the Spurs to cover is that San Antonio just got done with an odd part of its schedule. Just a week into the season, the Spurs were given a four-day break. That seems crazy, but it did happen. The Spurs were off during a four-day stretch from Saturday through Tuesday. They didn’t play a single game during that time. San Antonio played Wednesday night against Atlanta, marking just the third game of the season for the team. Other NBA teams have played at least five if not six games by this point. The Spurs are rusty. What this means, though, is that while a lot of teams would have been in a position to suffer in the second half of a back-to-back set, the Spurs are probably thinking that they’re going to enjoy this particular back-to-back. They’re going to embrace the chance to get right back on court and improve their level of play. The commute from San Antonio to Houston is also a short one. It’s not as though this team will get into a hotel at three in the morning. This is a manageable travel situation for the Spurs.

 

Why The Rockets Will Cover
They're the team that’s playing the better level of basketball right now. James Harden, having played for the United States in the FIBA World Cup of Basketball, has seemingly learned the right lessons from American national coach Mike Krzyzewski. It’s been hard for Harden to buy into playing defense, but he’s done that so far with the Rockets. He looks like a more complete player, someone who really benefited from playing for the national team. Harden is averaging 27.2 points per game, which is very impressive, but not shocking. What actually stands out is how well Harden is distributing the ball, dishing 7.4 assists per game. He’s also hitting the boards, averaging just under seven rebounds a night. Harden and Dwight Howard are providing the Houston Rockets the production and leadership they need. A team that lost Chandler Parsons and was supposed to be not as good as last season has instead started the season with five straight wins.

Meanwhile, the Spurs – though 2-1 – don’t look very strong out of the gate. San Antonio isn’t even averaging 95 points per game. The Spurs committed 19 turnovers in their win over the Hawks, and they made only 31 field goals. Their three-point shooting checked in at 29 percent. This team is not playing nearly as well as Houston right now.

 

Outlook
The Rockets are a hotter team but the Spurs haven’t played that much and should be physically ready to burn off some rust and meet the challenge Houston will offer. The Spurs have actually played fairly well in their games this season but turnovers are what’s killed them. They’ll cut those out tonight and cover the NBA odds. Take them with your NBA picks.

Free NBA Picks: San Antonio +4

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