NBA Picks: Take Lakers +6 To Handle Business At Home vs. Rockets

Swinging Johnson

Thursday, December 17, 2015 3:13 PM GMT

Let’s see what the NBA odds are offering on this Western Conference clash tonight as the Rockets hope to salvage the final game on a road trip, while the Lakers snapped a six-game losing streak.

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Free NBA Pick: Lakers +6
Best Line Offered: at GTBets

 

Houston Rockets (12-14 SU, 9-17 ATS)
Lofty expectations and high hopes were the calling cards for the Houston Rockets prior to the season, but so far they have fallen well short with a porous defense that is allowing 107.1 points per game, and whispers that the franchise face Dwight Howard may be dealt to parts unknown. Howard has seen a significant drop from his career average of 18.2 points per game to just 12.6 this season. Much of that has to do with his lack of ball handling in the front court where he ranks 159th in the league. In order for the Rockets to succeed, they need their big man in the middle to become far more involved as evidenced by their 7-1 record when he scores at least 14 points but are just 5-10 when he has seven field goal attempts or less or doesn’t play at all.

In their last outing on Tuesday night, the pattern continued as Dwight Howard found himself in foul trouble early and was generally ineffective finishing with only four points and four rebounds in a 107-97 loss to the Sacramento Kings. The win snapped the Kings’ eight-game losing streak to the Rockets and easily covered the 2½ point impost that the NBA odds makers offered on the home favorites.

Must Read: Thursday's O/U NBA Picks

Los Angeles Lakers (4-21 SU, 9-16 ATS)
Prior to Tuesday night’s 113-95 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks, the Lakers were in the midst of a six-game losing streak, and for those who had the misfortune of backing them in their NBA picks during that shame spiral, the team covered on only two of those six occasions. But Tuesday night was a golden opportunity to lay the 3½ points at home versus the Bucks who had just snapped Golden State’s ridiculous 28-game winning streak dating back to last season. Milwaukee was still savoring their shocking victory when the Lakers took full advantage with Kobe Bryant registering 22 points in what is, as of this moment, a highlight of his swan song season.

Though the Bucks are among the weak sisters of the league falling to 10-17 after their loss, it was a pivotal game for Los Angeles on several counts. The Lakers had a series of highs with 26 team assists coupled with 18 offensive rebounds, and for the first time this season, had seven players scoring in double-digits. The team also led by its largest margin (22) all season and recorded their largest margin of victory since March of 2014. Nevertheless, the Lakers remain mired in the Western Conference basement with only four wins on the season and in the lower third of all the major statistical categories.

 

Betting Analysis
The Rockets are 4-0 straight up and against the number versus the Lakers over the past three seasons with their latest meeting on Saturday night resulting in a 126-97 shellacking of the Lakers in Houston. The last time these teams met at the Staples Center was in January of last season where the Rockets were installed as nine-point road favorites and covered the spread with a 99-87 win.

The Rockets are once again favored in this matchup, only this time they do not have the same mojo as in meetings prior. The Rockets rank 23rd in the league in rebounding versus 21st for the Lakers, and their defense has been non-existent as they are 28th in points allowed versus 27th for the Lakers. Los Angeles is not a good team but neither are the Rockets. Kobe Bryant may indeed be buoyed by a fine performance in his last outing and those good vibrations could be infectious. We will back the home team with the generous head start.