NBA Picks: Take Rockets as Solid Road Favorite vs. Nets

Joe Gavazzi

Monday, January 12, 2015 5:44 PM GMT

Monday, Jan. 12, 2015 5:44 PM GMT

The Nets are 8-11 SU, while the Rockets are 13-5 SU on the road.  Let’s go inside the current form of these two, then look at some league wide trends to see why this is such an outstanding play.

Houston Rockets (-6-) vs. Brooklyn Nets 7:35 ET
After 37 games of each team’s regular season, there is a huge gap between these two.  Recent form in 2015 has widened the schism.  A look at the NBA standings shows that Brooklyn occupies the 8th spot in the Eastern Conference queue with a 16-21 SU record.  Conversely, Houston is the 3rd best team in the West with a record of 26-11 SU.  Do not expect the Brooklyn home court to be an advantage.  For, at the Barclay Center the Nets are 8-11 SU, while the Rockets are 13-5 SU on the road.  Let’s go inside the current form of these two, then look at some league wide trends to see why this is such an outstanding play.

Cut off the head and the body will die!  It is a long-term basketball adage, referring to the importance of a team’s point guard.  In the case of the Brooklyn Nets, we are referring to D. Williams.  Brooklyn is averaging just 95 PPG for the year.  But, in their most recent 5 games, roughly correlating to the absence of D. Will from the lineup, Brooklyn is averaging just 87 PPG.  Brooklyn is on a 0-5 SU slide and 1-6 ATS of late, following a 6-1 SU ATS run-up.  Until Brooklyn returns to current offensive form, we want no part of them.  Jared Jack, the replacement for Williams, is just the 44th most efficient NBA guard in terms of assists/TO ratio. 

The opposite scenario is taking place for the Houston Rockets.  Houston enters on a 3-game winning streak with victories of 12 at Cleveland, 24 at New York and 97-82 vs. the Utah Jazz, Saturday night. Defense has been outstanding for Houston, as opponents are averaging just 87 PPG in their past 5 wins. Their 97 PPG defense is an improvement of 6 PPG from last year’s team and ranked 2nd in the Western Conference, behind only the Portland Trailblazers.  On offense, Houston has averaged 108 PPG in their last 5 contests.  Much has been made of the Detroit winning streak of 8-1 SU, 7-2 ATS since they dealt Josh Smith to Houston.  Yet, it is Smith, along with the offense of Harden and the defense of Howard and Ariza, which make this team a legitimate competitor for the NBA Championship. 

In recent years, the teams in the Western Conference have been superior to their Eastern Conference brethren.  Such is the case again this year, as the West is 133-64 SU when playing the East.  This includes 31-20 ATS in the last 51 games.  Houston has been a solid 6-3 ATS on NBA odds as road chalk this season.  That is a microcosm of the fact that all NBA single-digit road favorites are now 94-58 ATS (61.8%).  The dominance of West vs. East is also characterized by the fact that Houston is 14-1 SU in this series against the Nets.  Combination of YTD numbers, current form of each of these teams, the series’ history, the West vs. East dynamics and the role of road favorite all greatly favor Houston in their battle vs. Brooklyn tonight. 

Free NBA Pick: Take Houston Rockets and add them to your NBA picks.

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