NBA Picks: Trust Road Dogs Paul George & Pacers To Take Down Rockets

Swinging Johnson

Sunday, January 10, 2016 4:54 PM GMT

Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016 4:54 PM GMT

Both the Pacers and Rockets are gunning for their third straight victory tonight but only one team will be successful. Let us peruse the NBA odds and determine who to back in our NBA picks.

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Free NBA Pick: Pacers +1½
Best Line Offered: at GTBets

 

Indiana Pacers (21-15 SU, 21-15 ATS)
The NBA odds makers established the Pacers as 1½ point road favorites over the Pelicans in their last outing and Indiana rewarded all those who backed them when they dribbled out of the Bayou with a 91-86 victory. Much of the credit goes to the big man down low who came up with a scoring season high, Ian Mahinmi. The seven-year center doubled his season average on Friday night by scoring 17 points including 10 boards and four blocked shots.

It was a hard fought victory particularly when considering that the Pacers turned the ball over 25 times and were down by 14 after the first quarter. However, the club responded by playing a relentless brand of team defense, limiting New Orleans to just 86 points. In addition, Indiana pummeled the Pelicans in the paint 50-32 which keyed the rally and ultimately the victory. The Pacers now rank 11th in scoring averaging 101.9 points per game while defensively they have been even better, allowing just 98.0 points per game which places them 6th in the league.

 

Houston Rockets (18-19 SU, 14-23 ATS)
After dropping four in a row the Rockets have notched wins over the Utah Jazz in a home-and-home series. In their last outing on Thursday night, the Rockets came away with a 103-94 victory in Houston and covered the 6½ point impost that the oddsmakers were hanging on them. James Harden bucketed 33 points in that nine-point win over the Jazz, upping Houston's record to 11-4 straight up in games in which Harden has scored at least 30 points. In all other games Houston is a woeful 7-15 straight up. Thus, as Harden goes so too go the Rockets.

After logging 41 minutes in the team's 93-91 road victory over Utah on Monday night 11-year center Dwight Howard was sidelined for the rematch on Thursday night. Tightness in his back is plaguing the big man who according to reports did not practice on Saturday in preparation for tonight's contest. Howard has had an off year thus far, down in all the major statistical categories particularly scoring where he is down over four points from his career average of 18 points per game. Though only 30-years-old, Howard has plenty of miles on his tires and big men often experience nagging injuries, like sore backs, as they leave their 20's and reluctantly welcome their 30's. If Howard is unable to go tonight, expect Clint Capela, Montrezl Harrell and Terrence Jones to pick up the slack for the big man.

 

Betting AnalysisThe Rockets are 3-1 straight up and against the spread over their last four games against the Pacers but have yet to meet this season. Let us also not forget that Pacers' superstar Paul George was out with an injury in both losses last season to the Rockets. But tonight Indiana has a few things going for them and one of them is a swarming defense that held their two most recent adversaries, Magic and the Pelicans, to just 86 points. Of course the Rockets will present a different problem as they rank 4th in scoring averaging 103.9 points per game but they sacrifice on the defensive end for all that offense surrendering 105.5 points per game which places them 26th in the league.

Here is another stat one should consider before deciding upon which team to back in your NBA picks; Houston's 16.6 turnovers per 100 possessions are the second most in the league, and the Pacers' 16.5 forced per 100 rank fifth. That is one dynamic that could decide the outcome of tonight's game. Expect the Pacers to stop the Rockets on the road tonight, even if Howard is suited up, because we know he won't be one-hundred percent going into this one; while the Pacers will enjoy the services of Paul George, unlike last season when he was absent in both of their meetings.

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