Pick 'Under' as Neither Rockets nor Cavs Inspire Confidence

Darin Zank

Wednesday, January 7, 2015 3:57 PM GMT

As NBA bettors might expect, the Cleveland Cavaliers are struggling without Mr. James & will try to change their recent fortunes when they host Houston Wednesday night.

Rockets-Cavs Betting Odds
As of early Wednesday morning the NBA Odds market was holding off on lining this game, because of the injury situation with Cleveland. Bettors might be wise to wait until closer to tip-off before getting down on this game.

 

Rockets-Cavs: The Match-Up
Cleveland has lost five of its last six games, with James missing the last five. Eleven days ago the Cavs lost to Detroit by 23 points; they then lost to Atlanta and the Bucks, beat Charlotte, but since then have lost to Dallas and, Monday night, to lowly Philadelphia 95-92.

The Cavs shot just 41 percent from the field against the Mavs, then shot 39 percent against the Sixers. On top of that, not only has James missed the last five games, but G Kyrie Irving missed Monday's contest with his own sore back.

Cleveland also made a deal earlier this week, trading away Dion Waiters, getting JR Smith and Iman Shumpert from New York. Smith could contribute immediately, while Shumpert is out for the moment with a shoulder injury.

So presently the Cavs are a little banged up, and trying to infuse a new face or two into the lineup.

At 19-16 Cleveland owns the fifth-best record in the Eastern Conference.

Houston, meanwhile, has lost four of its last six games, after falling Monday at Chicago 114-105. The Rockets led that game by five points with about four minutes to go, but got outscored 19-5 down the stretch and missed on the cover as three-point underdogs.

Houston shot 46 percent from the field Monday, but allowed the Bulls to shoot 48 percent. Also, the Rockets shot just five free-throws, while Chicago shot 30. Hmmm.

Just before that Houston blew out Miami 115-79, but just before that the Rockets lost to New Orleans 111-83. So they've been doing the yo-yo thing lately.

At 23-11 the Rockets own the fifth-best record in the Western Conference.

 

Rockets-Cavs Key Numbers
Houston ranks just 26th in the league in FG shooting at 43 percent and 28th in FT shooting at 70.5 percent. At the other end of the floor the Rockets rank fifth in FG defense, holding foes to just under 44 percent shooting, sixth in rebounds at +2.4 per game but own a 20/17 assist-to-turnover ratio, which is terrible.

Cleveland ranks 17th in FG shooting at 45 percent, just 27th in FG defense, allowing opponents to shoot 47 percent, 12th in rebounding at +.5 per game and owns a 23/13 A/TO ratio.

 

Rockets-Cavs Recent History
Houston has beaten Cleveland four times in a row, sweeping the series the last two seasons. This will be the first meeting between the teams this season.

 

Rockets-Cavs Betting Trends
Cleveland is 11-8 SU, just 7-12 ATS at home this season.

Houston is 11-5 SU, 8-8 ATS on the road.

Cleveland has trended toward the UNDERS this season by a 22-12 margin, as Cavs games have averaged 200 points. Cleveland has also played four UNDERS in a row, in part because it hasn't been able to score more than 92 points.

Houston has trended toward the UNDERS by a 21-13 margin, as Rockets games have averaged 198 points.

 

Injury Update
James is out, but Irving, after missing Monday's game, is expected to play. Cleveland is also playing without C Anderson Varejao, who's gone for the season with a torn Achilles.

 

Rockets-Cavs Free Pick
Neither of these teams inspires much betting confidence at the moment. But the way these teams have trended toward the UNDERS this season pushes us in that direction. So we'll go with the UNDER for our free NBA pick in this spot.

Free NBA Pick: Under 198 at Pinnacle Sports