Don’t listen to Charles Barkley when it has to do with math, and place your NBA pick for Rockets vs. Clippers 'over,' as fast-paced teams are coming off a back to back.
Barkley & Analytics
Last night after the Rockets 127-118 win over the Suns, Charles Barkley, one of my favorite players of all time, went on one of the most ignorant rants I’ve ever seen. He started lambasting the Rockets for giving up 118 to the Suns, and claimed that no championship teams give up 118 points in a game. He has a small point to make. The Rockets’ defense has not been what it was earlier in the season, but they are also without Dwight Howard, who is pretty important to the teams’ overall defense.
However after he was done trolling the Rockets, he unfairly went after analytics and the Rockets GM for using them. I couldn’t do what I do, and neither could NBA GMs without the use of saber metrics and analytics. They are not a means to take over the game and kick all the old school scouts out of a job. They aren’t an end all tool! Computers can’t tell a player’s personality, they can’t tell his work ethic, they can’t tell a lot of things! However they can be used to better evaluate a player and what that player means to his team better than just looking at his points or rebounds per game.
Take for instance just the basic analytics of pace. Tonight the Rockets have the third fastest pace coming into this game against the Clippers, who have a pace inside the top half of the league. This is important in handicapping totals, because you want to know how many possessions you think each team will get. With a total of 213 1/2, the sportsbooks realize this could be another high scoring and fast paced game, just like the Rockets and Suns last night.
The Sharp Pick
The over is 5-0 in Clippers last five home game following a road trip of 7 games or more, and following that Grammy trip and heading into the All Star Break, the Clippers will want to win this game against a tired Rockets. The lack of Howard for the Rockets, and the lack of Blake Griffin for the Clippers should even this one out a bit, and it could lead to some highs scoring. The over is 13-5 Clippers last 18 games as home favorites between -1 and -4 ½ in NBA odds, as it seems in close games the Clippers tend to lean over their totals.
For the Rockets, the over is 4-1 in their last five games overall, and it’s 4-1 in their last five games playing on no rest. On top of that, the over is 7-2 in the Rockets last nine road games, and 6-0 in their last six games as road underdogs. The lesson for this game is simple, take the over as your NBA pick.
NBA Pick: OVER 213 ½ at BookMaker