Take Pumped-Up Rockets & 'Under' Our NBA Picks Against Cavaliers

Kevin Stott

Friday, January 15, 2016 4:38 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 15, 2016 4:38 PM UTC

LeBron James & Cleveland Cavaliers head to the Toyota Center in Houston on Friday evening to dribble with Dwight Howard and James Harden. Who will be our NBA Pick?


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Final Score Prediction: Rockets 103 Cavaliers 97
NBA Picks: Rockets PK & Under 204
Best Line Offered: at Bet365


Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Houston Rockets
James Harden and the Houston Rockets (21-19 SU, 16-24 ATS) welcome LeBron James and the defending Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers (27-9 SU, 15-20-1 ATS) to the Toyota Center in Houston on Friday night for this inter-conference showdown and first of two meetings between these teams this NBA Regular Season and final stop on the brutal Texas Triangle for Cleveland. NBA odds makers have opened the visiting Cavaliers as 1½-point favorites (Ladbrokes) with the game’s Total set at 205½ (Sky Bet). The Money Line (Winner) odds here see Cleveland priced at -129 with the host Houston lined at +110 on the takeback (at Paddy Power). The Houston Rockets Team Total Points has been set at 102 (Ladbrokes) with the Cleveland Cavaliers Team Total Points at 103½ (Ladbrokes) while the 1st Half odds see the visiting Cavaliers as minute -½ (point) -117 favorites (Winner).


Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cleveland Cavaliers (101.6 PF-95.5 PA) and Head Coach David Blatt headed into San Antonio on Thursday night with an impressive 8-game Win Streak, but the Spurs had a 9-game Winning Streak of their own and used a strong 2nd Half to down the King James and the Cavaliers, 99-95 in San Antonio as the hosts held the Akron, Ohio native in check in the 4th Quarter and the Southwest Division leaders made it 10 straight W’s. Against the Spread (ATS), LeBron James and the Cavaliers have been below average this season on the Road (8-12-1 ATS) and have gone 2-5-1 ATS in their L8 Road games (now after ATS Win over San Antonio; Spurs -7), with the only other cover coming in Minneapolis against the Timberwolves laying 10 points in a 125-99 blowout win on Jan. 8. There is no question of Cleveland’s ability to win games on the Road, but whether or not the linemakers are making Cavs Road lines too high or if teams are simply getting up for the Eastern Conference champs, this team is hard to back on the Road and may be an automatic fade if this current streak continues. In their L11 overall, Kyrie Irving and Cleveland are now 4-6-1 ATS and here the Cavaliers (+275 to win NBA Championship, 888sport) should be extremely tired (3rd game in 4 Days) after playing so many games on the Road this month—this will be the 6th straight—and having played a tough game against Kawhi Leonard and the Spurs on Wednesday night and then having to travel from San Antonio to Houston and deal with busses and planes and hotels and just being physically tired as being Human. Cleveland will also be facing a red-hot Rockets team on a 5-game Win Streak. On Wednesday, Houston defeated the Timberwolves here at the Toyota Center in Houston as James Harden scored 27 points and passed the 10,000 Regular Season point scoring mark in the victory (HOU -8, 207). A tired Cavaliers squad playing in their 6th straight Roadie on the second night of back-to-backs against talented and physical Lone Star State teams from the rugged Western Conference may end up being a good thing for the Under here.


Houston Rockets
Interim Head Coach JB Bickerstaff has the Houston Rockets (104.1 PF-105.5 PA) finally playing some good basketball and the Rockets (45/1 to win Western Conference, Marathon) have quietly risen from 16-19 to 21-19 SU and to 7th-place standing in the Western Conference after getting by the Minnesota Timberwolves, 107-104 on Wednesday night for their 5th straight Win. Against the Timberwolves, SG James Harden (28.8 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 6.0 apg) led the Rockets with 27 points and passed the aforementioned 10,000-point Regular Season scoring mark. Four other Houston players were also in double-digits, including SF Trevor Ariza (10 points), three-time Defensive Player of the Year and C Dwight Howard (15 points, 10 rebounds), SG Jason Terry and Kentucky product PF Terrence Jones (16 points, 9 rebounds) off the Houston Bench. Starter Clint Capela also added 7 points and 7 rebounds and with SF Marcus Thornton and with PG Patrick Beverly (DNP, Personal Reasons), PG Ty Lawson (6 points), SG Corey Brewer (7 points) and PF Montrezl Harrell, the Rockets have some nice parts and can beat almost anyone when they play together.


Series Trends, Logical Reasoning and Picks
The last meeting between these two NBA teams was last Winter (March 1) here in Houston and the Rockets won and covered ATS as a 1-point underdog, 105-103 in OT (Total 206½) in a game Under backers would probably choose to forget. The Rockets have covered 5 of the L6 in this series and have scored 100+ points in the L9 in this series (105, 105, 118, 106, 116, 112, 107, 124, 110), So whether it’s a matchup thing or mutually accepted pace or something else, these teams play pretty high-scoring games (Over 6-4 L10 in series) but remember Cleveland could be beat (physically). With Houston even having just that 1 Day Rest (9-13-0 ATS at Home) and Cleveland playing on 0 Days Rest (1-4-1 ATS). Another noteworthy thing here is that the Rockets have beaten the Cavaliers SU 6 straight times and 8 of the L9, so they sort of have their number, despite the Oddsmakers’ numbers—the Cavaliers have been favorites the L3 (-1, -6, -8), meaning backing Houston (13-9 SU at Home) has been the thing here lately.

Some other Trends from relevant to this game and this series which will have its second of two meetings in Cleveland on Tuesday, March 29 (TNT): The Under is 11-4 in the L15 Cavaliers games played on Friday and the Under is now 9-3 ATS in Cleveland’s L12 Road games after Thursday night’s thriller at The alamo ducked under the Total of 195½ (99-95). But the Over is 7-3 in Houston’s L10 against the Eastern Conference although the Under is 9-3 the L12 meetings in this series in Houston despite the Rockets streak of 9 consecutive 100+ point contests. With the Home team 19-7 the L26 overall in this series (73.1%), Houston 8-3 ATS in its L11 here at Home at the Toyota Center, the Rockets riding a 5-game Win Streak and feeling good and Cleveland tired and not having to worry about protecting that Win Streak anymore, the NBA pick here is with the host Rockets (5-1 ATS L6 vs Cavaliers) and the few points although they could possibly win outright in a game that could duck Under the posted Total because of how tired the Cavaliers and Kevin Love must be playing on the second night of back-to-backs in the terrible Texas Triangle on the tail-end of a long-ass 6-game Road trip.

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