Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Saturday.
One of these teams will taste defeat for the first time this season Saturday night in a matchup of two of the three remaining unbeaten teams in the NBA as the Golden State Warriors (4-0, 2-0 away) pay a visit to the Houston Rockets (6-0, 2-0 home) at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX at 8:05 ET in a game available on Comcast - Houston.
The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Golden State as a tiny road underdog for this contest with the current line at +1 with odds of -105.
Grizzlies Are Only Other
The Rockets may be the most impressive team in the league so far as not only are they 6-0 after beating the short-handed Spurs 98-81 Thursday night but all six wins have been by double-digits with four of them coming on the road. The average winning margin for Houston has been +14.6 points overall and +15.5 points in its two home games.
But the Rockets are not the only hot NBA pick in this game as the 4-0 Warriors have won three of their four games by double-digits and they actually have a higher average winning margin than Houston does overall at +15.7 points. And their two road wins have both come in difficult venues at Portland and Sacramento, so they will not be intimidated here in the Lone Star State.
Incidentally the third unbeaten NBA team is the Memphis Grizzles at 6-0, who face the Bucks in Milwaukee tonight.
No Lee, No Problem
The Warriors have been winning despite their walking double-double David Lee playing less than seven minutes in just one game this year due to a hamstring injury, but luckily they now have a capable back-up in Draymond Green out of Michigan State who has stepped in and averaged a nice 12.5 points and 7.3 rebounds in Lee’s absence. Green is even better at stretching the floor than Lee is as the former has also gone 7-for-14, 50.0 percent from three-point land!
Thus he has fit right in with what is again one of the best three-point shooting teams in the NBA. Golden State is currently fifth in the league from beyond the arc at 40.4 percent, led as usual by its lethal backcourt duo of Stephen Curry (26.0 points per game) and Klay Thompson (27.0 PPG), as that dynamic combination has propelled the Warriors to an NBA leading 109.5 points per game and 50.5 percent field goal percentage overall.
But do not forget about the defense either, which has been the most underrated part of Golden State’s game the last couple of seasons. The Warriors are fourth in the league in points against at 93.8 per game and third in field goal percentage allowed at 41.2 percent.
Speaking of defense, the Rockets are also much improved in that area as they are second in points allowed (89.7 per game) and they lead the NBA in lowest field goal percentage allowed at 39.9 percent! However, they are now facing a team that can actually shoot over the defense well from beyond the three-point arc for perhaps the first time all year, and as long as the Warriors continue to drain those, they can be tough to beat even here in Houston.
That is not to say that the Rockets cannot keep pace offensively as they rank an identical eighth in both scoring (104.8 PPG) and field goal percentage (46.3 percent), but there is a vast difference in the tempos that these teams play at, as the Warriors lead the NBA in Pace Rating while Houston ranks only 13th. Thus limiting the three-pointers for Golden State becomes crucial because playing from behind could be more of an uphill climb for the Rockets.
Houston Injuries Could Make Difference
And do not forget that the Rockets are missing two starters tonight in point guard Patrick Beverley (hamstring) and forward Terrence Jones (leg contusion). Unlike the Warriors who have a capable backup to Lee in Green. Houston has a big drop-off after that duo as young Isaiah Canaan ran the point against the Spurs and Jones is backed up by the likes of Kostas Papanikolaou and Donatas Motiejunas, neither of whom is very productive or efficient.
In the end, the Warriors’ better depth may make all the difference so look for Golden State to be the team that remains undefeated even playing on the road in Houston Saturday.
NBA Pick: Warriors +1 (-105)