Will the Rockets Cast a Paul Over New Orleans?

Chris Paul

Jason Lake

Saturday, March 24, 2018 1:59 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 24, 2018 1:59 PM UTC

The Houston Rockets are big favorites on the NBA odds board for Saturday’s game against the New Orleans Pelicans. But it doesn’t look like Chris Paul will be joining them.

New Orleans Pelicans vs Houston Rockets

[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3264017, "sportsbooksIds":[169,19,93,180,1275], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]

Free NBA Pick: Pelicans +8.5 (–105)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

There is indeed such a thing as a “win-win” trade. The Houston Rockets are now the best team in the NBA, thanks in no small part to the arrival of Chris Paul. And the Los Angeles Clippers are a much deeper and balanced club after sending Paul to Houston for seven players; L.A. is poised to go OVER their posted total of 43.5 wins on the season. Flowers and sunshine for everyone.

Well, maybe not everyone. Paul has been dealing with hamstring issues ever since he landed in Houston. He was held out of Thursday’s 100-96 overtime win over former teammate Blake Griffin and the Detroit Pistons (+10.5 away), and at press time, he’s considered doubtful for Saturday’s game (8:00 p.m. ET, NBA-TV) against the New Orleans Pelicans. With or without Paul, the Rockets are 9-point home faves on the NBA odds board. Deal, or no deal?

Is It Luc?

Too late... Houston (58-14 SU, 37-34-1 ATS) has already moved to –8.5 as I write this. FiveThirtyEight projects Houston to win 87 percent of the time, or –11.5 using their CARMELO formula; the expected absence of Paul (plus-7.3 BPM) doesn’t figure much into that, if I’m reading the instructions correctly. The Rockets do have a quality back-up in Eric Gordon (minus-1.2 BPM), but his value is entirely on the offensive end.

Speaking of which, PF Luc Mbah a Moute (minus-0.2 BPM) is out Saturday after leaving the Pistons game with tendinitis in his left knee. Mbah a Moute is the anti-Gordon, a defensive specialist with meathooks for hands. Judging by head coach Mike d’Antoni’s roster shuffles against Detroit, this means it’s small-ball time, and more minutes for Gerald Green (minus-2.5 BPM) and Joe Johnson (minus-4.4 BPM). Ai ya.

[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "

Greg Monroe was a -24 last night. Emeka Okafor was +1.

— Kumar (@FearTheBrown) March 19, 2018
\n\n"}[/]

The Pelicans (43-30 SU, 40-32-1 ATS) meanwhile, have really turned it on of late. They’re 15-4 SU and 14-5 ATS since February 10, not long after center DeMarcus Cousins (plus-5.5 BPM) was lost for the season with a ruptured Achilles. PF Anthony Davis (plus-5.1 BPM) is playing better than he has all year, and veteran Emeka Okafor (minus-0.7 BPM) and has been a steady presence on defense filling in for Cousins at the 5-spot. It’d be nice to get that half-point back, but sure, let’s put New Orleans in our NBA picks this time. Smell the value.

comment here