Charlotte Hornets vs. Houston Rockets Pick
Charlotte Hornets (30-36 SU, 29-35-2 ATS) vs. Houston Rockets (40-25 SU, 30-33-2 ATS)
When: Monday, March 11, 2019 – 8 p.m. ET
Where: Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
By: Matt Lowry, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: CHA +9 / HOU -9 (MyBookie Sportsbook)
Total: O/U 225.5
Last Time Out: Charlotte lost to Milwaukee 131-114; Houston won 107-91
Scouting the Hornets:
The Hornets may come into this matchup six-games under .500, but because the East is so weak this year they are well within playoff contention. Currently in 10th, the Hornets find themselves one-game behind the eighth seeded Miami Heat. It is still unclear if they will be pushing for the playoffs or will be “tanking” to improve their draft position. Last time out they were destroyed by the Bucks, but the weird thing is they played a solid game offensively. They shot 47.3% in this game and 38.5% from the three-point line but were unable to capitalize.
Scouting the Rockets:
Rockets took advantage of a Joel Embiid-less 76ers and were able to beat them by double digits last time out, just as Keith Franks predicted. With the win over Philly, the Rockets have now won seven games in a row putting them in third place in the West. They are three games behind the Nuggets for second place, but with plenty of games left they can easily catch Denver. Maybe even Golden State if they can continue their impressive win streak. Nonetheless, facing a below .500 team will provide the Rockets another chance to pick up a win and extend their win streak.
Head to Head:
Houston is clearly miles above the Hornets in terms of talent. It has showed in recent meetings as they are 5-0 straight up against Charlotte in their last five games. This includes a narrow win this season in Charlotte. Also, the Rockets are 4-0 at home against the Hornets in their last four games in Houston.
More NBA Picks: Clippers host the Celtics
Betting Trends to Consider:
The biggest eye catcher in this matchup is that the favorite almost always covers when these teams get together. The favorite has posted a record of 18-5-4 against the spread in the last 27 games. Houston seems to struggle in games after coming off a big win. They only post an overall record of 11-8 when they win by double-digits in the previous matchup and a home record of 5-4. As for the spread, they are 9-10 overall and 4-5 at home. For the Hornets, they are 6-9 straight up when they lose by double-digits and 5-9-1 against the spread. Another notable trend is games between these fast paced teams go under the posted total more often than you may think. The under is 7-3 in the last ten meetings and when the game is in Houston, the under is 3-1 in the last four.
Charlotte will Cover if:
They can contain James Harden. In the first meeting, the Hornets held the MVP candidate to 1-11 from the three-point line. However, he still managed to get them for 30 points. This and the fact that five total players for the Rockets scored in double-figures makes truly stopping Harden an even bigger task than it seems on paper. Despite James Harden’s bad shooting night, he still got his points and the Hornets still ended up losing a close game. This time around, the Hornets will not have the luxury of home court advantage and must be able to slow this explosive offense down. Allowing the Rockets to score more than 110 or 100 for that matter will be devastating and will likely add another game between them and a potential playoff spot.
Houston will Cover if:
They can force an ample number of turnovers. Last time the Rockets took on Charlotte, they forced 18 turnovers. This was a big reason for their success and the extra possessions helped them squeak out the win. This time around, look for them to ramp up the defensive pressure even more and focus on forcing the Hornets into taking bad shots. With how the Rockets offense likes to play, turnovers will feed into their high scoring offense.
Matt’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
This is a very tough game to pick, since both teams have trends that show it could go either way. The most consistent trend as of now is that these teams play a defensive game when they matchup. MyBookie has the Houston Rockets opening as a 9-point favorite, but they have the total set at 225.5. Look for the Rockets to continue dominating the Hornets, but this time around defense will be more of a priority and the total will hit the under.
Matt’s NBA Pick: Under 225.5