Houston Rockets vs. Boston Celtics Pick
Houston Rockets (37-25 SU, 27-33-2 ATS) vs. Boston Celtics (38-25 SU, 32-31 ATS)
When: Sunday, March 3, 2019 – 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Point Spread: HOU +2.5 / BOS -2.5 (MyBookie Sportsbook)
Total: O/U 226.5
Last Time Out: Houston beat Miami 121-118; Boston beat Washington 107-96
Scouting the Rockets:
The Rockets come into this cross-conference matchup having won 4 games in a row. They now sit in 5th place in the Western Conference standings and find themselves just 1 game behind the Trail Blazers for an all-important top 4 seed. Of course, a top 4 seed being important because it assures them home court advantage for at least one round of the playoffs. The Rockets are coming off a huge comeback win over the Heat, as they were down 21 at one point, but a 58-point performance by James Harden was enough to get the job done for Houston. The Rockets will now play this game having had two days of rest. This season when the Rockets have two days of rest they are 6-5 straight up.
Scouting the Celtics:
The Celtics managed to snap their 4-game losing streak when they defeated Washington in their last game. They now find themselves in 5th place in the Eastern Conference standings and sit 2-games behind the Philadelphia 76ers. In the game against Washington, all five Boston starters scored in double figures which led to their double-digit victory. It is important to note that the Celtics have been one of the best when it comes to playing home this season. They have posted a home record of 24-9, and when they are coming off a win by at least 10 points or more, their home record is 9-1.
Head to Head:
Houston has overall dominated Boston in recent years. In the first meeting this season, the Rockets won 127-113. Overall, the Rockets are 7-3 against the Celtics over the last 10 meetings dating back to 2014. Houston also holds a slight advantage when they play in Boston and have won 3 out of the previous five meetings on the Celtics home floor.
Defense. Defense. Defense. We all know that the NBA is relying less and less on defense nowadays and has turned to who can outscore the other by running up the scoreboard. Both teams are averaging more than 112 points per game this season, which is crazy by the way. Nonetheless, this is likely to be a shootout, and the difference is likely going to come down to a few key stops.
Betting Trends to Consider:
Some of the important betting trends for this game involves the over/under line. After a win, Houston’s over/under record is 21-16. As for Boston, their over/under record is 23-14 when they come off a win.
Houston will Cover if:
James Harden plays like the superstar he is. There is no questioning that James Harden is one of the best scorers in today’s game. He even had that streak of 32 games where he scored at least 30 points. There is however a downside to Harden’s game. He tends to shoot an excessive amount every time he touches the court. Over 58 games this season, Harden has attempted 1,422 field goals. That is an average of 24.5 shots per game. About 13.5 of these shots have come from the three-point line. Statistically, Harden does not even shoot all that well from behind the arc, coming in at 36.8%. Just this past week, Harden had a 0-10 night from three. The Rockets did win this game, but they cannot afford their best player to shoot like this if they are going to make a run for an NBA title. Especially against a good team like Boston, if Harden cannot find his shot he needs to be more of a team player and get his teammates involved.
Boston will Cover if:
They continued to balance their scoring. We all know Kyrie Irving is the leader for this Celtics team. The man averages 23.4 points per game. However, he cannot do it all by himself. As mentioned in the Washington game, all five starters were able to score at least 10 points or more. This was huge because it forced the Washington defense to try and guard all five players tightly which ended up working in the Celtics favor. Now we also know the Houston defense is relatively soft and is known to allow a ton of points. If the Celtics manage to get everyone involved, it will free up their best shooters and help to get them better looks at the basket.
Matt’s Pick to Cover the Spread:
With how evenly matched these teams are, this pick is pretty much a toss-up. MyBookie has Boston giving up 2.5 points, but with the total set at 226.5, the over is looking like the play here. The over has hit in 2 consecutive meetings between these teams, so look for this to be another high scoring thriller where the over hits again.