Houston Rockets vs. San Antonio Spurs Preview and Pick

Houston Rockets (6-3) +8 , o/u 178 at San Antonio Spurs (7-2), 8 pm Eastern Friday, ESPN
by Zman of Predictem.com

Texas basketball rivals collide when the Houston Rockets hit Alamo City to take on the San Antonio Spurs in the first game of a nice ESPN NBA double-header Friday night.

Following the Rockets-Spurs game, ESPN will show the Detroit Pistons visiting the Los Angeles Lakers to cap off the evening.

Houston had won six of its first seven games of this young season, but has lost two in a row after falling at home to the Lakers Wednesday night 93-90. And not only did the Rockets lose the game, they lost star swingman Tracy McGrady for up to a week when he suffered an elbow injury.

McGrady was leading the league in scoring going into Wednesday’s game at 29 ppg.

San Antonio had won seven of its first eight games this season but lost at Dallas Thursday night 105-92. So heading into Friday’s action, the Spurs are tied atop the Southwest Division with the New Orleans Hornets, with Houston sitting in fourth place just one game out.

San Antonio had won seven in a row in the series with the Rockets, but the teams split four games last season, with the visiting team winning all four games, and Houston beat the Spurs last week 89-81 in H-Town. The Rockets out-rebounded San Antonio 55-28 that night.

Low-scoring games have been the norm in this series for quite some time. The last five meetings between these two teams, and nine of the last 10, have stayed below their totals. And the point totals for the last five games have been remarkably consistent; 170, 171, 175, 175 and 176.

Houston is just 3-6 against the spread this season, 3-2 straight up but 1-4 vs. the numbers on the road.

On the other side, the Spurs are 4-5 ATS this season, 5-0 SU and 3-2 vs. the numbers at home.

Statistically speaking, the Rockets are outscoring opponents on average 95-92. Houston also is shooting just 43% from the field this year, 30% from beyond the 3-point line and 74% from the free-throw line. But the Rockets are playing pretty good defense, holding opponents to just 43.5% FG shooting, and they own the third-best average rebounding margin in the league at +4.7. Houston also owns a 21/13 average assist-to-turnover ratio.

San Antonio is outscoring foes 98-91, and is shooting 46% from the floor, 38% from long range and 76% from the line. The Spurs also own a 21/12 average A/TO ratio and are limiting opponents to 44% FG shooting, but rank 21st in rebounding at -.9 per game.

Also on the injury front, San Antonio F Tim Duncan is listed as day-to-day with a sore knee, but is likely to play Friday night.

The o/u is 4-5 in Rockets games this season, which are averaging 187 points per, while the totals are 5-4 in Spurs games, which are averaging 189 points.

Zman’s Pick: The loss of McGrady hurts however this line is over inflated and the value is with the Rockets at +9.