Houston Rockets (17-17) at Washington Wizards (17-15), 7 pm Eastern Tuesday, NBA
by Zman of Predictem Sports
A couple of teams each playing without one of their big dogs hook up when the Tracy McGrady-less Houston Rockets visit the Gilbert Arenas-less Washington Wizards in the only NBA game matching two teams with non-losing records Tuesday night.
The linesmaker lists Washington as a two-point home favorite for Tuesday’s game, with a total of 189. Also, the Wizards at listed at right around -145 on various Vegas moneylines, with Houston getting +130 as a road underdog.
The Rockets have won two straight games and four of their last six after beating New York 103-91 Saturday, shooting 53% from the field and getting 41 points from their bench in the process. So Houston is treading water in the Southwest Division, sitting in fourth place, but only 6 games back of the first-place San Antonio Spurs. And the Rockets have gone 4-2 straight up and 5-1 against the spread while playing without McGrady, who’s missed those last six games with a bum knee.
Washington has also won two in a row and four of its last six after beating Seattle Sunday 108-86. So the Wizards sit in second place in the Southeast Division, 3 games back of the first-place Orlando Magic.
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Houston is 16-17 against the spread on the season, 9-11 straight up and 10-10 ATS on the road. Meanwhile, Washington has been pretty good to its financial backers, going 20-12 against the spread this season, and 10-7 both SU and ATS at home.
The Rockets have won five in a row in the series with the Wizards, sweeping two games last season by scores of 114-109 and 86-82. Houston out-shot and out-boarded Washington in both those games last season.
Statistically speaking, the Wizards rank 11th in the league in per-game point differential at +2.7, while the Rockets rank 14th at +1.1.
Houston is shooting 44% from the field as a team this season, 33% from 3-point range and 73% from the free-throw line. Also, the Rockets are holding opponents to 44% FG shooting and rank 3rd in the league in rebounding at +2.5 per game.
Meanwhile, Washington is shooting 45% from the floor, 35% from long range and 79% from the line. Also, the Wizards are holding foes to 44% FG shooting and rank 6th in rebounding at +2.1 per game.
The Sagarin PREDICTOR ratings at USAToday.com ranks Houston 10th at 93.1, Washington 14th at 91.3.
As mentioned above, McGrady, who is averaging 23 points per game this season, is expected to miss at least the next couple of games with a bad knee. And Arenas hasn’t played since mid-November, and is out until at least March with a knee problem of his own.
The o/u is 14-19 in Rockets games this season, which are averaging 189 points per, while the totals are 15-17 in Wizards games, which are averaging 198 points.
Zman’s Pick: Washington -2.5.