Los Angeles Lakers vs. Houston Rockets Preview and Pick

Los Angeles Lakers (3-3) +7, o/u 199 at Houston Rockets (6-2), 9 pm Eastern Wednesday, ESPN
by Zman of Predictem.com

Kobe Bryant and his Los Angeles Lakers cap off a two-game mini-swing through Texas when they visit the Houston Rockets in an NBA Western Conference bout on ESPN Wednesday night.

Los Angeles had won three of its first five games this season before falling to the Spurs in San Antonio Tuesday night 107-92. The Lakers trailed by 16 points at the half, shot just 44% from the field for the game, committed 19 turnovers and failed to cover the spread as eight-point underdogs.

So after the first couple of weeks of this season, L.A. sits in third place in the Pacific Division, two games back of the first-place Phoenix Suns.

On the other side of this match-up, Houston had won six of its first seven games this season before losing to the Grizzlies in Memphis Tuesday night 105-99. The Rockets led by four at the half, but allowed the Grizz to shoot 50% from the floor and got outrebounded 44-36. So Houston now is tied for second place in the Southwest Division, one game behind first-place San Antonio.

The Lakers are 4-2 against the spread this season, 1-1 both straight up and ATS on the road. Meanwhile, the Rockets are just 3-5 vs. the numbers this season, 3-0 SU and 2-1 against the spread at home.

Houston beat L.A. 95-93 in SoCal in the season opener for both teams two weeks ago. Last season, these two teams split four games, with each team winning once on the other’s home court. And each team won once in overtime. But the Rockets outrebounded the Lakers in each of last season’s four games, and in this season’s lone meeting, by an average of over nine boards per game.

Also, the point totals for those four meetings last season, excluding the two OTs, were 196, 179, 178 and 190. So the average point total for the last five meetings between these two teams is 186, again, excluding those two overtime periods.

Statistically speaking, Los Angeles ranks fifth in the league in scoring at 106 ppg, 26th in scoring defense at 103 ppg, 3rd in shooting at 49%, 14th in FG defense at 44%, 26th in 3-point shooting at 30%, 18th in FT shooting at 74%, and owns a 24/17 per-game assist-to-turnover ratio.

Houston ranks 19th in the league in scoring at 96 ppg, 5th in scoring defense at 91 ppg, 17th in shooting at 44%, 9th in FG defense at 43%, 28th in 3-point shooting at 29% but 7th in FT shooting at 77.5%, and owns a 21/14 A/TO ratio.

Also, these two teams are tied as the best rebounding teams in the league with a +5.9 boards-per-game margin.

The o/u is 4-2 in Lakers games this year, which are averaging 209 points per, while the totals are 4-4 in Rockets games, which are averaging 187 points.

Houston opened as 7 1/2-point home chalk for Wednesday night’s game, with a total of 199. Early betting action has dropped the spread to seven at most sportsbooks, while the total has held steady. Also, the Rockets are listed at around -360 on the moneyline, with L.A. getting +280 as road dogs.

Zman’s Pick: Take the OVER.