NBA pick: Rockets vs. Warriors
Houston Rockets (33-25 SU, 26-31-1 ATS) vs. Golden State Warriors (42 - 16 SU, 24-33-1 ATS)
When: Saturday, February 23rd, 2019 – 8:30 PM ET
Where: Oracle Arena– Oakland, CA
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: HOU +8.5 / GS -8.5 (Intertops Sportsbook)
Power Rankings: Golden State -7
Takeaways from Houston and Golden State’s Most Recent Games
The Rockets come into this contest off a bitter 111-106 loss suffered on the road at the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday. Houston led by as much as 19 points but Los Angeles would rally in the fourth quarter to pull off the upset. The Rockets were favored by three-points and thus were upset once again in the second consecutive road game they were favored to win.
The Warriors come into the heels of a scare on Thursday against divisional rival Sacramento. Despite closing as a 12.5-point favorite, the Warriors edged out the Kings by a score of 125-123 in a game that was settled on the last possession. The Warriors have failed to cover in five consecutive games.
How the Public is Betting the Houston and Golden State Game
Presently, 51% of the consensus like the Rockets with the points. As a result of early action on the Warriors, the line has moved upward by half of a point from the opening number of Golden State spotting eight points to the Rockets.
This series has been all Houston as of late as they have won both meetings between the two parties this season. Most recently, Houston defeated Golden State in overtime in Oakland in January. Despite closing as an eight-point underdog, the Rockets staged a 135-134 upset.
Houston Shooting Guard James Harden is listed as questionable after suffering a cervical strain in the Rockets’ last game against the Lakers. “The Beard” is now the sole owner of the record for consecutive 30-point games in a season at 32. Needless to say his absence not only threatens his streak but also hampers Houston’s offensive prospects dramatically. 2017 Sixth Man of the Year Eric Gordon will slide into the Shooting Guard role should Harden be unavailable.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
Both teams enter into this contest on two days of rest. For Houston, this is their last game on a two-game road trip before they return home to face Atlanta on Monday. Golden State will begin a four-game road trip on Monday when they head to Charlotte to face off with the Hornets.
Can Houston’s Perimeter Defense Keep The Rockets In The Game?
It is a well-documented fact that the Warriors are a premiere three-point shooting team. Presently, Golden State sits third in the league in three-point percentage at 38.4%. The good news for Houston is that they are on the best in the NBA in defending against the three-pointer as they allow opponents to hit just 34% of their attempts (3rd in the NBA). Combining this intangible with an advantage in the turnover department, the Rockets will look to hang around in this game long enough to frustrate and harass the Warriors. The Rockets will need to step up their shooting game if they wish to stage another upset as they sit 26th in the NBA in field goal efficiency at 44.7%. Golden State won’t offer any accommodation as their defense sits fifth in the NBA in opponent field goal percentage at a matching 44.7%.
Can Golden State Hone Their Field Goal Shooting Efficiency To Get The Job Done?
The Warriors own the best offense in the NBA as they score 118.9 points per game. Golden State is also the best team in the league in terms of field goal efficiency as they hit 49% of their attempts. Houston’s defense allows the opposition hit 47.6% of their field goals on the season placing them 26th in the NBA in opponent field goal percentage. The Warriors will look to play this game in two-point range to take full advantage of this potential competitive edge.
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A prominent trend emerging between the Rockets and Warriors is for Over/Under players. The Under is 6-1 ATS in the previous seven meetings between these two teams.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Golden State -8.5
There is too much work against the Rockets here. First off, Houston has a poor track record on the road this season as they are 13-16 SU away from home. Needless to say they will have their work cut out for them in Oakland as Oracle Arena is known as one of the scariest places to play in the NBA. On the year, Golden State is 23-7 SU on their own floor. Matters are only worse for Houston with Harden being a question mark, as the Rockets could potentially find themselves in hostile confines without their best offensive weapon. Be that as it may, in the even Harden were to play we still have yet to see how the injury will impact his performance. That in itself would make the Rockets a dubious play here. Finally, when Golden State’s motivation is added into the mix given how they will be looking to avenge the overtime loss in January, I see Golden State winning this game by a huge margin to send Houston a message.