New Orleans Pelicans vs. Houston Rockets Pick
New Orleans Pelicans (0-0, 0-0 ATS) vs. Houston Rockets (0-0, 0-0 ATS)
When: Wednesday, October 17th, 2018
Where: Toyota Center – Houston, Texas
By: Kyle Cash, NBA Basketball Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: HOU -7.5/NOP +7.5
Last Night in the NBA
Welcome back Hoops Heads! Last night, the 2018-19 NBA Season kicked off with a pair of compelling yet underwhelming games. The Warriors and Celtics bolstered their NBA Finals Odds, and young stars like Ben Simmons and Jayson Tatum shined while Gordon Hayward looked, as the kids would say, washed. Luckily, we can soldier on with a spectacle like no other: The Beard v. The Brow! Regardless of your facial hair preference, whether it be on the mandible or forehead, we are in for a bona fide track meet that should be the darling game of Daily Fantasy. The Rockets are currently favored at home by 7.5 points with the total sitting at a healthy 228, the highest over-under of the evening. Buckle up!
Brow Down to the Future MVP
Run and gun. Those are the words that the New Orleans Pelicans live and die by. The pace-and-space style of NBA offenses has neared a crescendo with the system that coach Alvin Gentry has created to orbit his super-duper-star Anthony Davis, and last year, they briefly took the league by storm. The wheel has been reinvented in the modern NBA, and New Orleans lead the league in pace last season with a blistering 100.5. For context, the 7 Seconds or Less ‘05-06 Phoenix Suns’ pace was at 95.8, a mark that last year would’ve rested them squarely between the two most boring offenses in the league: Indiana and Utah.
This year, the Pelicans have retooled around their two-way stud, and with the addition of a freshly shaved Elfrid Payton and human wrecking ball Julius Randle, the Pelicans have the athletes and the scheme to score in bunches. If Payton and Randle can become the poor man’s Rajon Rondo and DeMarcus Cousins, the Pelicans should pick back up right where they left off.
Role players will be role players, but the Pelicans’ season hinges on the efforts of The Brow himself. If you were creating a modern-NBA center in a laboratory, it would be nearly impossible to make one more perfect than Anthony Davis. He can run the floor, protect the rim, switch onto smaller guards, play free safety, roll and catch lobs, post-up, face-up, spot-up, shoot 3s, etc. He is one promotional bear fight away from becoming the Jackie Moon of the organization, and even if he did, my money would be on AD. The Pellies will go as far as he carries them, and on the shoulders of an MVP favorite, he might be able to carry them pretty far.
Fear the Beard
The Rockets, on the other hand, might have a Melo-sized problem on their hands. The loss of Trevor Ariza coupled with the addition of the migraine-inducing Carmelo Anthony has the possibility of derailing the contender’s title hopes. Unless Team USA Melo dons a Houston jersey, there is the possibility of real regression from the Western Conference juggernauts.
Unless, of course, the reigning MVP has anything to say about it. Melo woes aside, the Basketball Picasso James Harden should be able to jab step, Euro step, and travel step to his heart’s delight, much to the chagrin of the average NBA fan. If you’re a fan of exquisite footwork and the use of quickness, timing, balance, and leverage to obtain an advantage on drives to the hoop for lobs, dunks, or free throws, then I have the team for you! If, however, you want to do something less painful i.e. claw your eyes out, maybe just switch to another channel.
Ugly as it may be, there is very little to debate when it comes to the reward in which Houston sows. A top-10 defense coupled with the MVP and a legitimate firing squad of shooters is the recipe for another successful run towards the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
Quick Match-up Notes
- Houston bested New Orleans in 4 match-ups in 2017-18 by a score of 3-1, with an average result of 116-108
- Last year, NO ranked 3rd in Points Score and 29th in Points Allowed
- One year ago today, Houston started the opening night of 2017-18 with a 122-121 victory over the Golden State Warriors
It is usually best to take the cautious approach when starting a new sports season. Our preconceived notions have festered all summer and become outdated opinions, and we want to invest our capital in results rather than prognostications. The thing about these two teams that we can remain moderately sure of based off of their personnel is their pace and their offensive efficiency, and we should be in for a high scoring affair. If I was forced to choose a side, I would say Houston takes the wheel in the second half and slides home easily, but I am not in the business of betting against Anthony Davis. The safest bet for profitability and for watchability is to take the over and watch as the buckets ensue. Two MVP candidates scoring 40 points a piece on NBA Opening Night? Sign me up!
Final Score Prediction: Houston 128 - New Orleans 118