Houston Rockets vs. Philadelphia 76ers Pick
Houston Rockets (26-19 SU, 22-22-1 ATS) vs. Philadelphia 76ers (30-17 SU, 22-25 ATS)
When: Monday, January 21st, 2019 – 8:00 PM ET
Where: Wells Fargo Center – Philadelphia, PA
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: HOU +5 / PHI -5
Power Rankings: Philadelphia -4
Takeaways from Houston and Philadelphia’s Most Recent Games
The Rockets come in on the heels of their second-straight overtime game. In the first episode, Clutch City came up short in a 145-142 loss when they hosted Brooklyn on Wednesday. Houston would follow this up with a 138-134 win in overtime on Saturday against the Los Angeles Lakers. Overall, Houston has failed to cover in their last two outings.
The 76ers enter off a bitter loss at home on Saturday when they hosted the Oklahoma City Thunder. As a 2.5-point favorite, the Sixers were edged out by a basket when they fell in a dramatic 117-115 upset orchestrated by Russell Westbrook and company. The loss ended a three-game winning streak and a streak of two consecutive covers for Philadelphia.
How the Public is Betting the Houston-Philadelphia Game
Currently, 53% of the betting public has taken the points here with the Rockets. Despite the lean, a line movement has yet to take shape at the time this article was written.
These two teams have not met since October of 2017 where the Sixers snapped an eight-game losing streak against the Rockets with style when they defeated Houston on its own court by a score of 115-107. Philadelphia pulled an outright upset as a seven-point underdog.
There are several injury concerns for both teams as they prepare to do battle in the City of Brotherly Love. For Houston, they will be without franchise point guard Chris Paul who continues to rehab a grade two hamstring strain suffered in last year’s postseason. CP3 is due back in February. In addition, Center Clint Capela is also shelved until late February as he heals from a thumb injury. On Philadelphia’s end, star Shooting Guard Jimmy Butler is listed as questionable with a sore right wrist.
Can The Beard Lead Houston to Victory?
In 2018, the Rockets had endeavored to build a super-team to rival the Golden State Warriors for the Western Conference credentials. With the emergence of Eric Gordon as a weapon off the bench and the acquisition of Chris Paul paying dividends, the Rockets came within a game of knocking off the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals. When Houston added Carmelo Anthony in the off-season, Clutch City thought their prospects may have actually gotten greater. However, thanks to injuries to CP3 and troubles concerning Melo, the burden falls strictly on reigning MVP James “The Beard” Harden. Needless to say, Harden is putting together another MVP-caliber season averaging 35.7 points per game, 8.5 assists per contest, 6.4 rebounds per game, and 2.1 steals per contest. Harden will need plenty of touches here if Houston hopes to win. Fortunately for The Beard and company, they have a good match-up against a 22nd-ranked scoring defense owned by Philadelphia that gives up 112.2 points per game. When you factor in Houston’s edge in the turnover department, Harden could get extra touches and give Philly even more problems on their own court.
Can Philadelphia Home Home Court Advantage to Get the Win?
A notable angle that Philly can utilize to get the win is their strong home court presence combined with Houston’s paltry road record. In Philadelphia, the 76ers stand 19-5 SU. Outside of Houston, the Rockets are just 9-12 SU. This narrative in itself will likely be the reason why the Sixers are favored here. In addition, Philadelphia remains one of the best rebounding teams on both sides of the court. Offensively, the Sixers produce a fifth-ranked 47.6 offensive boards per game. Defensively, the 76ers generate a fourth-ranked 43.2 boards per contest. This will be another angle that the 76ers will look to use against a Houston team that ranks 25th in offensive rebounding (42 boards per game). In addition, Philadelphia sits seventh in field goal percentage (47.3%). The Sixers get a favorable situation here against a Rockets team that sits 27th in the NBA in opponent field goal percentage at 47.6%.
Daily Free Picks by Kevin West
The most noteworthy trend in this contest is the narrative that the Sixers have covered in the last three meetings between these two combatants. Moreover, Houston is 1-6 ATS in their last seven meetings in Philadelphia.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Houston +5
James Harden has an opportunity to achieve a twenty-game streak of breaking the 30-point threshold if he is successful in the City of Brotherly Love. The possibility of The Beard attaining this accolade is significant as he has averaged 54.3 points against the 76ers in the last three matches between these two teams. While one player can often change the course of a game, it is not often that we see a player that can dominate the affair and potentially turn the match on its head. If Harden goes off here, he can do just that and win this game single-handedly. With that being said, we have to like the prospect of taking back a likely inflated point spread with the potency that accompanies Houston thanks to Harden’s presence. The location of this contest is playing too much of a factor in influencing the pricing of both teams in the point-spread market and as a result we are getting the better team at the better price. The Rockets may be worth a look in a split-wager with half of the bet going on the Money Line (+185) as upset possibility is high in this one.
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