San Antonio Spurs vs. Houston Rockets Pick
San Antonio Spurs (42-30 SU, 40-30-1 ATS) vs. Houston Rockets (45-27 SU, 33-37-2 ATS)
When: Friday, March 22nd, 2019 – 8:00 PM ET
Where: Toyota Center – Houston, TX
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: SA+6 / HOU -6 (Intertops)
Power Rankings: Houston -6
Takeaways from San Antonio and Houston’s Most Recent Games
The Spurs were upset at home two days ago by the visiting Miami Heat. Closing as a 5.5-point favorite, the Heat defeated the Spurs 110-105. The loss ended a nine-game winning streak for the Spurs who also went an impressive 8-1 ATS over this span.
The Rockets also saw winning streak come to an end two days ago at the hands of the Memphis Grizzlies. Houston closed out their road trip in Memphis on a low note, losing 126-125 in overtime despite also closing as a 5.5-point favorite. Over their last ten matches, the Rockets remain an impressive 8-2 SU and profitable 6-4 ATS.
How the Public is Betting the San Antonio-Houston Game
The Rockets opened as an eight-point favorite. Since the open of this market, early action on the Spurs has moved the market downward by two points to Houston’s current number of -6. In light of this, 63% of the consensus like the Rockets in their present position.
San Antonio and Houston last locked horns on December 22nd when the Rockets curated the hosting duties. Houston was priced as a five-point favorite and produced their second consecutive straight-up win and cover against the Spurs when they defeated San Antonio 108-101.
Neither team has expressed any injury concerns to key personnel heading into this rivalry clash.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
Both teams will be playing this game on two days’ rest. For San Antonio, this is their first contest in a three-game road trip that concludes in Charlotte on Tuesday. On the flipside, Houston is back home after a two-game road trip that concluded in Memphis on Wednesday. The Rockets should not get too comfortable as they are back on the road for two more games on Sunday when they head out to the Big Easy to meet with the New Orleans Pelicans.
Can San Antonio’s Field Goal Efficiency Lead To An Upset?
If San Antonio is upset-minded here, they will need to go to their bread-and-butter to get the job done: their shooting acumen. The Spurs sit second in the NBA in field goal efficiency (47.8%) and they are the best team in the league in hitting three-pointers (39.9%) and taking advantage of the charity stripe (82.2% free throw percentage). Going up against a Houston team that sits 24th in opponent field goal percentage (47.1%) and 22nd in opponent free-throw percentage (77.2%) will help their cause. Moreover, San Antonio has an edge in turnovers and they get more equity out of their bench compared to their counterparts. The Spurs bench scores 38.3 points per game which is 12 points greater than Houston’s bench which averages 26.3 points per contest. This serves as a pivotal advantage for the Spurs should this game go the distance, which I believe it will.
Can Houston’s Exploit The Spurs’ Road Troubles To Extend Winning Streak Against Their Rivals?
San Antonio’s road woes could serve as a primary reason for many bettors to play the chalk in this rivalry contest. At home, the Spurs are about as scary a team as one could cross paths with as they are 29-8 SU on their own hardwood and defeat the opposition by an average of 7.2 points. Away from home, the Spurs are a different story. In road games, San Antonio is 13-22 SU and are outscored by opponents by an average of 4.5 points. Unfortunately for San Antonio, Houston is a force on their own floor as they stand 26-10 SU in “Clutch City” and outscore the opposition by an average of 5.2 points in the Toyota Center. Houston will look to hone their home court advantage to throw the Spurs off their game and cover the line while doing so.
San Antonio has struggled to yield profits for those that back them on the Rockets’ court as they have covered just once in the last five meetings (4-1 ATS) that have taken place in Houston. For Over/Under players, the Under is 5-1 ATS in the previous six contests.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: San Antonio +6
You know what they say about rivalry games, they bring the unexpected. I have little doubt that San Antonio stubbed its toe on Wednesday against Miami because they were in a quintessential “sandwich spot”. San Antonio came into the Heat game off a marquee win against Golden State on Monday and were undoubtedly looking forward to this game against the cross-state adversaries who were the other participant in the 2018 Western Conference Finals. After all, San Antonio has a pedigree for excellence in its own right and are led by one of the most decorated coaches in NBA history, Greg Popovich. Nevertheless, GFrapolden State is the current dynasty and many speak of Houston as being a viable contender to usurp the W’s. One team that has been forgotten by many is these San Antonio Spurs. This stage will offer the Spurs an opportunity to remind the world of who they are and what they can do. I wouldn’t be surprised if San Antonio pulled an upset here but no matter who you slice it, this will be a hard-fought game that will come down to the wire. I see the victor winning this game on the last possession. For that reason, I’ll take the points as there are more than enough to work with.