Welcome to the Tuesday, 10/30/18 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for tonight I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager that we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Season to Date:
ATS Picks: 6-3 (.667)
ATS Leans: 3-0 (1.000)
Moneyline: 3-0 (1.000)
10/30/18 NBA Betting Pick:
Portland Trail Blazers (4-2) at Houston Rockets (1-4)
Over/Under Total: 225.5
It would have been difficult to script a worse start to the 2018-19 season for the Rockets. The trouble began early, with the Pelicans handing Houston an embarrassing 131-112 Opening Night loss at Toyota Center. Then, Chris Paul was issued a two-game suspension after fighting with Rajon Rondo in the team’s second contest, making their only win of the season a pyrrhic victory. A tough three-point loss to the Clippers followed. James Harden then promptly suffered a hamstring injury in a loss to the Jazz. The capper on the nightmare five-game stretch was a 20-point loss in a rematch with the Clippers last Friday night.
The one piece of good news is that the team has some solid depth to fill in for Harden in the form of Eric Gordon. Likewise, Carmelo Anthony is able to step in and provide more offense than starter James Ennis (hamstring), who is also out. In fact, Anthony tallied a team-high 24 points in a start for Ennis last Friday night. Gordon wasn’t anywhere near as productive in his first start for Harden during that same contest. However, his talent level as a shooter is such that his 3-for-14 tally that night can be considered an outlier. He’s highly capable of bouncing back. Gerald Green and Michael Carter-Williams help make up for some of the depth the second unit loses with Gordon and Anthony moving into the starting five.
Granted, the combination of Houston’s lackluster defense and Portland’s offensive firepower thus far makes the 2.5-point line in favor of the Rockets an initial head-scratcher. Yet it’s worth noting the disparity in rest between the two teams. The Trail Blazers will be playing their third game in four nights Tuesday, and fourth in six nights overall. Tuesday’s contest will be their fourth straight on the road as well. Conversely, the Rockets will be taking the court on three days’ rest. That’s especially valuable for a team relying on several over-30 players at the moment.
Additionally, before holding the Pacers to 93 points Monday, the Trail Blazers had given up a robust 117.2 points per game. For all the hand-wringing about the Rockets’ porous defense thus far, that figure is only slightly lower than the 118.8 per contest Houston is surrendering.
Finally, the 2017-18 numbers against Portland for three players that will be pivotal to Houston’s fortunes Tuesday are worth noting:
Paul: 28.0 points (on 48.7 percent shooting), 7.3 assists, 5.5 rebounds, and 1.3 steals (four games)
Gordon: 20.0 points (on 46.5 percent shooting), 3.7 rebounds, and 1.3 assists (three games)
Anthony: 13.3 points, 6.7 rebounds, 1.0 block across 28.7 minutes (three games)
By the Numbers: This is a space where I normally list multiple metrics for each team against the spread that support my lean or pick. However, this game is not one of those instances with the exception of pointing out the Blazers are 1-2 against the number after a win in the new season. The metrics that buttress my pick of a Rockets cover/win are the past successes of Houston’s key players in this matchup. Plus, there’s the home team’s hunger for a victory and Houston’s 4-0 sweep of the season series last year. That included one game in which Harden didn’t play. Then, just as important is the wide gulf in recent rest.
The Final Word: The Rockets should come in with fresh legs and aren’t devoid of offensive talent by any means, even with Harden out of the lineup. In fact, they undeniably get an upgrade on the scoreboard with Anthony taking Ennis’ spot for the moment. They’ve also had three full days to work through some of the defensive issues that have plagued them in the early going. I’m with the books on this one, odd as the line may seem on the surface. Houston gets back on track and takes advantage of a jet-lagged Portland squad.
The Pick: Rockets -2.5, Rockets moneyline (-156)