Rockets-Spurs Betting Guide: When Will Houston Turn Things Around?
Photo credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Chris Paul and James Harden
Betting Odds: Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs
- Spread: Rockets -2.5
- Over/Under: 210.5
- Time: 8:30 pm ET
- TV channel: NBA TV
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The 6-4 San Antonio Spurs will host the 4-6 Houston Rockets, who are coming off an embarrassing blowout loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder in which they scored just 80 points. Will tonight be the night they turn things around? Our analysts are here to discuss.
Mears: The Rockets Are Primed for Regression
I’ll be a broken record here, but I’m just not going to buy that the Houston Rockets will continue to shoot so poorly from the field for much longer.
Their offensive profile isn’t drastically different than it was a season ago: The Rockets still rank first in the league in 3-point rate, taking them on 44.8% of their possessions. They just haven’t made many, ranking 27th in 3-point percentage, per Cleaning the Glass.
Last game against the Thunder, they shot 3s on 48.8% of their possessions (97th percentile of games) but made just 24.4% of them (ninth percentile). Chris Paul and James Harden went a combined 4-of-16 from beyond the arc. The role players struggled even more: Gary Clark went 1-of-6, Gerald Green went 1-of-4 and James Ennis went 1-of-3.
There are some fair criticisms of the offense. For starters, Clark playing 26 minutes as a rookie and having to be a floor-spacer isn’t ideal, and the Rockets really miss Trevor Ariza. Eric Gordon’s injury absence hurts, too. Further, it’s odd that a Harden-led team ranks 29th in free throw rate; that’s been a staple of Harden’s game for his entire career, and his 41.5% three throw rate is significantly lower than his 53.9% career mark.
Perhaps Harden came in to the season out of shape and thus isn’t able to attack the rim with the same fervor. Or maybe his hamstring is bothering him more than the Rockets are letting on. Regardless, these numbers seem unsustainable, and I’ll continue to buy their positive regression.
The best argument for a bounceback is their open shot data. According to NBA Stats, the Rockets lead the league this year in open shots (defender 4-6 feet away) on 3-pointers, taking them 19.5% of the time. For reference, the No. 2 Hawks are way down at 16.5%. And the Rockets have made just 31.4% of those open shots.
Andrew Johnson of the great Nylon Calculus just put out a study on which teams should see the most positive regression on offense and defense based on shot quality and offensive profile. It’s perhaps no surprise that the Rockets are far and away the No. 1 team in terms of expected positive regression: Johnson thinks they should see a ridiculous +5.1% bump in effective field goal rate.
It seems bettors are in agreement, as this line opened at a pick’em and now stands at Rockets -2.5. I agree with that: Too many positive signs point toward Houston figuring things out soon. — Bryan Mears
Betting Trends to Know
The Rockets lost to the Thunder on Thursday, 98-80. Under Mike D’Antoni, Houston is 11-1 straight up and 9-3 against the spread following a loss of 15 or more points in the regular season. Another trend favoring the Rockets: Since 2005, teams that lost their previous game by 15 or more points and then are road favorites in their next game have gone 237-198-8 (55%) ATS. — John Ewing
Both the Rockets and Spurs are coming off losses in which they shot less than 40% from the field on the road.
Since 2005, when two teams meet and they both shot less than 40% from the field in their previous games, the over is 133-111-6 (54.5%), profiting bettors 15.4 units. In that span, when one of the coaches is Mike D’Antoni, the over is 6-0, going over the total by 17.1 points per game.
In the Rockets’ last game, they shot 37.8% from the field and scored only 80 points, their second-lowest total under D’Antoni.
Since D’Antoni has such a run-and-gun, streak-shooting unit, many would assume it would be profitable to back D’Antoni-coached teams after such a bad performance on the road, but lately they would be wrong.
Since 2011, when D’Antoni-coached teams are on the road after a poor shooting performance, they are only 2-9 ATS, including 0-6 ATS since 2013. — Evan Abrams
Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.