Suns vs. Rockets Odds & Picks: Bet a Big Performance From Victor Oladipo
Jeff Haynes/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: David Nwaba (2) amd Victor Oladipo (7).
- The Houston Rockets will take on the Phoenix Suns in Western Conference action on Wednesday night.
- Both teams have struggled as of late, but the Rockets may have just gotten a boost with the addition of Victor Oladipo from the Indiana Pacers.
- Brandon Anderson breaks down the game below and shares a betting pick based on his analysis.
Suns vs. Rockets Odds
|Moneyline||-220 / +184|
|Time||9:30 p.m. ET|
|TV||NBA League Pass|
That torrid Phoenix Suns start feels like forever ago now.
The Suns began the season 5-1 and looked like one of the best teams in the NBA, but they haven’t won a game in 11 days now. Of course, that’s not exactly their fault.
They’ve played only two games during that stretch thanks to an entire week of postponed games in COVID-19 health protocols. Even so, the Suns have faltered to 2-4 since that hot start.
The Rockets have not been good this season, but you’ll forgive the team for feeling pretty good right about now. The team finally moved on from James Harden last week and has to be pretty excited about the new addition of Victor Oladipo, who scored 32 points in his Rockets debut on Monday.
The Rockets are only 4-8 and both teams are a bit out of sync because of all the interruptions and missing players. So, which team will find its groove tonight?
Suns fans have a right to be a little worried right now.
Though the team missed a week of games for protocol, they’ve basically been healthy themselves but are losing anyway. They’ve lost to the Pistons, Wizards, and Grizzlies over their last four games.
Those teams are a combined 13-24 and each of them ranks near the bottom of the league in either offense or defense. These are games a good team is supposed to win.
Phoenix’s defense has faltered after a nice start. The Suns rank right around league average in Defensive Efficiency. In this recent stretch, they’ve given up 115 to the Raptors, 110 to the Pistons, and 108 to the Grizzlies, all of them among the league’s worst offenses thus far.
Phoenix is blitzing the 3-point line, allowing the fewest attempts in the league, but the 2-point defense inside the arc has fallen off, and the Suns are fouling too often, giving the opponent easy baskets at the free-throw line.
And Phoenix isn’t getting those easy looks on the other end.
Though the Suns are shooting well on every level, they’re not drawing many free throws. They’re also not grabbing offensive rebounds to create easy putback opportunities. In effect, Phoenix is making things too easy on the opponent’s offense and too hard on itself.
Chris Paul and Devin Booker have not been good enough. Those two stars should be carrying this offense, but Booker’s numbers are down across the board without an efficiency increase, and Paul is getting others involved well but at the expense of much efficient scoring of his own. The Suns offense needs more from both.
They also need to tighten up the defense inside the arc, and that falls on Deandre Ayton.
Of course, the Suns are also just seeing some bad nights at the wrong time. The team shot 4-of-27 on 3s in the Wizards loss. Booker shot just 3-of-15 on 2s a couple of nights ago in a four-point loss.
Ayton and Jae Crowder went missing against the Pistons, and it looks like Crowder has been benched for Cam Johnson after the week off.
Phoenix’s bench has also been struggling with Cameron Payne getting hurt and dropping off after a hot start. Payne is questionable tonight.
The Suns are also missing Dario Saric, Jalen Smith, and Damian Jones, all still in health protocols. This bench unit is suffering.
We’ve seen how good Phoenix can be, but this team is searching for a number of answers right now.
The Rockets, meanwhile, think they’ve just found a few answers.
The team played with new life its last time out with Oladipo in place of Harden. It’s like a darkness has been lifted from the team, which was clearly ready to move on and move forward — but it hasn’t translated to wins yet.
Houston’s usually efficient offense ranks in the bottom quarter of the league thus far, and remember, it had Harden for most of those games.
Christian Wood has been a serious bright spot. Wood is better than even odds to win Most Improved Player right now. He’s averaging 23.8 points and 10.7 rebounds a night and looking like an absolute steal for Houston.
Unfortunately for Houston, the Rockets haven’t found much else on offense.
Though his return has been inspiring, John Wall hasn’t been particularly great and certainly nothing like the old Wall. He also hasn’t played in over a week with a knee injury and probably won’t go tonight.
That likely means Oladipo and Eric Gordon will be the starting backcourt, with Danuel House and Sterling Brown also expected to miss.
Oladipo had a slow start in his Houston debut but then caught fire and put up 32 points, five rebounds, and nine assists in a huge effort. It looks like he’s the de facto point guard right now, and Houston will rely heavily on Dipo, Gordon, and Wood for most of its offense with few options around them.
The Rockets offense is still taking a lot of 3s, though just top-10 compared to leading the league under Mike D’Antoni. But Houston ranks in the bottom half of the league in 3-point percentage.
The Rockets are also getting hammered on the boards. This team has some potential if Oladipo can continue to play well, but it badly needs to get players like Wall and House back healthy out there.
Neither one of these teams is playing great ball right now. The Suns are looking for some answers after their hot start, while the Rockets have lost two in a row and six of their last eight, all by at least five points.
The Suns are the better team and should pick up the win here, but they should have been getting wins the last couple of weeks, too, and haven’t come through. Is that because Phoenix has gotten unlucky, or is the team missing something?
It feels like Ayton and Wood will be a key matchup in this one.
Ayton is a former No. 1 pick, and Wood was undrafted and bounced around the league, so Ayton needs to take this as a personal challenge and step up his game to at least make that matchup a draw. If he can do that, the Rockets may not have enough firepower to beat the Suns.
The Rockets rode Oladipo’s hot shooting to 120 points but have scored 109 or fewer in seven of their last nine games, averaging just 101.6 points in those seven.
Phoenix plays one of the slowest paces in the league and needs to get its focus back on defense, and this is a great opportunity for the Suns to do so. Suns games have gone under in eight of the last 12, and Houston’s team under has gone under in six of its last nine.
I think the Suns lock in defensively in an effort to get back on track against a team lacking firepower. I like the Rockets team under here as low as 105.5.
I’d also consider playing Oladipo’s points and assists over as high as over 29.5, although it sits at 27.5 on FanDuel as of Wednesday morning.
He had 41 (32 + 9) in his debut and is going to have to do everything right now as the lead handler, passer, and creator. Oladipo will be a free agent next summer, and Houston may wish to trade him before the deadline, so it’s in everyone’s interest to help Oladipo stay hot and put up big numbers.
Pick: Rockets team total under (down to 105.5) | Oladipo points and assists over 27.5 (up to 29.5)