Wizards vs. Rockets NBA Odds & Picks: Houston Starting to Click With New Pieces
- The Rockets are a short favorite over the Wizards on Tuesday night in the first meeting between these teams after swapping John Wall for Russell Westbrook.
- Houston's offense has started to find some form for the first time since trading James Harden -- can the Rockets keep it up against shorthanded Washington?
- Get our breakdown and best bet for Wizards vs. Rockets below.
Wizards vs. Rockets Odds
|Moneyline||+122 / -144|
|Time||8 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Tuesday morning and via FanDuel, which is now live in Virginia!|
The Wizards will play the Rockets in Houston on Tuesday night for the first time since they swapped former All-Star point guards John Wall and Russell Westbrook. Since, Houston in particular has gone through another wave of wholesale changes.
Expect the team whose point guard plays better on Tuesday to win the game.
If the Wizards hope to upset the Rockets, they will have to do it severely shorthanded. Starting center Thomas Bryant is out for the season with a knee injury, and their backup point guard, Raul Neto (groin), is questionable. The Wizards will also be without Deni Avdija, Davis Bertans, Troy Brown Jr., Rui Hachimura, Ish Smith, and Moritz Wagner on Tuesday as they remain in COVID-19 protocols.
The Wizards will have just nine players available if Neto is out. With the Wizards so shorthanded, they will need Russell Westbrook to step up his game to give the consistent Bradley Beal some help.
Beal has been phenomenal this season, leading the NBA with 34.5 points per game. Beal has excelled with the ball in his hands as he ranks in the 75th percentile among wings in points per 100 shot attempts (121.4) while also ranking in the 94th percentile in assist percentage (22.8%), per Cleaning The Glass.
While most players should be shooting at the rim or behind the three-point line to maximize their scoring ability, Beal is one of those special players who is skilled enough to be efficient even from the midrange.
According to Cleaning The Glass, he ranks in the 99th percentile in long midrange shot attempts and in the 96th percentile for all midrange attempts among wings, but this is justified as he ranks in the 85th percentile in long midrange accuracy (56%) and in the 88th percentile for total midrange accuracy (51%) among wings.
31 PTS, 13/29 FG, -2
9 PTS, 3/11 FG, -20
Wizards fall to 3-9 😬 pic.twitter.com/WYxddZGPae
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 25, 2021
While Beal has been exceptional, Westbrook has been disappointing in his first few games in Washington. He’s averaging a career-low 99.3 points per 100 shot attempts which ranks in the 8th percentile among point guards this season. Westbrook is attempting only 25% of his shots at the rim this season. This ranks nine percentage points below his lowest percentage of shots taken at the rim in any other season in his 13-year career (per Cleaning The Glass).
Westbrook has been inefficient while attempting too many midrange shots as he is taking a career-high 34% of his shot attempts in the long midrange (97th percentile in attempts among point guards) and 52% of his shot attempts from the midrange (92nd percentile). While he is shooting more midrange attempts than ever before, Westbrook ranks in just the 22nd percentile in midrange accuracy at 32%.
Westbrook will need to have a much more efficient night from the midrange or be aggressive and get to the rim more often than he has this season against his former team.
While the Rockets don’t have the number of absences that the Wizards do, they may be without starting center and comeback player of the year candidate Christian Wood as he is questionable with an ankle injury. The good news for the Rockets is that Houston just played its best game of the season in a 133-108 win at the Mavericks on Sunday without both Wood and Victor Oladipo.
Tuesday against the Wizards is expected to be the first time that Oladipo and Wall play together. If Wall and Oladipo find some chemistry and set up teammates like Eric Gordon, DeMarcus Cousins, and Danuel House Jr., the Rockets should cover.
The Rockets will have some growing pains as Oladipo and Wall figure out how to play together. While this process will take some time, they should have a good chance to be successful against this Wizards team that is below average at all three levels defensively and will be playing without its best rim protector as Thomas Bryant is out for the season.
The Wizards only have one center (Robin Lopez) who started the season on the roster as they picked up Alex Len and Jordan Bell in the last few weeks. This should set up driving opportunities for Wall and Oladipo while also giving DeMarcus Cousins a chance to shine after a season-high 28 points on Sunday against the Mavericks.
The Rockets have the more talented roster even if Christian Wood doesn’t play as the Wizards will be without three of their five leading scorers (and up to four of their top six scorers if Neto is out). The Wizards played for the first time in two weeks in a discouraging 20-point loss to the Spurs on Sunday, and I have a hard time seeing them turn the tide so quickly unless Westbrook can be an efficient performer on Wednesday.
Beal has been fantastic this season, but Westbrook isn’t a good shooter and keeps taking inefficient shots while also leading the NBA with 5.1 turnovers per game.
With John Wall publicly saying that he is extra-motivated to beat his former team and the Rockets playing their best basketball after two straight wins with big performances from Eric Gordon and DeMarcus Cousins, expect the Rockets to win and cover with value up to Rockets -3.
Pick: Rockets -2.5 (bet up to -3)