NBA Handicapping: Houston Rockets Early Season Betting Report
by George Monroy - 1/6/2015
The Houston Rockets may be getting overlooked in a tough Western Conference that currently has Golden State, Dallas and Memphis receiving the lion's share of the media attention. However, that lack of awareness does not take away from the fact that Houston is being powered by an MVP-caliber season from its franchise point guard James Harden, while the team's other franchise star, Dwight Howard, deals with various injuries.
The Rockets are on pace for another 50-win season and just made the first meaningful trade of the season why picking up the troubled, yet talented, Josh Smith after he was dropped by the Detroit Pistons 30 games into the year. Let's take a closer look at Houston's early season progress and figure out the correct way to wager on the team heading forward.
Houston Rockets Betting Storyline
Harden may be the biggest part of the team's early success, and his individual brilliance could be what propels the team into a top seed during the second half of the season. The young point guard is currently leading the league in scoring with 27.2 points per game and is sitting at the top of most NBA expert's MVP power rankings lists. Harden has single handedly kept Houston relevant while Howard has been inconsistent during the first third of the season due to nagging injuries.
Houston took a gamble to start off 2015 by signing former Detroit forward Smith after he was released by the Pistons for his poor production and behind-the-scenes attitude. Smith is one of those players that can sabotage a bad team or become a key role player on a good squad with veteran leadership. The polarizing forward recently put up 21 points, six rebounds and two assists in 26 minutes off the bench during Houston's last game against Chicago.
Houston Rockets 2014-15 ATS Report
Houston, at the moment, is a slightly above .500 ATS team and is currently covering spreads at a 53 percent rate. The team has a similar mark in nearly every ATS category and is either slightly above or slightly below the .500 mark. The Rockets have been winning games, yet they are not dominating their opposition because of Howard coming in and out of the lineup on a nightly basis.
The all-star center has dealt with nagging injuries over the first 30 games of the year and has not played enough to allow Houston to begin dominating the way the organization believes it can. The Rockets may be due for a solid ATS run once Howard become completely healthy and can play on a consistent basis-the talent is certainly in place for the team to put up an extended winning streak.
Houston Rockets 2014-15 Predictions
Houston is 4-4 ATS over its last eight games but finally seems to have a healthy Howard back in the lineup going forward. The squad has matchups against Cleveland, New York, Utah, Brooklyn and Orlando over the next seven days and will probably be looking to make up some ground in a tight Western Conference race where it currently sits in the fifth spot with a 23-11 record.
Expect Smith, who is close friends with Howard, to settle into his role coming off the bench and provide a spark and renewed energy to the team. Houston is a better group than its record might suggest and should be fighting for a Top 3 seed in the conference. Harden is on pace to capture his first MVP award, and all the point guard needs is for his team to keep winning.
Read more articles by George Monroy
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