Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers Free NBA Picks, Odds and Predictions
by Aaron Smith - 2/25/2014
The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers sit third and fourth in the Western Conference standings. Only half of a game separates them. Oklahoma City and San Antonio are in the driver’s seat in the Western Conference, but Houston and Los Angeles are battling with Portland for the third-best record in the West.
There’s no doubt this could be a potential playoff matchup preview in Los Angeles on Wednesday night. This is the biggest game on Wednesday’s NBA schedule, and ESPN will televise this game nationally in their nightcap.
Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers Betting Story Lines
These two teams have met twice this year, with the Clippers coming out on top in both meetings. Los Angeles won 137-118 in an all-offense game in Los Angeles in November. Just five days later, the Clippers went to Houston and beat the Rockets 107-94. It is important to note that while these teams have played twice this year, their last meeting was Nov. 9. There’s a lot more on the line this time around since the playoffs aren’t all that far away.
Chris Paul is back in the lineup for the Clippers, which is obviously huge for the team. They still aren’t at 100 percent since J.J. Redick is sidelined until late March with a bulging disc in his back. Redick averages 15.7 points per game, and he is that long-range threat that really helps the Clippers stretch the floor.
The Houston Rockets have been fortunate to be relatively healthy all year. One of the reasons Houston is in the spot they are right now is because they have had their nucleus stay quite healthy. As long as James Harden and Dwight Harden are 100 percent healthy, this team will always be a difficult matchup come playoff time.
Houston has been solid on the road this year, going 16-11 straight up and 14-13 against the spread. On the other side, the Clippers are 23-5 SU at home this year and 14-14 ATS.
When the Rockets and Clippers get together, it’s typically the Rockets who are looking to pound it inside more often. The Clippers are looking to attack off the bounce or look for outside jumpers. Blake Griffin has struggled at times when going against Houston because of the presence of Howard on the inside for the Rockets. At the same time, the Clippers have done a great job defending Harden and Howard in their first two meetings this season. Redick had 26 points and 22 points in the first two games between these teams, respectively, so the Clippers will need to get a big game from someone else on the outside with him out of the lineup for this one. Paul has 30 assists in just two games against the Rockets this year, so he’s had no problems finding guys open against this Rockets defense.
The Rockets and Clippers are in a similar spot when it comes to contending in the Western Conference. Oklahoma City and San Antonio are the teams who have been to the NBA Finals in the last two years, and they are sitting atop the standings right now. Both Houston and Los Angeles are looking to dethrone the Thunder and Spurs. No one doubts the talent level of these two teams, but there are plenty of people out there who wonder aloud whether these teams can beat the best teams in the West in a seven-game playoff series. Playoff seeding is a huge deal for both of these teams, so we shouldn’t expect to see the Rockets or Clippers struggling to get motivated for regular season games late in the year.
Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
According to odds from Bookmaker, the Clippers are set as 5.5 point favorites in this contest. The posted total is set at a whopping 220 points. The Rockets are 6-0 ATS in their last six games vs. the Western Conference. The Clippers are 0-6 ATS in their last six games on Wednesday. The “over” is 6-0 in the Clippers last six games vs. the Western Conference. The Rockets are 15-5 ATS in their last 20 games in Los Angeles against the Clippers.
Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Clippers Free NBA Picks and Betting Predictions
The Clippers lost at home to both Miami and San Antonio in recent weeks. While the Clippers are definitely an elite team, I feel like they are less likely to cover a relatively big number like this one against another top team since they are without Redick. Houston has one less Clippers offensive weapon to worry about on the defensive end. Houston has played well on the road of late, and I expect a game that goes right down to the wire here. Grab the points on the underdog in this matchup.
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