NBA Saturday Picks ATS: New Orleans Pelicans at Houston Rockets

inside-las-vegas-racebook-2340892New Orleans at Houston
Time: 8 PM ET, Apr 12, 2014
Spread: HOU -14.5
Total: 212.5

Betting odds courtesy of 5dimes

The Houston Rockets lost last night to the Minnesota Timberwolves, leaving the “magic number” for clinching home court advantage at 2 still.

The Rockets will play host to the New Orleans Pelicans in a game NBA oddsmakers are favoring the Rockets by 14.5 points.

Houston has the highest scoring offense in the NBA, averaging 107.8 points per game. The Rockets are a dangerous team even without Dwight Howard available, as the big man has missed his last nine contests. The Rockets have lost five of those nine games, but it has been a tough stretch of schedule.

The 130-125 OT victory over Oklahoma City on Apr 4 was a big statement, but the Thunder were without Russell Westbrook and the Rockets were without Howard. Omer Asik has done an admirable job filling in for No. 12, but Asik doesn’t bring the shot blocking presence and is a much slower defender.

The Rockets are already a poor defensive team, but without Howard there to cover the blunders of the perimeter defenders, the defense is reprehensible in stretches. Missing Patrick Beverley’s tenacity in the backcourt also doesn’t help matters, but Beverley is expected to be back for the playoffs.

As well as rookie Isaiah Canaan has played, Beverley brings intangibles and defense that helps Houston in its high powered attack. He’s also a perfect complement to Jeremy Lin, who is a slightly better offensive player but doesn’t bring the defensive acumen of Beverley.

New Orleans is without its top three players, and really unable to compete. Anthony Davis made tremendous strides in his second NBA season but is sitting out the remainder of the year due to back spasms. Ryan Anderson and Jrue Holiday missed most of the season and Eric Gordon is having season ending surgery too.

The Pelicans will hope that a full offseason will bring a healthy team next year, as this is essentially the core it will have. The Hornets surrendered its 2014 lottery pick to acquire Holiday, and the move should pay dividends, as Holiday is a premier playmaker and was really starting to make an ascent to stardom in Philadelphia before being dealt to New Orleans.

NOP Trends: OVER 7-0 in last 7 games following ATS loss; 0-5-2 ATS in last 7 games following SU loss of more than 10 points; UNDER 5-1 in last 6 Saturday games.

HOU Trends: OVER 5-0 in last 5 after scoring 100 or more in previous game; 0-4 ATS in last 4 Saturday games; OVER 4-0 in last 4 following ATS loss.

Head-to-head: UNDER 4-1 in last 5 meetings in Houston; Pelicans 11-4-1 ATS in last 16 meetings; UNDER 18-7-1 in last 26 meetings.

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