NBA Western Conference Betting Preview: Memphis Grizzlies at Houston Rockets
Betting Odds courtesy of Bovada
The Memphis Grizzlies have had a rough going this season since losing reigning Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol. Gasol’s absence has left the Grizzlies’ frontline depleted, with Zach Randolph drawing tougher defensive assignments and just having to do more in general. That plan worked Dec 23 against the Utah Jazz when Randolph scored 22 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and dished out seven assists…but that was against the pitiful Jazz. Tonight, NBA oddsmakers at Bovada don’t predict the same type of success for Memphis, setting the NBA odds 7.5-points in favor of the home team, Houston.
The Houston Rockets are playing the second of a back-to-back after winning impressively Christmas day in San Antonio—the team’s second victory against the Spurs in San Antonio this season. James Harden looked great in the fourth quarter, hitting 6-of-7 from the floor for 11 fourth quarter points as he and the Rockets pulled away from the Spurs for good.
Dwight Howard is looking more and more like the Howard he was in Orlando, and he grabbed 20 boards in addition to chipping in 15 points. Throw in the versatile Chandler Parsons’ great first quarter and Houston certainly has the scoring tools to wreck havoc against even very good defenses like that of the Spurs.
The Rockets rank 2nd in the NBA in scoring (106.5 points per game) and while there are certainly some concerns, such as the team’s tendency to lapse defensively, the pieces are definitely intact to turn the men in red into contenders with some tinkering this offseason.
The Rockets had been shopping Omer Asik, who wanted out from the moment the team signed center Dwight Howard. Attempts to play a “twin towers” failed miserably and the Rockets’ most ineffective lineup this season featured both Asik and Howard.
The lack of floor spacing created problems offensively, but the team is trying to coax Asik into returning to play…because he could still be quite useful off the bench, particularly when Howard ends up in foul trouble or against teams with better backup centers. For the meantime, Daryl Morey will shop Asik in hopes of obtaining help for the 4-spot or possibly an upgrade at point guard.
Though the Rockets may be somewhat fatigued in this game, the Grizzlies simply have no counter for Howard with Gasol on the shelf. Expect the Rockets to pound it into Howard in the post often, where he’s experienced a much higher success rate in recent games, in addition to hitting over 60 percent of his free throws in his last seven games. Coach Kevin McHale may seek to get his Rockets’ bench more minutes in this since it’s the second night of a back-to-back, but the possibility of a double-digit victory is definitely real.
Memphis Trends: 0-6 ATS in last 6 vs teams with winning SU records; 0-5 ATS in last 5 vs teams with winning percentage above .500; 1-5 ATS in last 6 after scoring 100 or more in previous game.
Houston Trends: 0-6 ATS in last 6 following SU win; 0-5 ATS in last 5 following ATS win; OVER 6-0 in last 6 playing on 0 days rest.
Head-to-head: Grizzlies 2-6 ATS in last 8 in Houston; UNDER 20-7 in last 27 meetings in Houston.