Western Conference Betting Preview: L.A. Lakers at Houston Rockets

lakers-vs-thunder-nba-2LA Lakers at Houston Rockets
Time: 8 PM ET
Line: HOU -14.5
Total: 212.5

Betting Odds courtesy of 5dimes

The L.A. Lakers are 14-21 on the season and have lost eight of its last ten contests. The Lakers opponent, the Houston Rockets, are 22-13 on the season and enter the game as 14.5-point favorites according to NBA oddsmakers at 5dimes.

Tuesday night, the Lakers lost 110-97 to Dallas on the road. Jodie Meeks scored 24 points in the loss. Meeks ranks fourth on the team in scoring with 13.5 points per game, or third, if Kobe Bryant’s six-game stint is excluded. Nick Young leads the team in scoring with 16.2 points per game but is one of the worst decision makers and shot-chuckers in the NBA and it’s questionable if he can mesh at all with Kobe once the legend returns.

The Lakers have some relatively talented players but are saddled with cap issues and it will be difficult to fit in another max contract alongside Bryant’s supermax deal. Pau Gasol is performing decently with averages of 15.6 points and 9.6 rebounds, and he’ll likely be mentioned heavily in trade rumors again at the deadline in February.

The Rockets have been even more potent offensively this year than last. The team ranks 4th in the NBA in scoring with 105.6 points per game, but the Rockets also surrender 102.5 points per game. The team is excellent in transition with James Harden capable of creating well for himself and others. Harden averages 24.4 points, 4.9 rebounds and 5.2 assists this season. Dwight Howard is starting to get closer and closer to his Orlando-type play, and he is averaging 17.8 points and 12.9 rebounds on the season.

The two superstars in Harden and Howard are surrounded by some very good role players in Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons, Omri Casspi and Terrence Jones. The Rockets still need to improve defensively a lot before it can be considered contenders, but the pieces are intact already to form a high octane effective offense. Harden must continue to mature as a player while Daryl Morey tries to make a play to solidify the 4-spot via trade.

Lakers Trends: 0-5 ATS in last 5 road games vs teams with winning home records; UNDER 4-0 in last 4 on 0 days rest; UNDER 7-1 in last 8 after allowing 100 points or more in previous game.

Houston Trends: UNDER 5-0 in last 5 after scoring 100 or more in previous game; 0-3-1 ATS in last 4 overall; 0-3-1 ATS in last 4 home games vs teams with losing road records.

Head-to-head: Lakers 1-4 ATS in last 5 in Houston; OVER 9-3 in last 12 meetings; OVER 5-2 in last 7 meetings in Houston.

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