Sunday NBA Picks and Betting Preview: Houston Rockets at Indiana Pacers

Houston at Indiana
Time: 5 PM CT (NBA LP)
Spread: HOU -3.5
Total: 222.5

Odds c/o 5dimes

The Houston Rockets are continuing to roll, and are doing it all without its new addition Chris Paul, who continues to sit with a bruised left knee, that was expected to cause him to miss the first two-to-four weeks of the 2017-18 season.

Houston has gone 10-3 on the strength of James Harden’s attack, and it is currently tied for the Western Conference lead with last year’s defending champion Golden State Warriors. Houston has won five-straight and will travel to face the much-improved Indiana Pacers today at 5 PM (CT) on NBA League Pass. The Rockets are 3.5 point favorites in a game with a high over/under of 222.5 points.

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Houston never lacks for scoring. The Rockets average 110.5 points per game while giving up 103.5. Indiana averages 109 points itself, but its defense is not quite as good, as the Pacers are surrendering 108.4 points per game.

Those figures bode well for this game going over ‘220,’ but will it eclipse the 222.5 set by NBA oddsmakers at bookmaker 5dimes?


That is a tougher wager, and inclinations would lead towards a ‘yes’ on going over, but it really all hinges on how well the Pacers can get its offense started. Indiana is reliant upon an emergent Victor Oladipo, who appears to finally have found his niche and home, back in his home state.

Oladipo is averaging a career-high 23 points per game, along with 4.3 rebound and 3.8 assists per contest. The Pacers are hoping to get more from Myles Turner, though, who is averaging a humble 14.5 points and nine rebounds per game.

Turner was thought, initially, to be the face of the franchise following the departure of Paul George, but thus far it has mostly been Oladipo. Turner is attempting just 11.7 field goals per game and hitting 45.7 percent, and he still needs to play more inside to use his frame and strength to get buckets. It is turning out the LaMarcus Aldridge comparison has been far too accurate, though Turner is a good shot blocker in swatting 2.5 per game. The Pacers are getting strong production from its role players, too.

Bojan Bogdanovic came as a free agent, and his shooting has helped space the court. Bogdanovic is hitting 43.1 percent of his triples while attempting 4.5 per game and averaging 13.9 points per night. Domantas Sabonis has come out of his shell after struggling as a rookie in Oklahoma City. He came over with Oladipo in the Paul George trade, and is showing the signs of being far more than a “throw in” in the deal. Sabonis is averaging 13 points and 10.2 rebounds per game, no longer forced into the stretch-4 role he occupied in OKC last season.

The Pacers have not made vast usage of a reclamation project in Lance Stephenson. Stephenson spent his most effective seasons as a pro in Indiana, but he has seen just 19.8 minutes per game and is shooting a horrid 33 percent from the field. Though he may not have been counted on for much, Stephenson’s defense and effort can change games, and the Pacers will continue to try to coax the best from the veteran whose career went astray after leaving the Pacers several seasons ago.


Houston has got it done with James Harden, who should be a strong contender for the league’s MVP award after finishing runner-up last season. Harden has averaged 30.5 points, 9.8 assists and 4.8 rebounds per game while posting a PER of 29.4. Eric Gordon has come into his own the second option, and he now appears to be every bit as good as he was early in his career before the ACL injury and departure from Los Angeles (Clippers).

Gordon is averaging 23.1 points per game this season, and Clint Capela has been strong inside for the Rockets with 12.8 points and 11.1 rebounds per game.

The Rockets then rely on an assemblage of role players who all seem to know their roles and fit perfectly. Ryan Anderson functions as the three-chucker of the offense, averaging 11.8 points per game with 8.4 of those points coming from three-point field goals (hitting 36.7 percent). Harden leads the team in three-point percentage at 40.8, but Houston hits 15.2 threes per game as a team at a 34.1 team-wide percentage.

Houston just has such an effective offense, that it is going to win it a lot of regular season games. Bearing down on defense is how this team takes the proverbial “next step,” and it is something no Mike D’Antoni team has ever done, as resplendent playoff failures, as it is.4

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