San Antonio Spurs (37-29) at Houston Rockets (52-14)
The insane winning streak is still going! We have now won nine out of our last ten NBA bets! We picked up another victory last night when we backed the Houston Rockets playing on the road against the Dallas Mavericks, laying -10-points.
The Rockets were coming off having their seventeen-game winning streak snapped the game before and I expected some pissed off players for Houston. The Mavericks had won two straight games at home, their longest home winning streak in months, and were ripe for mailing in a mediocre performance.
We nailed it on both sides. The Rockets ended up scratching their best player and the likely NBA MVP this year, James Harden, before the game and still dominated the second half enroot to a blowout 105-82, road victory.
This Rockets team is elite, and it looks like losing that long winning streak did nothing to hurt their confidence as they dominated this one without Harden. Tonight, I will stay with the Rockets as I break down their matchup with the San Antonio Spurs.
The San Antonio Spurs will travel to Houston Monday night to face their inter-state rivals, the Houston Rockets. This matchup has huge playoff implications for both teams. The Spurs are looking to hang on to a half a game lead over three teams for the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
While the Rockets are looking to finish strong and lock up the number one overall seed out West. The Rockets are huge -12-point home favorites. The game total over-under is set at 211 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 5:00 PM PST from the Toyota Center.
The San Antonio Spurs are in freefall. They can’t win a game, and they can’t keep their best players healthy for any prolonged stretch of time. I predicted a couple of weeks ago that San Antonio would miss the playoffs for the first time in twenty years and have been looking for ways to fade them ever since. The Spurs have responded for me and are tanking hard at the moment. The Spurs are 3-10 since February 1st.
I took Houston last night after they lost their big winning streak because I knew that this wasn’t the type of team that was going to hang its head and cry about losing one game. This was the type of team that was going to go in and dominate a game where they were clearly the much better team. And that is exactly what they did last night, and that is exactly what I expect them to do tonight.
Greg Popovich coached teams don’t take nights off. Except when he wants them to. Popovich has a long history of benching his best players in spots where he thinks his team has no reasonable chance to compete. Pop has even been known to bench his entire starting five on a nationally televised game if he thinks it is the best move for the team long term. That is what will happen here tonight in Houston.
The current road trip for San Antonio was never going to go well for the Spurs. They had to play at Golden State, at Oklahoma City, and at Houston. That is a stretch of games that they would have struggled with no matter which players were on the court. So, for the third game of this roadie, Pop has decided to bench their best remaining player, LaMarcus Aldridge, as well as veteran guard Manu Ginobili.
This is in addition to being without Kawhi Leonard who has been out basically all season long. Oh, and Pau Gasol looked banged up still in their last game after hurting his shoulder and missing a game last week, you can expect him to be limited as well.
Popovich doesn’t like to lose, but when he decides he can afford to drop a game, he does it in spectacular fashion. There are some very strong rumors that Kawhi Leonard will return on Thursday for their next game and it looks like Pop knows they can’t win tonight in Houston, so he isn’t even going to try. He is going to rest up his guys and get them focused on playing a good last twenty games with Leonard back and making a push to make the playoffs.
The NBA hates it when coaches make savvy moves like this as it hurts the competitive nature of the game, but I love it as it creates a lot of value for a sharp bettor. This game won’t be close.
James Harden took last night off to rest and will play heavy minutes tonight, and I expect another blow out Houston victory. I never thought I would find myself laying -12-points against a Greg Popovich coached team, but here I am, and I love it.
The Spurs will play a lineup that is borderline unrecognizable and will get slaughtered on the road. It is a heavy load to lay at -12-points, especially considering that Houston is playing the back end of a back to back. But I think they win and cover this game easy.
When Pop mails one in he doesn’t keep it close to save face. He knows a loss is a loss, whether it’s by one point or twenty-five. Tonight, it feels more like twenty-five.
Give me the Houston Rockets -12-points tonight at home!