I flirted with a bold money-line pick on the Sixers getting their first win of the season last night at home against Indiana. After all, they took the Pacers to OT two nights ago in Indy, and they have been sniffing around the breakthrough win, only to come up tantalizingly short three or four times this season. Add in the road disasters for Indiana this season (0-5 on the road).
But the Indiana getting five made me reconsider (dumbly) What is Vegas seeing that I am not here? Why isn’t Philly favored?
So I missed Philly getting off their skid. And now have a skid of my own, taking a third straight NBA loss last night with Charlotte coming up a few points short. We are still 67% ATS for the season, so I’m not pouting or whining, but it IS time to get back on track. So let’s do it tonight.
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Today’s Free Pick:
San Antonio Spurs at Houston Rockets +2
Very quietly, the Rockets are playing fantastic basketball. They are only 5-3, but they have played less home games (ONE) than any other team in the NBA. Their five wins include a road win AT San Antonio, and their losses include road losses at Cleveland and Atlanta. Now they get to finally come HOME, and this line a clearly an indication of a combination of fear of accepting WHERE San Antonio is, and accepting that Houston and James Harden look far more like the 2014-2015 version than last year’s train wreck.
So, my simple take is – BAD LINE. Houston should be the favorite at home. They are playing very good basketball, and another HUGE factor, San Antonio played a game last night while Houston has rested since winning on the Riverwalk on Wednesday. Granted, the trip from San Antonio to Houston isn’t a massive flight, but it is still two games in 24 hours for an aging team and a coach who has been known to show his disdain for this scheduling method by, ehm, putting forth a less than full complement of stars.
There’s no indication that Coach Pop won’t play it straight tonight, but I am not sure it really matters. I’d take Houston right now on even rest. 5-3 with next to NO home games is nothing to sneeze at. All three losses were road losses to quality teams (assuming you are willing to concede the Lakers is a decent road loss) and they do have a nice road win over these same Spurs.
I understand a “the Rockets are ALL Harden, and San Antonio can neutralize him with Kawhi, then what??” mentality. But in his past two seasons against the Spurs, this hasn’t been an issue. He went for 24/12/15 on 49% shooting last week in San Antonio, and last season he averaged a muted, but not awful 21/4/5 on roughly 46% shooting. Harden will still get his.
And I think the Rockets will as well.