Warrior vs. Rockets Pick NBA – March 17th

The NBA takes the back-burner a bit today due to college basketball and its regular season’s frenetic finish and tonight’s 6pm Selection Show, but there are a few really good NBA games tonight as well as a few nice wagering opportunities.

The Heat should be able to stretch their winning streak to 22 games with relative ease this afternoon in Toronto.  More than a few folks wrote (not me) that the Heat could lose to the Bucks Friday night, but the Heat passed that test with relative ease.  As long as they don’t miss the flight, they should be sitting on 22 straight at the end of today.

Given the Heat’s tendency to press cruise control against lesser opponents, I’m dodging picking that game today.  Just to give you a nice wagering nugget to hold onto, should you be wagering that game today – Miami is just 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games, with the W’s and L’s being pretty even distributed.  It really is hard to get a good read on WHEN they are bringing their A+ game and when they are going to pull out JUST enough to win…

Let’s focus on a different game instead, a pivotal matchup out west for two teams gripping tightly to hold on to their tenuous playoffs spots.

Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets -7

Golden State just finished a desperately important seven game homestand with a mediocre 4-3 record, including last night’s blowout loss to the Chicago Bulls.  Now things get a little tougher as they hit the road again, a place that hasn’t been too friendly to them this season, posting just a 15-20 record.  The road trip begins in Houston, the site of an earlier 140 – 109 humiliation.

Houston has been good at home this year with a record of 22-9.  They will give up their fair share of points, allowing a huge 103.4 ppg at home this year, but they will score even more.  They are averaging a league-high 111.3 ppg on their home floor.  That gives them a positive point differential of over eight points per game at home.  Meanwhile, Golden State has a -4.3 ppg differential on the road and a -0.4 differential overall making them the only Western Conference playoff team with a negative differential.

Houston has owned Golden State this season, posting a 3-0 record and winning each game by at least six points.  They have won both games AT Golden State, and we already talked about what they did to the Warriors in Houston.  Conventional wisdom says it’s hard to beat a team three times in a row, four times in a row, etc.  People like to invoke the “law of averages” or say a team “is due.”

I don’t buy it.  Sometimes teams don’t match up well with an opponent, and sometimes a team is just BETTER than the other team.  I like Houston to continue their dominance over Golden State tonight.  There are a ton of factors in their favor; a 3-0 mark against GS, the fact they are at HOME tonight, and especially the fact that GS is on the back-end of a back-to-back and on the road.

Give me the Rockets to do what they do; hammer the Warriors.

Free Pick:  Houston Rockets -7

Chris Scheeren / Author