The NBA’s restart has a jam-packed schedule on a daily basis, which means we essentially have nonstop basketball on TV all day long. It’s a good time to be a basketball bettor, but it’s a bad time to be a basketball fan trying to concentrate on work with games on in the background all afternoon.
We’ve got six games on Tuesday’s NBA schedule, and the headliner appears to be the final game of the night. The Houston Rockets, fresh off of impressive back-to-back wins over the Mavericks and Bucks, will “visit” the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland is one of several teams vying for the last playoff spot in the Western Conference, and they have a record of 1-1 since play resumed.
Houston is a 4-point favorite here in a game with a massive 244.5 over/under, which is the largest we’ve seen since play restarted last Thursday. Portland has taken two of the three meetings between the teams this season, though they haven’t met since January 29.
Blazers’ Huge Lineup
Portland benefited from the four-month layoff beacuse it allowed them to get healthy. Both Jusuf Nurkic and Zach Collins are now healthy after missing just about the entirety of the season, and both have since rejoined the starting lineup. So, the Blazers now start a pair of guards in addition to a pair of seven-footers (Nurkic and Collins) as well as the 6’8″ Carmelo Anthony.
That means three of the Blazers’ five starters are taller than every Houston starter. Robert Covington (6’7″) is the biggest Rocket on the floor for most of the game. The Blazers may have to go small at some point during this game to try to match up with Houston’s speed, but Terry Stotts has already announced that he plans to use his standard starters in this one.
We have seen bigs have quite a bit of success against the tiny Rockets. Kristaps Porzingis scored 39 points against Houston’s pint-sized lineup last Friday, while Giannis Antetokounmpo (36 points) and Brook Lopez (23 points) both had their way offensively on Sunday night.
Nurkic has looked particularly spry in the two games since the season restarted. The Bosnian Beast is averaging 24 points, nine rebounds, five assists, and 3.5 blocks in games against the Grizzlies and Celtics, and the Rockets obviously don’t have anyone in the rotation remotely close to giving him much of an issue on the low block. You’d think the Blazers will make a point of getting Nurkic the basketball as often as possible while he’s on the floor.
Rockets’ Blitzing Lineups
Houston was able to beat the NBA’s best team in the Bucks by playing quality defense down the stretch. Milwaukee had far more size than the Rockets, but Houston’s defenders still held their own by sending help defenders when necessary. That forced the Bucks into some untimely turnovers.
On the other end of the floor, Houston was able to get anything they wanted. The Rockets tied the NBA record with 61 three-point attempts against the Bucks, and the vast majority of those looks were wide-open. The Rockets made 21 of their attempts, which far outpaced the Bucks’ nine makes.
The Rockets should be able to get any shot they want against a Portland defense that has struggled all year. The Blazers are allowing 111.4 points per 100 possessions this season, which is the fourth-worst mark in basketball. Only the Cavaliers, Wizards, and Hawks have been less stingy on that end of the floor.
Blazers vs Rockets NBA Pick
The Rockets and Blazers have combined to score 240, 224, and 237 points in their three previous meetings so far this season. Those are certainly high-scoring games, but they never seriously challenged tonight’s over/under of 244.5. The Blazers are desperately trying to solidify themselves in the playoff race, while the Rockets are still battling for seeding near the top of the West.
So, both teams have plenty left to play for. I just really don’t see how the Blazers stop the Rockets in this one. Houston to cover the 4-point spread at -110 makes sense, but I also think there is merit to taking a stab at the under on 244.5. The games in Orlando have been high-scoring in general, but the total for this one just looks a bit aggressive.
Take your pick. Houston to cover the 4-point spread and the under on 244.5 both look like solid options tonight.
Taylor Smith has been a staff writer with GamblingSites.org since early 2017. Taylor is primarily a sports writer, though he will occasionally dabble in other things like politics and entertainment betting. His primary specialties are writing about the NBA, Major League Baseball, NFL and domestic and international soccer. Fringe sports like golf and horse racing aren’t exactly his cup of tea, bu ...
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