The schedule makers did moms and dads a favor across the NHL and NBA with a light night of games on Halloween. Things really ramp up on Friday November 1 in the NBA with eight games. An ESPN doubleheader highlights the night, beginning with the Houston Rockets vs. the Brooklyn Nets and ending with the Los Angeles Lakers vs. the Dallas Mavericks.
We’ll profile both games with suggested bets and a handicap in our How to Bet previews. Rockets vs. Nets is the game in the spotlight here, as we look for some side and total plays and some player props.
The Rockets are missing Michael Frazier, Gerald Green, and Nene as they take the floor tonight. Frazier is nearing a return, but Nene is expected to miss a couple more weeks and Green won’t be back for a very long time.
The Nets are missing Wilson Chandler, who will be out until mid-December. Kevin Durant remains out after suffering an Achilles injury in last year’s playoffs.
The Rockets are favored at the Barclays Center for this cross-conference clash. Houston is -4 and there are several books threatening to move the line up to -4.5 based on early activity. The total has gone up two points from 239.5 to 241.5 after Houston’s 159-158 regulation win over the Wizards a couple nights ago.
What’s At Stake?
Nothing, really. Every game matters in the win/loss column. Right now, every game matters a little more for the Nets, who are off to a 1-3 start, including losses to the Grizzlies and the Pacers. The Rockets need to bank as many wins as they can because of the Western Conference playoff picture.
The spot is fine both ways. This is the second game of a road trip that will run into next week for the Rockets, but they had last night off as a travel day. The Nets are playing the front end of a back-to-back with a visit to Detroit on the horizon tomorrow night.
The Rockets are 3-0 to the over in their last three games after opening the season against the Milwaukee Bucks with an under in a game that still featured 228 points. James Harden went off for 59 against the Wizards and Bradley Beal had 46 on 14-of-20 shooting. The Wizards got 64 points from their bench in that game, so it was a horrible showing defensively for the Rockets’ second-teamers. The Rockets only got 37 points from their reserves.
Brooklyn’s bench hasn’t done much this season. Spencer Dinwiddie has averaged 17 points and 5.5 dimes off the bench, but the rest of the reserves haven’t been too involved. Kyrie Irving is averaging 35 points per game, as he is finally the focal point he always wanted to be. He’s been excellent and so has Caris LeVert with 18.5 points per game.
The Rockets are the Rockets of old, as they lead the league in ORtg by a large margin, but also rank 29th in DRtg on the season. Both teams rank in the top five in ORB% and struggle to create takeaways on defense. Brooklyn’s 12.2% TOV% on defense is the fourth-lowest in the NBA.
Something that has helped in the over department is that the Rockets lead the league in free throws per field goal attempt. The Nets rank 14th in that department. It does look like the Rockets could get some extra possessions out of this game and should also pick up more free points at the line.
These two teams are both playing at heightened paces, so Brooklyn won’t mind running with Houston. The Nets are actually fifth in 3PT% at 38.1% this season. Houston is 22nd, despite taking the highest percentage of three-point shots in the league. Over half of Houston’s field goal attempts are from distance. Brooklyn owns the league’s worst three-point defense.
You can see why the over has gone up for this game and even with a ridiculously high number at 241.5, that’s the direction I would look. Neither one of these teams will slow down and both teams have a lot of scoring threats. Houston’s defense is abhorrent and Brooklyn’s three-point defense has been the worst in the league in the early going.
As far as the side goes, the line seems about right. Both teams come in 0-4 against the spread, so somebody will get the first cover of the season. I’m not interested in taking either side here, but would lean Houston because of the three-point factors mentioned above.
This is super square, but James Harden and Kyrie Irving probably won’t be stopped in this game. Overs on points will be inflated, but that’s the only way to look in this game. Between Jarrett Allen and DeAndre Jordan, I’d also look at the under for Clint Capela. This seems like a game that will be played out on the perimeter or in transition. Washington doesn’t have great bigs on the interior and Capela had 21 points. The Nets should play better paint defense.