Miami Heat @ Houston Rockets | NBA Betting Tips and Predictions
The Houston Rockets are not going to finish the season with the best record in the NBA like they did last year. But they are starting to shape up into a team capable of making a deep run into the postseason. The Miami Heat are currently sitting a half-game behind the Charlotte Hornets for the last spot in the Eastern Conference and can’t afford to fall further behind.
Spread: Houston by 9.5
Money Line: Rockets -460; Hornets +385
*Odds via BetOnline.ag
After playing the Golden State Warriors as close as they did in the Western Conference Finals last season, many thought the Rockets could do it again this season. But then free agent losses and early injury issues got the team off to a slow start. As the team’s health improved, the Rockets began to look better on the court and started to win some games. They are not playing as well as they did last season. But they do have James Harden putting on another MVP-caliber performance this season. The Rockets will enter Thursday night’s game having won their last three in a row including a win over the Golden State Warriors. James Harden’s scoring streak came to an end the other night against the Atlanta Hawks, but it started up again Wednesday night with a 30-point effort against the Miami Heat. Houston may be without the services of Kenneth Faried and Iman Shumpert. Both left Wednesday night’s game with an injury. Rather than risk making it worse, the team could decide to rest them instead.
The Miami Heat made their triumphant return to the playoffs last season after missing out the previous year. Coming into this season, the goal was to get back and maybe even win a series (the 76ersbeat them 4-1 in the opening round last season). Right now, they are on the outside looking in on the playoffs. But they are only a half-game behind the current No. 8 seed, the Charlotte Hornets. However, technically, they still aren’t the No. 9 seed. That distinction goes to the Orlando Magic due to .002 percentage points. So, they do not have any room for error. Should they play like they did Wednesday night against the Golden State Warriors (a 126-125 win), there will not be any errors made. Center Hassan Whiteside and forward James Johnson have already been ruled out for the game due to injuries.
Miami Heat @ Houston Rockets Head-to-Head
The Heat and Celtics have only played once this season, and it was a game that cost the Rockets more than just an ‘L.’ It was during that game that Chris Paul was injured causing Houston to go much of the season without his services. Miami went on to win that game by two, 101-99. The Heat are 10-6 against the Rockets in regular season play dating back to the 2010-11 season.
Odds and Prediction
Miami is a team with a lot of promise and potential. They showed as much in their recent win over the Warriors. However, they have not been playing well overall in recent games. The victory over Golden State was just their third in the last ten including games against the Warriors, Suns, 76ers, and Pacers. Houston, on the other hand, has been busy proving that they are going to be a formidable team in the playoffs this season. Their win over Charlotte Wednesday night was their seventh in their last ten. The Rockets are far from perfect and could be minus two clutch players (Faried and Shumpert). It will be interesting to see how well Chris Paul does in the second game of a back-to-back. Miami is scrappy, and the Rockets are likely going to be cautious with guys. This means the game could end up being closer than you would think. Despite that possibility, take Houston to win (-460) over Miami (+385). Both teams have been putting some points lately making the over (218.5) a good bet. As for the spread, Houston hasn’t won a lot of games by nine points or more this season; four in their last ten games. Miami has been putting some points on the board, so expect them to make this one tough.
Expert Betting Tip
You couldn’t have two teams playing any more different than these guys. The Heat are spiraling down (except for the win over Golden State) while Houston is relatively healthy and playing very well.