Houston Rockets vs Sacramento Kings

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NBA action returns from the All-Star break with the Houston Rockets (11-23) and 14th in the Western Conference traveling to California for a showdown with the Sacramento Kings (14-22) and 13th in the Western Conference.

This will be the third matchup between these teams this season. The Rockets beat the Kings in both games played in Houston back in late December and the beginning of January. The first matchup was John Wall’s debut for the Rockets and James Harden was still a Rocket at the time. The second game Harden actually sat out with an injury, but the Rockets were still victorious.

The oddsmakers have the Sacramento Kings a (-4.5) point favorite at the Golden 1 Center with tipoff scheduled for 7:00pm PT.

Houston Trying To Avoid 8th-Straight Road Loss

Houston has lost seven straight road games and hopes to avoid making eight in a row when they face Sacramento Thursday. The Rockets have lost 13 straight games and their last victory dates back to February 4th when they beat Memphis 115-103.

Despite the two wins against Sacramento earlier in the season the Houston roster is constructed differently with the departure of Harden. In the first half of the season, three games were postponed to the second half of the season, giving the Rockets 38 games to finish in the second half of the season.

The Houston Rockets are averaging 107.6 points per game. John Wall heated up just before the All-Star break dropping 36 points and 32 points in the last two games. Victor Oladipo put up 33 points in his last game before the All-Star break and looks to be finally settling in after 15 games with Houston. Center Chris Wood is still out nursing an ankle injury, and Demarcus Cousins was waived at the end of February.

Kings 2-11 over last 13 Games Before Break

The Sacramento Kings will host the Houston Rockets on Thursday and then travel to Atlanta for a game against the Hawks on Saturday. They will have a total of 36 games to play in the second half of the season and over their last 10 games before the break, the Kings averaged 118.1 points per game.

The defense has been the Achilles heel all season long giving up 120.4 points on average per night. Over their last ten games before the break they were surrendering 124.8 points per game allowing opponents to shoot 52.5% from the field in each of those 10 contests.

The Kings to get scoring contributions from other starters and the bench players, but Sacramento goes as De’Aaron Fox goes. In addition to his career-best 22.8 points per game this season, Fox’s 7.4 assists and 34.1 minutes per game are also career-high marks. Harrison Barnes is contributing 16.7 points per game to go with his 6.1 boards while Buddy Hield is also averaging 16.4 points per game.

The Bottom Line
What to bet on this game.

Full-Game Side Bet
Rating:

Over the last 13 games for Sacramento, they have only been victorious twice. The last 13 games for the Houston Rockets have all ended in losses with their last win coming over a month ago. The Kings have gone 7-11 against Western Conference foes while the Rockets have gone 8-11 against the West. Houston has not had any offense production worth worrying about since Harden left, and the team has managed only a 105.5 offensive rating, which is 28th out of the NBA 30 teams. Sacramento has at least won two of their last four games and appear to be playing the better basketball of the two. With the King’s trio of Fox, Barnes, and Hield the Rockets don’t have an answer for the Kings on Thursday. The King’s rank 2nd in the NBA regarding strength of scheduled rating while Houston ranks 25th. I’ll take the Kings at home to cover the 4.5 points as the Rockets offensive struggles continue.

Prediction:
Sacramento Kings -4.5

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Full-Game Total Pick
Rating:

The oddsmakers have been patient releasing the game total of many of the NBA games tonight. Luckily this matchup is the last one to start on the slate so you have time for more analysis. The Sacramento Kings are a surprisingly decent offensive team. The Kings rank 8th in the NBA in points scored per game. Houston on the other hand is on the other end of that stat, and are 25th in the league in scoring. According to dunksandthrees.com Sacramento is 9th in adjusted offensive rating. Meaning they score 114.1 points every 100 possessions which ranks them 9th out 30 NBA Teams. The concern for me is Houston which ranks second to last in (aORTG) at 105.5 points every 100 possessions. If these teams average offensively what they’ve normally averaged this season the total will come under 227 by 7-8 points. However, here is the key nugget of information in this analysis. Houston is ranking 10th in adjusted defensive rating allowing only 111.1 points every 100 possessions to opponents. Guess what the Kings rank? They rank dead last giving up an average of 118.7 points every 100 possessions. On paper it may look initially like they under is the play, but if you combine the two teams average (aDRTG) you’ll see this total is going to land somewhere north of 229. Take the over!

Prediction:
Over 227.5