GAMBLING GUIDE

Dropping NBA dimes: When betting on the Rockets, pace is key

James Harden, Chris Paul and the Rockets have slowed down the pace. Ronald Martinez/Getty Images

The NBA playoff race is getting intense, and teams are making their late-season pushes for supremacy. One group that continues to impress is the hometown Houston Rockets. The No. 1 seed, currently on a 13-game win streak is what we are observing, but more so based on how have they fared in Vegas. With the home team playing unimaginable basketball this season, gamblers must pick spots to take advantage of; let's dive into some numbers.

Houston holds the best overall record in the league sitting at 47-13. When playing in the Toyota Center, they are 24-6; on the road 23-7. The Rockets have benefited from win streaks all throughout the year, where coming off a victory they are 39-7 (84.8%). Houston has the most stringent strength of schedule in the Western Conference the remainder of the regular season so keeping pace with the Warriors while trying to stay fresh will be a burden the team has to deal with.  How have the Rockets played off rest?

Straight up
0 Days 7-3
1  Day 30-7
2-3 Days 9-3
4+ Days 1-0

ATS
0 Days 3-6
1  Day 21-16-1
2-3 Days 6-6
4+ Days 1-0

The Rockets have had plenty of fortune in games with one-day rest, and they will need to continue it down the stretch where the rest of the schedule breaks down to:

Rest

0 Days- 8 games
1  Day- 9 games
2-3 Days- 5 games
4+ Days 0

Houston is 31-28-1 ATS this season but surprisingly have struggled to cover at home where they have a 12-17-1 record and only cash 41.4% of the time. As visitors, they have been much better and sit at 19-11 ATS.

Much of the inability to cover at home has to do with the spreads being set incredibly high this year. The books have caught on, have you?

When lines are set too high, discipline is an attribute a successful gambler must possess. Luckily for us that live in the gambling universe, we have other angles we can shoot at, finding the best value doesn't always have to be in the game spread.

Totals

The Rockets offense has been incredible thus far where they have been lighting up the scoreboard. Unfortunately, betting overs in their games isn't as simple as the team makes it look. Again, the books tend to catch up and adjust accordingly. If you don't watch the games and just look at the final scores, you observe a lot of high team totals for the Rockets.

Houston averages 114 points per game this year, and much has to do with the pace the team has played at the majority of the year. We say majority because lately, we have seen a slight change in the way the team is playing, let's take a look at the 13 game win streak.

During this incredible run, the pace the Rockets have been playing at is mysteriously low pace, they rank dead last (97.14). For a unit of measure let's look at the bottom of the league in Pace for February:
27. SAC    98.2
28. BRK    98.1
29. WAS    97.9
30. HOU    97.1
During their 11 game win streak this month, Houston is last in pace occupying the final spot in the NBA, 30th. Slowing the game down has helped them improve on the defensive end where they are 5th in Defensive PP100.

The Rockets have progressively slowed down their play in the last three months
Pace Rank in NBA:
December ranked  5th
January  ranked  12th
February ranked 30th

During the 13 game run, it's true the Rockets have been playing the slowest possible pace in the league, but they have been extremely efficient of the offensive end of the court. Attached to this streak,  the #1 offensive rating in the NBA (117.2), and the #5 defensive rating (102.9). This has enabled them to hold a net rating of +14.3, also leading the NBA.

Can it be that Coach Mike D'Antoni wants to keep his player's legs somewhat fresher for the postseason, or has he figured something out?

I know it's enticing to try and jump in on this steak and try to profit, just make sure when doing so, you find the best value.

For any questions or comments reach me at @JerryBoKnowz on twitter

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Another win for the Coogs! Photo by Getty Images.

The Cougars were supposed to play a game in Tampa against The University of South Florida on Jan. 14th, but this contest was postponed due to positive COVID-19 tests and contact tracing within the USF program. Houston was able to take advantage of the extra time off to rest their players and prepare for their next game against UCF.

Their previous game against the Knights in Orlando on December 26th was a close matchup which saw UCF and the Cougars tied at halftime. The second half was a back-and-fourth contest between the two teams, but Houston was able to come away with a nine point victory.

This game however was nowhere near as close and their previous meeting.

Houston immediately got off to a 12-0 start thanks to four straight 3-pointers from DeJon Jarreau (2x), Marcus Sasser & Quentin Grimes.

The Cougars continued to surge past the knights and at one point led 38-9 with 3:43 left to go in the contest.

Houston led 45-19 at halftime, their largest first half lead of the season.

The Cougars were able to maintain their commanding lead with both efficient scoring early on and elite level defense. Houston forced UCF to commit 20 turnovers that resulted in 22 points for the Cougars.

The Cougars won most of their games this season with commanding defense, dominating the boards and superior guard play. All three boxes were checked as Houston was able to secure a 75-58 victory.

UCF did outscore Houston in the second half 39-30, but the Cougars' lead proved to be an insurmountable obstacle to overcome for the Knights. Essentially, Houston was on cruse control the second half of the game and never saw their lead drop below double digits.

Grimes scored in double figures for his 11th straight game after opening the season with eight points against Lamar. Senior forward Justin Gorham scored a season high 15 points as well.

Houston has now won its fourth straight game since its loss to Tulsa and now remain in sole position of 1st place in the AAC.

The Cougars moved up from No.11 to the 8th ranked team in the country as multiple top-ranked teams suffered losses over the week.

Kelvin Sampson passed former Houston coach Tom Penders as he earned his 650th career win. This also moves him into sole possession of 41st place on the NCAA wins list. He is also the second winningest coach in Houston Cougars Men's Basketball history behind only the great Guy Lewis.

UP NEXT: Houston looks to exact revenge against the only team to defeat them this season as they host Tulsa at the Fertitta Center on Wednesday at 7pm.

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