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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Jae'Sean Tate had himself a night. Photo by Carmen Mandato/Getty Images.

No Christian Wood. No Kevin Porter Jr. No Jalen Green. No problem. Jae’ Sean Tate became a complete superhero for the Houston Rockets versus the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night.

He recorded 32 points, 10 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 5.0 blocks, and 2.0 steals and shot 73 percent from the field. With that stat line, he joined former Rocket Hakeem Olajuwon and other historic big men from the past, which Tim MacMahon reported.

Tate is known for his leadership and the ability to be humble. When a reporter asked Tate about the stat line, he said, “How many turnovers? Nah, 25 assists, that’s what sup! Can’t be mad at that.” An expression like that shows the importance of putting his teammates first before taking all the shine. Tate is providing more passion with communication and being the rock that the "Baby Rockets" can lean on.

Coach Silas' confidence in Tate is something built from last year and it shows. Those two have constant dialogue throughout the game, and it’s seen before the huddle or when Silas is standing on the sideline before he calls a play. Silas has run consistent sets for Tate, as he did that within the 15-game losing streak. He dialed up an out of bounds action with 33.4 seconds left, so Tate could make a clutch layup towards the rim.

“Long, long, long ago in his rookie year…we definitely have a bond and with those two guys out, we needed some scoring,” Silas said. “He was the guy who was playing the hardest from start to finish and down the stretch we ran that elbow iso for him. And he just went through his defender and finished. And he made some huge plays in the 4th quarter, which is what you need. Yeah, I trust him as much as anybody else, and he has earned that, and he deserves it.”

“That just shows the confidence Coach Silas, and my teammates have in me,” said Tate. “We lost some of our primary guys tonight. And not only me, but everybody also stepped up.”

His usage rating is slowly going up, which is posted at 18.9 percent per NBA stats. In isolation, Tate is averaging 1.00 points per possession, which puts him in the 75th percentile(!) per NBA stats. Tate is seeing more action out of the corner, so it can allow him to get to his left hand on offense. The elbow iso action is a play that Tate has run since high school, college, overseas, and in the NBA now. He mentioned that the set allows him to get comfortable when his number is called.

“That’s not my primary role and I think everyone knows that,” Tate said. “I am very confident [in] what I bring to the table offensively. Not only scoring wise but seeing the floor and being able to make [a] decision in space. And that kind of helps me when they overlook the scouting report.”

“[I've] been running that play since I was [in] high school. At Ohio St. I ran that. Even when I was overseas, Will Weaver, that was a play he put in. To have that called tonight, it felt familiar and it’s one of my strengths. And playing in the mid-post area and getting to my left hand.”

Tate was excellent for the Rockets on both sides of the ball, as he had a 116.9 offensive and 108.5 defensive rating with an 82.5 percent in true shooting versus the Thunder. Hopefully, Tate can be the leading catalyst again, as the Rockets face the Orlando Magic and New Orleans Pelicans, which are winnable games. It should become a six-game winning streak, as John Wall might play if his condition is right.

Up next: The Rockets face the Orlando Magic on Friday night.

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