Phoenix Suns (16-53) vs. Houston Rockets (42-26)
March 15, 2019 @ 8:00 pm ET (Toyota Center)
Lines and Odds: Rockets -13 Over/Under: 224.5
ESPN NBA Expert Picks Houston Rockets vs. Phoenix Suns
The 15th seed Phoenix Suns are playing against the 3rd seed Houston Rockets, on the road in tonight’s Western Conference match-up at the Toyota Center. The Suns are 10-24 at home and 6-29 away. Phoenix has won five of the last ten games on their schedule, and rank 5th in the Pacific Division. Over this stretch, they beat the Golden State Warriors and Milwaukee Bucks, arguably the two best teams in the league. Recently, they lost 114-97 at home against the Utah Jazz, played on March 13th. Meanwhile, the Rockets are one of the hottest teams in the NBA right now, winning nine of their last ten games. Ranking 1st in the Southwest Division, they are 4.5 games back behind the 1st seed Golden State Warriors. The Rockets are 24-10 at home and 18-16 on the road. On March 13th, they suffered a 106-104 loss at home against the Golden State Warriors. On February 23rd, they beat the Warriors 118-112 on the road in Oakland. In the last ten meetings head to head, the Rockets are 9-1 against the Suns. Houston had a higher field goal percentage of 48.20% in these games, but Phoenix out-rebounded them 45.90 to 44. Additionally, the Rockets made more threes, shooting 153/395. The Suns shot 95/295 from the three point line.
The Houston Rockets rank 11th for scoring offense, averaging 112.9 points per game. Their offensive efficiency rating is 1.108, which ranks 2nd in the league. As a serious MVP candidate, James Harden is leading the team for points and steals per game. He averages 36 points and 2.2 steals per game. With 8.1 assists per game, Chris Paul is acquiring the most assists. Clint Capela is in first place on the Rockets for rebounds, field goal percentage, and blocks per game. Capela averages 12.5 rebounds, has a 63.5% field goal percentage, and earns 1.6 blocks per game. In 64 games started, playing 37.3 minutes per game, Harden is also ahead in MPG. Capela plays 34.2 minutes per game, in 53 games played and started. According to the injury report, due to much-needed rest, Chris Paul is “OUT” for tonight’s game against the Phoenix Suns. For scoring defense based on opponents’ points per game, ranking 12th, Houston allows 110.1 points per game. The team’s defensive efficiency rating is 1.081 and it ranks 20th overall. Although Houston’s defense has improved, it is still their Achilles’ heel at the current moment. Based on free throw shooting percentage, the Rockets rank 11th at 78.9%. They shoot 79.2% from the free throw line at home and 78.5% on the road.
The Phoenix Suns rank 24th for scoring offense, averaging 106.8 points per game. Ranking 27th, their offensive efficiency rating is 1.021. Devin Booker is leading the team for points and assists per game. He averages 25.1 points per game and 6.7 assists. DeAndre Ayton is ahead for rebounds, earning 10.3 per game. With 1.6 steals per game, Mikal Bridges is in first place for steals. Earning at least 1 block per game, Richaun Holmes is ahead in this metric for the Suns. With at least 50 games played, he has a field goal percentage of 62.7%, which is the highest field goal percentage on the team. Moreover, with 35 minutes per game in 54 games started, Booker is averaging the most minutes played per game. In 62 games started, Ayton has played 31 MPG. Upon further review of the injury report, Tyler Johnson is listed as “questionable” for tonight’s game against the Houston Rockets. When scoring defense is factored in, ranking 28th, the Suns give up an average of 115.9 points per game. The team’s defensive efficiency rating is 1.107 and it ranks 29th overall. Furthermore, the Suns rank 12th for free throw shooting percentage, completing 78.2% of their shots from the free throw line. They average 77.8% at home and 78.5% on the road.
Cover the Spread 365 Betting Trends
Houston is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
Houston is 9-1 SU in its last 10 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Houston’s last 6 games
Houston is 3-6 ATS in its last 9 games at home
Houston is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games at home
Phoenix is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
Phoenix is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
Phoenix is 5-20 SU in its last 25 games
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Phoenix’s last 6 games
Phoenix is 2-14 SU in its last 16 games on the road
ESPN NBA Scores Phoenix Suns vs. Houston Rockets
Now, the Rockets and Suns are identical for free throw shooting percentage. However, while the Rockets are more accurate at home, the Suns have a marginally higher percentage on the road. Plus, Houston and Phoenix are in the bottom five for total rebounding percentage. Due to recovering only 48.3% of their missed shots, the Rockets rank 26th. Likewise, Phoenix ranks 30th at 46.3%. For 3 point shooting, the Rockets rank 21st at 34.8%, whereas the Suns rank 30th at 33%. Nevertheless, stemming from team shooting percentage, Houston is more inaccurate. Shooting 44.7% on the court, they are ranked 26th in the NBA. Defensively, the Rockets are the superior team. Despite the Suns’ failing efforts to score more points per game offensively, they rank 16th for team shooting percentage at 45.7%. On top of the aforementioned statistics, turnovers per game could be the real game changer in this game. Houston has 13.7 turnovers per game, ranking 8th. As the result of allowing 15.6 turnovers per game, Phoenix is ranked 28th. In the end, every game matters at this point for all playoff contenders. The Rockets are a difficult team to beat in Houston. Leading into tonight’s game, they have the notable advantage.
Pick: Rockets -12 (-105)