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NBA Basketball Prediction and Odds: Clippers at Rockets

Los Angeles Clippers vs. Houston Rockets

NBA Basketball Odds: Rockets -1

When: Thursday, March 5, 2020

Where: Toyota Center, Houston, TX

Time and Watch: 8:00 EST on TNT - Doug Upstone is a top sports analyst for Doc's Sports and one of the sports industry's most respected handicappers. Find more from Doug and get picks on all NBA games at Doc’s Sports.

Recently, we have seen a variety of different teams take center stage as the hottest club, with Toronto and Milwaukee the latest flavors. Now we have the Los Angeles Clippers (42-19, 32-28-1 ATS), who will place their five-game winning streak on the line at Houston.

The Clippers trail the Lakers by six games in the loss column for the top spot in the Western Conference, making in unlikely they would catch them with 21 games to play. Nonetheless, Doc Rivers has said in recent days this is how good this team actually is and we are all seeing the results when everyone is healthy, which has seldom been the case this season for the Clips.

Rivers’ confidence comes from the fact he has superstars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and arguably the deepest and most productive bench in The Association. This gives Rivers exceptional versatility to mix and match against opposing teams, able to give Lou Williams or Montrezl Harrell big minutes in a higher-scoring affair. If L.A. becomes involved in a more defensive conflict, Landry Shamet and JaMychal Green can give great effort on defense and rebound.

Against Houston (39-21, 32-29 ATS), the Clippers will need a little bit of both as the Rockets gamble to this point is paying off.

The Rockets organization realized that acquiring Russell Westbrook has not had the impact they hoped. While Mike D’Antoni might not be the best in-game coach, he’s an offensive guru with players that can score and Houston decided to roll the dice and go – small ball.

The Rockets are 7-3 SU (6-4 ATS) since their Feb.4th trade and have beaten the Lakers at Staples Center, swept Boston home and away and split with Utah. This has moved Houston up to the fourth slot in the West, just two games behind the Clippers, who they could gain on. That’s not to say D’Antoni’s team is flawless, as they have ugly defeats at Phoenix and in New York in this mix of games.

Houston essentially runs a 1-2-2 spread offense, with either James Harden or Westbrook the primary ball-handlers and they either drive to the basket off of high picks or get into the lane, which creates sagging defenders and kick the ball out to wide-open shooters.

This makes for a fascinating matchup and the NBA odds have Houston as a one-point opening favorite.

What Basketball Bettors Should Expect

All the numbers point to an extremely competitive tight ballgame. Seeing these teams have not played since December and are different since that contest, let’s ride the fact the visitor in on a nice little 4-1 ATS run and back a healthier, deeper Clippers club.

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