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NBA Basketball Prediction and Odds: Houston vs. L.A. Lakers

NBA Basketball Betting Preview: Rockets vs. Lakers

NBA Basketball Odds: L.A. Lakers -6

When: Thursday, March 12, 2020

Where: Staples Center

Time and Watch: 9:35 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 other daily NBA picks at Doc’s Sports Service.

The Houston Rockets got a much-needed win Tuesday even if they failed to cover, defeating Minnesota 117-111 as 12-point home favorites. That ended the four-game losing streak that left them tied for fifth place in the Western Conference with Oklahoma City (pending their Wednesday results) and just three games ahead of No. 7 Dallas.

Losing those four contests showcased the fundamental flaws of Houston. After winning six consecutive times, Rockets fell back into old habits of lazy defense with sporadic effort, in permitting 119.7 PPG, compared to a season average of 114.4. In deciding to play “small ball”, to best utilize their offensive assets, it’s been a mixed bag. Because the team and James Harden, in particular, are haphazard when it comes to defense, now playing without a true center, there is no rim protection. That means, for the most part, Houston has to score 120-plus points to have a chance to win on several nights.

For sharp bettors with “onions” (Bill Raftery reference) making NBA picks, the Lakers fit the bill as - Play Against – material against Brooklyn. Los Angeles was handing out a dozen points at home after beating Milwaukee and their in-house rivals the Clippers. The courage part came into play going against a squad like L.A. that was on 11-1 and 9-3 ATS. The Lakers made a big run in the second half, but fell 104-102, leaving them 23-8 and 17-13-1 ATS at the Staples Center as the home team.

Houston should have LeBron James and Anthony Davis attention, since back on Feb. 6, the Rockets rolled into Staples and left 121-111 winners. For whatever reason, maybe the laid-back Cali culture, but coach Frank Vogel cannot always get the desired effort he’s seeking at home, on a team that has a better overall road record (26-6 SU).

What Basketball Bettors Should Expect

The NBA odds have Houston catching six-points and while they are likely the less confident squad, the Rockets are an impressive 7-4 and 8-3 ATS as traveling underdogs.

Nonetheless, if you track power ratings from various websites, most will the Lakers as at least as -7.5 point favorites and as high as -9. One should not ignore Houston’s live pooch spread record, nor should you casually discard the L.A.’s postgame reaction after the loss to the Nets, knowing in the big picture, one of their big victories last week were just negated.

LeBron’s again playing otherworldly and leads his team to a win and a cover.

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