Top Game to Bet: Rockets at Spurs (-7)
After trading superstar James Harden to the Brooklyn Nets, the Houston Rockets are in the midst of a slight rebuild or pivot, if you will. You can read more about the trade here, but tonight's matchup with the Spurs will be the first without Harden on the team since the 2011-12 season.
John Wall (sore knee) is out for this matchup, and Eric Gordon (leg tightness) is questionable for Houston, while DeMar DeRozan (personal) is questionable for San Antonio. The Rockets are 0-3-1 ATS in the last four meetings with the Spurs and 1-4 ATS in San Antonio over the previous five meetings. As -6 favorites, a DeRozan appearance would undoubtedly put the Spurs as clear favorites, if not already. Without DeRozan and John Wall, Houston still could pull off a surprise versus a young Spurs team.
However, my focus immediately goes to Christian Wood for Houston. Wood is averaging 22.6 points and 9.5 rebounds in 32.9 minutes, all career-highs, and tonight it'll be just him -- time to feast.
The Spurs allow the most rebounds per game to power forwards (13.35) and the 14th-most points per game (20.60). To centers, the Spurs also surrender the 10th-most boards per game (15.42). Wood has recorded four double-doubles in four-of-eight games this season and averaging 21.2 points and 9.6 rebounds in 30.0 minutes per game over the last five. Wood met the Spurs twice the previous season as a member of the Pistons and went off for 28 points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes. In his next meeting, the Pistons were blown out by 25, and he recorded four points, four shot attempts and six rebounds in 23 minutes.
I expect Wood to keep Houston at least competitive in this game, and when Houston has won this season, he averages 21.0 points and 14.0 rebounds. When he plays 30 or more minutes in 2020-21, Wood's totals are 22.0 points and 8.0 rebounds, and in 2019-20, 23.5 points and 9.5 rebounds. Wood also played his first 40-minute game of his career in this season-opener, scoring 31 points and grabbing 13 boards versus Portland. If he plays anywhere near 40-minutes, he's liable to go for 20 points and 10 rebounds-plus, but that goes for him surpassing 30 minutes, which all models predict tonight.
Trends to Note:
Wood averages 27.0 points and 8.0 rebounds on the road this season
Wood has attempted at least 15 field goal attempts in six-of-eight games
Wood has attempted at least 15 field goal attempts in five-straight games
Wood has double-doubled in every win or single-digit loss this season (4)
Wood averages 24.3 points and 14.3 rebounds when Houston covers (3)
Top Team to Fade: Houston Rockets
As mentioned previously, Houston is without John Wall, who is vital in this matchup. Wall has averaged 18.6 points, 5.1 assists and 4.7 rebounds in his long-awaited return. Wall has played in seven-straight for Houston, so to not have him and Harden for the first time this season is not ideal.
Houston is coming off two-straight losses to the Lakers by a combined 35 points, surrendering 117 and 120 points. The Spurs, on the other hand, are winners of four of their last five games, falling in a back-to-back set with the Timberwolves. San Antonio started the season 2-4, and at 6-5, they should feel confident getting the Rockets on a back-to-back with a day off in between.
Houston has struggled in San Antonio over the last five meetings going 1-4 ATS and 0-3-1 ATS in the last four overall meetings, all with Harden. The Under has also been a hot play going 8-2 over the previous 10 meetings, while Houston's Under has been a profitable play going 5-0-1 in the last six overall. DeRozan missed the previous two games for San Antonio, and they scored 88 versus Minnesota and 112 versus Oklahoma City while holding the Wolves to 96 and Thunder to 102. That's 99.0 PPG allowed and 100.0 averaged without DeRozan compared to 113.6 scored and 115.0 allowed with him. The Spurs also won three-straight with him in the lineup, so his status matters tonight, even versus the lowly Rockets.
Bets Locked In: Awaiting DeRozan news - Will update on Twitter @VmoneySports
Thursday Night Betting Notes
Heat vs. Sixers: Heat +11
Both teams have dealt with COVID issues limiting their rosters, and the previous 137-134 OT victory for the Sixers is undoubtedly going to wear one, if not both of these teams down a little for this matchup. The Over is 4-0 in the last four meetings, yet the 76ers hadn't scored more than 109 points in three-straight games before playing the Heat.
Despite missing key players for Miami, they covered once again, making them 3-0-1 ATS in the last four meetings. The 76ers are 6-1 SU this season at home, picking up where they left off last season (31-4) but only 4-3 ATS. It would be best if you didn't bet on this game until more news comes out on who's available for Miami as they were missing Jimmy Butler, Bam Adebayo, Goran Dragic, and more in their last game.
Hornets at Raptors: Over/Under 221.5
221.5 is a pretty high total for two teams who have struggled to find the bottom of the basket at times. Looking at the trends, the Over is 5-2 when these teams meet in Toronto over the last seven meetings, but the Under has gone 5-1 in the previous six games overall for Charlotte and 14-3 in Toronto's last 17 at home.
This season, Toronto has only had three home games and scored 99, 100 and 114 points, winning once. The Hornets are on a back-to-back after losing the spread and game to the Mavericks last night. Charlotte's four-game win streak was snapped with that loss, and on the season, they are 1-1 on the second night of a back-to-back, losing 127-112 to Philly and beating Atlanta 102-94. On the road, the Hornets have averaged 110.8 points per game but only 101.6 over the last three. If Gordon Hayward (DTD) is out for Charlotte, the Under looks like a good play.
News: Gordon Hayward is in the lineup for the Hornets
Warriors at Nuggets: Warriors +5
When these two teams meet in Denver, sparks usually fly as the Over has gone 8-3 in the last 11 meetings. However, in the previous seven meetings overall, the Under has gone 5-2. The Warriors were on a hot streak going 4-1 before losing to the Pacers in what should have been their fifth win in six games.
The Nuggets were in the same boat, winners of four-of-five before blowing a lead and losing to the Nets in their previous game. Expect a competitive game, and Golden State has success versus Denver, going 5-0 ATS in their last five meetings.
Pacers at Blazers: Blazers -2
The Pacers made headlines acquiring Caris LeVert and dealing Victor Oladipo in the four-team trade involving James Harden. Oladipo missed the last game, a comeback win over the Warriors, and they could be better without him, but that remains to be seen. The Pacers avoided a three-game losing streak with their win over the Warriors. Portland isn't the ideal next opponent for Indiana as they've struggled in Portland, going 0-5 ATS in their last five meetings and 3-13 over the previous 16.
The Blazers have won four in a row, and their last victory came down to a game-winner from C.J. McCollum. This game certainly points to Portland, but with four-straight victories and a nail-biter in their previous outing, a loss is due. I would stay away from this game until lineups, but it's hard not to back Portland at -2 with the trends in their favor, Indiana's recent play, and the Oladipo trade.