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Houston comes into Orlando looking for their seventh win in a row while the Magic continue to climb out of a hole in the Eastern Conference.
The Rockets have become perpetual underachievers over the years, particularly in the postseason, but no one is hotter than them right now. Mike D’Antoni has handed the keys to James Harden and the offense, and they have produced.
Houston has a 28-9 record after defeating the Oklahoma City Thunder 118-116 last night at the Toyota Center. They’re now third in the Western Conference, just behind the rival San Antonio Spurs.
Orlando is seemingly a team that is in a state of constant rebuilding and hasn’t managed to take a step forward for some years. This year is no different. The Magic’s record fell to 16-21 after losing 111-92 to the visiting Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday.
The Rockets opened as -6 favorites in this contest. The odds have moved to Houston -5.5 at most sportsbooks since the odds went live.
Sometimes one team is just vastly superior to another. I think this is the case tonight. Yes, Houston is coming off a game last night. Yes, we traditionally want to exploit that, especially if they have to travel, but Magic don’t have the personnel to tangle with Houston.
Orlando is still near the bottom of the league defensively. They have allowed over 100 points to their opponents in the last five games. A trend that does not bode well with James Harden coming to town. Lay the points with the road team.
Pick: Rockets -5.5
Minnesota Timberwolves at Washington Wizards -5 Total: 211.5
The Wizards return home from a two-game road trip and will hope to snap their losing streak at home against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Fans of Washington hope their best basketball is ahead of them this season, because so far, it’s been a bit of struggle. They’re coming off a road to a trip where they lost to Houston and Dallas. Their Tuesday loss to the Mavericks was especially tough, as they’re one of the worst teams in the league. The 113-105 defeat dropped their record to 16-18 in the East, which puts them in the 9th spot in the conference, just outside of the playoff picture.
The Timberwolves haven’t lived up to expectations either. After hiring a new head coach in Tom Thibodeau, fans expected immediate improvement. Instead, Minnesota is at the bottom of the West, tied with the lowly Mavericks, with an 11-24 record.
They seek to break a two-game losing skid as they end their road trip tonight in Washington. The Wolves last played on Tuesday night in Philadelphia. It’s a game they lost 91-93.
The odds opened with the Wizards as -4 favorites, but that has moved to -5 as about 60 percent of wagers have come in on Washington.
If you’ve watched much of the Wizards this season, it’s hard to believe they should be favored over anyone. Yes, Minnesota did lose to the 76ers two nights ago, but they were favored in that contest. Tonight, they’re getting five points, against a team that is playing just as bad as Philly lately, if not worse.
Washington gets almost no contributions from their bench. Their starters have to play heavy minutes seemingly every night, and their assist rate is among the lowest in the league. Defensively, they’re also a disaster.
Take the points with a high-powered Minnesota team that should keep this one close down to the wire, or win outright.
Pick: Timberwolves +5