Spurs vs Rockets – NBA Pick for December 15th

by Kevin Roberts
on December 15, 2017
All odds that are referenced in this article were taken from 5Dimes at 10:17 am CT on 12/15/2017. These odds may have changed since the time of this writing.

Siding with the Detroit Pistons and their gross 7-game losing streak was a risk last night, but a calculated one. The matchup in Atlanta with the Hawks tipped in their favor and that game ended up being a blowout win for Detroit.

Needless to say, I got back on the winning path and pushed my season NBA picks record to a nice 30-14-2. I still have gone back and forth quite a bit over the past week or so, though, so it’ll be nice to try to get consecutive picks right tonight.

A fat 11-game NBA betting slate gives me that chance, but to be frank, a lot of the spreads on this slate look awful. The only one I really feel drawn to resides in Houston, where the red-hot Rockets host the San Antonio Spurs.

Houston is dominating right now, as they’ve won 11 games in a row and prepare to defend an elite 10-3 home record. They’ll welcome in the Spurs, who got Kawhi Leonard back in their last game. He was limited to just 16 minutes in an odd loss to the Dallas Mavericks, however.

The key here is wondering if Leonard’s return can drive the Spurs to a tight finish in a tough environment, or if bettors should just keep trusting the Rockets. Let’s break this matchup down further to find out:

San Antonio Spurs (+8)
Houston Rockets (-8)
Total: 213

There is potential right away for some value with the Spurs, who are working with a +8 spread at 5Dimes. This isn’t a safe spot on the road against one of the best teams in the NBA, but it’s potentially an opportunistic one for bettors.

It is very important to realize that the Rockets look a lot better than they did last year. That’s saying something, as James Harden put up an MVP season a year ago and Houston got to the second round of the NBA playoffs.

The Rockets can put up points as good as ever, but they have a lot more defensive pieces this year and actually rank 5th in defensive efficiency as things stand. This ability to switch up their style and burn anyone with their offense while also playing strong defense makes them a tough out every single night – not to mention a legit title threat.

San Antonio has played the Rockets very well in the past, however. They’re one of the few teams that can match styles like Houston now can, while they also sport a stingy defense (3rd). Getting Kawhi Leonard back only bolsters their defense, while the Spurs have him and Danny Green to toss Harden’s way defensively.

One could argue the Spurs are going to be the more dynamic team when finally at full strength, too. LaMarcus Aldridge is having one of the best seasons of his career, while his ability to keep that up combined with Leonard’s presence could make the Spurs borderline unstoppable.

Either way, the Spurs had a handle on the Rockets last year, going 3-1 over four games. The only game the Rockets won was a 101-99 defensive battle, too. Overall, this has been San Antonio’s series, as the Spurs have secured wins in 6 of the last 7 meetings.

This is a chance for both sides to prove a point, but with Leonard not at full strength just yet and this game in Houston, I absolutely favor the Rockets to keep their winning streak alive.

That being said, the Rockets only beat the Blazers by 7 a couple of days ago and are just 5-7-1 against the spread as the home favorite. Houston has the offense and defense to blow the Spurs away, but San Antonio is getting healthy at just the right time and this is clearly a huge game.

The other thing I can’t shake is how big this spread is. The Spurs are just 2-3 as road underdogs ATS, but how often does Vegas put a line this fat in their way? It almost never happens and considering the Spurs are 11-0 against this specific spread in their last 11 meetings with the Rockets, I can’t bring myself to stomach it.

There are undoubtedly concerns with Leonard’s playing time and Houston’s ability to dominate, but this series has been tight and very well could remain that way tonight. I’ll take the points in what could be a pretty fun game to close tonight’s NBA betting slate.

Pick: San Antonio Spurs (+8)
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