The Houston Rockets are visiting the City of Angels on Friday to face the Los Angeles Clippers at Staples Center. With that said, it’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Rockets-Clippers prediction and pick.
The Rockets picked up a much-needed moral win against the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday after losing seven of their last ten games. Coach Stephen Silas’s squad is currently sitting in the 14th seed in the Western Conference with a record of 14-37.
The Clippers are coming off a big win against the 2nd seed Phoenix Suns for their third straight win and a record of 35-18 for the third seed in the Western Conference.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Rockets-Clippers odds.
NBA Odds: Rockets-Clippers Odds
Houston Rockets +11.5 (-112)
Los Angeles Clippers -11.5 (-108)
Over 221.5 Points (-110)
Under 221.5 Points(-110)
Why The Rockets Could Cover The Spread
The Rockets face the Clippers with a depleted lineup. They continue to suffer from injuries that have sidelined many of their players but most notably their star players, John Wall.
Wall so far this season was averaging 20.2 points, 6.8 assists, and 3.4 rebounds. More than just his stats, the Rockets are losing a ball handler that can make plays to create his own shot or find his teammate open. In essence, the Rockets are missing a true point guard that is both an offensive threat but can pass the ball.
Coach Stephen Silas is also missing Eric Gordon, Danuel House Jr., and David Nwaba who are all great two-way players that can make the open three-point shot but also take pride in their defense.
The loss of Wall and some of the key rotation players help to explain the Rockets dropping to the fourth-worst offensive rating and tenth worse defensive rating in the league; and also does not bode well for winning games.
It’ll be tough for the active players on the current roster for this Houston team to cover the spread against this talented offensive and defensive Clippers team that is being led by both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. The key for the Rockets offensively will be to put the balls in the hands of Christian Wood and defensively will be to put pressure on Leonard and George to force some tough shots.
Why The Clippers Could Cover The Spread
The Clippers have won three straight games after the return of Paul George to the rotation.
In the three victories, George has put up some huge offensive performances. In a game against the Portland Trail Blazers, George put up 36 points, three rebounds, and five assists while shooting six-of-nine from behind the three-point line. In his next game against the Phoenix Suns, he scored 33 points along with seven rebounds and three assists while shooting seven-of-nine from behind the three-point line.
On top of what George brings to the floor offensively, Clippers coach Tyronn Lue was missing his presence on the defensive end of the floor which was much needed against both Damian Lillard for the Blazers and Devin Booker for the Suns.
With George back, this also takes some pressure off Kawhi Leonard to run the offense and score the ball on every offensive play. Leonard who is arguably more important to the success of the Clippers has been averaging 25.8 points, 6.6 rebounds, and 5.0 assists per game for the season while shooting above 50 percent from the field.
The recent additions of Rajon Rondo and Demarcus Cousins should also give the Clippers a boost off of the bench and hopefully help take some of the load off of the starters, in particular, George and Leonard.
The key for the Clippers to cover the spread against the Rockets is simple and it is to bring the same intensity as they did against the Suns, against Silas’ squad on Friday. The Dallas Mavericks who had won five straight games before facing the Rockets made the mistake of thinking it would be an easy win and ended up losing by nearly double digits.
Final Rockets-Clippers Prediction & Pick
The Clippers are top ten in both defensive and offensive rating in the league while the Rockets are in the bottom ten in both defensive and offensive rating.
Lue also has the pleasure of having both Leonard and George in his rotation to get him a basket while Silas only has Wood who may struggle against a more talented defensive team in the Clippers.
For those reasons, the Clippers should cover the spread and win on Friday against the Rockets.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION & PICK FOR ROCKETS-CLIPPERS: LAC 118, HOU 100 (LAC -11.5)