Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Free NBA Pick
Date/Time: April 17th, 10:30 PM ET
NBA Betting Odds from Vietbet
Moneyline: Los Angeles -3.5
Houston has already clinched a spot in this season’s Western Conference playoffs, but a victory in its regular-season finale on Wednesday night would lock-up seventh-place in the standings as well as possibly send the Lakers packing for the year if Utah beats Memphis earlier in the night. The Rockets’ current form to pull off this feat has not been all that solid down the stretch with a 2-3 straight-up (1-4 against the spread) record in their last five games. The total has gone OVER in four of their last six games.
This past Monday night they fell to lowly Phoenix 119-112 as 7.5-point favorites on the road. The one thing that Houston continues to do well is put points on the board with 110 or more in six of their last eight outings. The problem is a defense that has been almost non-existent during the same stretch of games. Overall, the Rockets are averaging 106.1 points a game, which is ranked first in the NBA, while allowing 102.5 points on the other end of the court.
The Lakers already know that they will have to forge on without the franchise’s best player after Kobe Bryant went down with a torn Achilles last week, but they did pass the first test on Monday night with a spirited 91-86 victory over San Antonio as 3.5-point home underdogs. Dwight Howard came up big in the win with 26 points and 17 rebounds. It is going to take another effort like that on Wednesday night to get this team into the postseason.
Another key to winning this contest could be the health of Steve Nash. He has not played since the end of March due to hip spasms and a strained hamstring, but is listed as questionable for this game. Without Bryant’s scoring ability, the Lakers will also have to rely on a tighter effort on defense to keep the Rockets from running up and down the court. LA is currently ranked 24th in the league in points allowed (101.1) which is not going to get it done against the league’s highest scoring team.
The Free NBA Pick
The Lakers should know exactly what they need to do as far as the playoffs go before this game tips off. A Utah loss earlier in the night would extinguish a great deal of the intensity in this matchup, so be careful of the closing spread. However, if Los Angeles is pushed into a must-win situation, then go heavy that it covers the spread with ease.
Los Angeles 109 Houston 102
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