Houston Rockets vs. Charlotte Hornets – NBA, February 8, 2021

By Dean McHugh in NBA
| February 8, 2021 2:15 am PDT

Second in the Southeast Division meets second in the Southwest Division as Houston faces Charlotte. Both teams are looking to improve upon their 11 victories this season in search of top spot in their respected divisions.

Although the Hornets won the last game between the two, the Rockets have had the better of things recently, winning the previous seven games in a row. However, home advantage could be essential for the Hornets tonight as four of the last five games have been won by the home team.

Here is my Rockets vs. Hornets betting preview.

Rockets vs. Hornets Odds

Rockets (-1.5) -110
Hornets (+1.5) -110
Rockets To Win -115
Hornets To Win +108
Over 218.5 Points -110
Under 218.5 Points -110

I think the spread reflects how close a season these two teams are having, and I also feel that the points total is about right too. Therefore, I will have to break things down to make my betting selection here.

Rockets Preview

The Rockets have a split 11-11 record from their 22 games played this season, and they find themselves just on the outskirts of the playoffs in the Western Conference. However, a win tonight could see them move into a playoff berth, so there is plenty of incentive to win.

After winning six in a row and getting their faltering season back on track, the Rockets have stumbled again, losing two of their last three matches.

They also have a split record of six wins and six defeats from their 12 games on the road. They have been more reliable on the road recently, though, as five of their six wins have come in their previous six road trips.

Here are the latest betting trends for Houston:

Against The Spread
  • They have won six of their last nine games.
  • The Rockets are 5-1 in their previous six road trips.
Points Total
  • In their last 19 games, 14 of them have gone under the betting total.
  • Eight of their previous ten visits to Charlotte has gone under the points total.
Other Pointers
  • The Rockets have a formidable record of 17 wins and only two defeats in their last 19 games against the Hornets.
  • They have won 14 of their previous 17 matches against teams based in the Southeast Division.
  • Houston is 8-2 in their last ten games played in February.

The Rockets have a very average offense this season that has been described as flat on numerous occasions. However, it has been slightly better on the road this season, and they have certainly shot better from distance away from home.

Their offensive rebounding, in particular, has been very poor and is amongst the worst in the league this season. They are also turning the ball over far too regular, which is making life difficult for them.

They need to show more fighting spirit and perhaps take some of the fight seen from their fans in their recent loss against the Spurs. A mass brawl broke out in the fourth quarter of the game and what was concerning was that none of their fans appeared to be wearing masks. This is especially relevant, given that Texas has the second-highest Covid-19 rate in the country.

Their defense has been excellent and has been the driving force behind any success they have had this season. They work hard to close the space down all over the court, not allowing their opponents time and space to get into a rhythm. This is highlighted because they have the second-best blocks per game average in the league, just narrowly behind the 76ers.

The Rockets have two absentees for this game as Exum and Wood remain on the injury list.

Hornets Preview

Despite having a negative record of 11-13 from their 24 games this season, the Hornets are clinging on to one of the Eastern Conference’s playoff spots, which shows it’s slightly less than competitive than the West right now.

Their wins and losses have tended to come in bursts this season, so having won their last game 119-97 against the Wizards, they will be hopeful that they can back that up with a win tonight.

They have a slightly negative record at home also of 6-7, which they will be hoping to rectify tonight. Their form has been good at home recently as they have won three of their previous five games. This includes two solid wins over the Pacers and the Bucks, while their losses came against the 76ers and the Jazz, which is certainly no shame.

Here are the latest betting trends for Charlotte:

Against The Spread
  • They have a record of 4-1-1 in their last six games.
Points Total
  • Four of their last five games have gone over the betting total.
  • The total has gone under in 14 of their previous 20 games against Houston.
  • Their home games have been entertaining recently as five of the last seven have gone over the points total.
Other Pointers
  • Charlotte is 4-13 in their last 17 games against teams from the West Coast.
  • They have also only won four of their previous 13 games against teams based in the Southwest Division.

The Hornets have a very similar offense to the Rockets as they play an identical style of basketball. However, you would have to say that the Rockets have a marginally better offense.

They do move the ball around the court very well, and they play an attractive style of basketball, but it can also be lazy at times.

Their defense, however, is not as good as the Rockets. While it’s far from being the worst defense in the league, when paired with their offense, it does seem weak.

So, with a seemingly poor team, why have they done as well as they have? They come into each game with a game plan, and they excite that plan very well, just as they did against the Wizards last time out.

Charlotte Point Guard Graham is the only injury doubt for tonight’s game as he is currently struggling with a groin injury.

Rockets vs. Hornets Betting Pick

I’m not a big fan of either of these teams’ offenses, so I was tempted to pick under the points total. However, it could be a close game, and they could push each other on, and the game could even end up going into overtime. Based on the Rocket’s better defense and their dominance in this fixture over the past few years, I will take them to edge this game.

Pick
  • Rockets To Win
    -115

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