Phoenix Suns vs. Houston Rockets – NBA, January 20, 2021
The Suns have had a decent start to this season and currently sit fourth in the Western Conference. However, the same can not be said for the Rockets, who are second from bottom in the West and rock bottom of the Southwest Division.
The Suns ended a run of 14 defeats in a row (yes, that right, 14!) by beating the Rockets last time out. After four years of hurt and heartache against the Rockets, the Suns inflicted some revenge by beating them by 36 points in a 127-91 victory.
We will now look at the betting and analyze both teams before concluding with my Suns vs. Rocket betting prediction.
Suns vs. Rockets Odds
Based on this season alone, the points total looks about right. However, if you go back over the last ten games between these two teams, then the Rockets are averaging nine more points per game. The combined average between the two teams is 229, precisely ten points higher than the points total set today.
The Suns haven’t done too well as favorites this season, winning four and losing four. The same can be said of the Rockets as underdogs as they have only won two from their last eight, so something has to give here.
The Suns are having their driest spell of the season so far after winning two of their previous five games. This includes losing their last two games back to back, which is the first time this season.
This is the last stop on the road for the Suns before they return to Phoenix to play four games there. And it will be a welcomed return seen as they have only won one game from the four played on this trip so far. Overall they have an average record on the road, having won four and lost four of their away fixtures this season.
Here are the latest betting trends for Phoenix:
|ATS||They have won 15 of their last 20 games.|
|Total||The total has gone under in nine of their last 13 games.|
|ATS||Phoenix is 6-2 from their last eight games against Houston.|
|Total||Only two of their last eight games on the road have gone over the betting total.|
|ATS||The Suns have won none of the previous 12 games against Western Conference opposition.|
|ATS||They have only lost one of the last seven games against teams based in the Southwest Division.|
The Suns have a good offense that should probably average more than the 109 points per game they are currently posting. However, their rebounding has been an area that is lacking and would certainly help to lift the average at least a couple of points per game. They currently average just eight offensive rebounds and 42 rebounds in total per game, the fifth-lowest in the NBA. Despite this, Center Deandre Ayton is one of the leading rebounders in the league this season, averaging 11 per game. If his teammates can chip in with a few more, than the team average will surely rise, along with that points total.
Their defense is often led by their offense in that they tend to hog a lot of the ball, which means that they can control and dictate games easily. This often frustrated their opponents, forcing them into errors that perhaps they wouldn’t ordinarily make. Through that frustration, their opponents can also make many personal fouls, which the Suns are certainly punishing by scoring 80℅ of their free-throws this season. This controlling style of play is highlighted because they are only making 13 turnovers per game on average. One downside to this is that they don’t tend to work as hard to win it back because they see so much of the ball, which means they aren’t making many steals per game.
Everything goes through their star Point Guard, who returns to face his former club. He dictates the pace and sets up the plays, which means that he is often the highest assist maker in each game.
The Suns have three players out through quarantine in Jones, Saric, and Smith. There will also be a late fitness test for Payne, who is recovering from an ankle injury.
The Rockets can’t get going this season and have lost back to back games for the fourth time this season by losing their most recent two games against the Spurs and the Bulls. The one positive that they can take from it is on the last three occasions they lost two in a row, they went on to win the next one.
However, they have won three of their wins this season at home, and they have a split 3-3 record at the Toyota Center. Although worryingly, their three losses have come in their last four home fixtures. It must be said that the two most recent losses were against the Lakers, and everyone seems to lose to them at the moment.
Here are the latest betting trends for Houston:
|ATS||They have only won one of their last five games.|
|Total||The total has gone under in four of their last five games.|
|Total||Only three of the previous nine games against the Suns have gone over the betting total.|
|Total||In Houston, games have been low scoring as 14 of their last 17 home games have gone under the total.|
|ATS||The Rockets are 1-4 in their last five games against Western Conference opponents.|
|ATS||They have lost seven of the last eight games against teams based in the Pacific Division.|
The Rockets have an average, at best, offense this season. Despite it matching up closely with the Suns, you do feel that Phoenix has more upside going forward.
Their rebounding has been poor offensively, just like the Suns, and it will be interesting to see which teams can raise their game in this department.
But perhaps the most worrying stat for the Rockets is that they turn the ball over a lot this season, and against a controlling team like Phoenix, this could spell trouble.
Their defense is probably marginally better than their offense but perhaps doesn’t get as much recognition as it deserves. That is understandable given they are conceding on average 112 points per game and ultimately, keeping your opponents from scoring is their name of the game. However, they have the fundamental core of a good defense, and with some fine-tuning, they could become even better. One thing to note also is that their defense has been much better at home this season, averaging four points less per game.
They have been blocking well this season, averaging over six per game, which is only bettered by the Lakers and the 76ers, which puts them in good company.
The Rockets also have their injury problems at present as they will be without Wall, Exum, House, and Clemons. Their Shooting Guard Brown is still questionable to return, but they are hopeful that Thomas will be available for the game.
Suns vs. Rockets Pick
I see this game playing out only one way, and that’s with the Suns controlling and dominating it. They will look to get in front early and then slow the pace of the game down. This is likely to frustrate the Rockets, which could see them self-destruct.