NBA Odds: Houston Rockets vs Atlanta Hawks Preview & Pick
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Houston Rockets vs. Atlanta Hawks
Date: Saturday, January 15, 7:00 p.m. ET
Venue: Phillips Arena, Atlanta, GA
Broadcast: FSH, SS
Rockets vs. Hawks lines from Sportsbook.com
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The Atlanta Hawks may be flying under the radar, but they’ve enjoyed a rather impressive win over the last few weeks, not to mention a recent scoring explosion. That’s bad news for the Houston Rockets, who can’t catch a break on the injury front.
*Stats do not include Houston’s Friday night match up with New Orleans
Atlanta (26-14, 19-21 ATS) has quietly won its past five games, and the club is a very impressive 9-2 in its past 11 outings. The Hawks failed to cover in Wednesday’s 104-101 win over Toronto, but they’re still 4-1 ATS in their past five games, and 8-3 ATS in their past 11.
The recent winning streak has been led by a very consistent offensive attack. Atlanta is averaging 107 points during the run, and hasn’t scored fewer than 104 in a game. Jamal Crawford, last year’s Sixth Man of the Year, has been at the heart of the explosion.
Crawford struggled over the first two months of the season, as injuries and poor shooting slowed him down. That’s a distant memory now, however. In his last five games, Crawford is shooting over 50 percent from the field and is averaging 27.4 points per game. He burned the Raptors for 36 points on Wednesday, and it’s likely his 16.6 points per game average will continue climbing.
At the other end of the spectrum, some are wondering what’s happened to Al Horford. The center is averaging 16.3 points per game this season, but he’s managed just 12.0 points per outing during the winning streak. Obviously, Crawford is taking away some opportunities, but it’d be nice to see more from Horford.
Houston (17-22, 18-19-2 ATS) lost 118-112 to Oklahoma City on Wednesday. The loss dropped the Rockets to 2-7 since a five-game winning streak in December. Houston has been horrendous against the spread, going 1-7-2 ATS in its last 10 games.
The Rockets are struggling to get through a rash of injuries. Yao Ming is finished for the year and his backup, Chuck Hayes, has been out since December. Now, the team must press on without guard Kevin Martin. Martin leads Houston in scoring at 23.2 points per game.
Putting the ball the basket isn’t really the problem, though; it’s stopping other teams from doing it. At nearly 105 points per game, Houston owns one of the worst defenses in the NBA.
And that will make the difference on Saturday night. The shorthanded Rockets have enough trouble stopping teams from running up pinball scores; having the red-hot Hawks coming to town isn’t going to change that.
Houston is 5-10 SU in its last 15 games on the road
The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Houston’s last 18 games when playing Atlanta
Atlanta is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Houston
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of Atlanta’s last 9 games when playing at home against Houston
Houston at Atlanta pick: Hawks
Ian Van Den Hurk has covered amateur and pro sports for years, including a successful run handicapping anything from football to mixed martial arts.