Heat vs. Rockets Preview + Free Pick Feb 21st, 2008
By: Our Staff
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NBA Betting Furious Free Picks – Miami Heat vs. Houston Rockets
Miami Heat (9-43) vs. Houston Rockets (33-2)
Thursday, February 21st — Toyota Center, Houston — 8:00pm EST
NBA Betting Line: Houston -10.5 (188)
The Heat are committed to the long-term future. Unfortunately their immediate feature refuses to share the spotlight. Tonight when they take on the Houston Rockets, they’ll be looking to avoid embarrassment and improve on their 18-33-1 ATS record this season.. But that may prove difficult against Tracy McGrady and the Rockets, who have won five consecutive games.
In that span they’ve gone 4-1 ATS and are 4-2 ATS in their last six when playing Miami. Of course, a large reason for that was Shaq occupying the paint against Yao Ming. Obviously, he’s not there anymore. Not helping matters is that Udonis Haslem remains sidelined with a mildly sprained ankle. That leaves virtually nobody to defend Yao Ming, who has 22.1 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.4 assists per game thus far.
Shawn Marion will have the likely and familiar task of guarding Tracy McGrady who is second on the rockets with 21.0 points. It is a well known fact that McGrady’s health has been suspect for the latter half of his career.
And his absence has slowed the offense down to a 95.7 point per game average.
But that glaring stat has been overpowered by the Rocket’s fourth-ranked defense which only allows 92.6 points against per match. Miami’s road defense, on the other hand, allows 100.8 points per game. But that was in large part due to having a fully healthy team. While I have no doubt McGrady will be suffocated by the spry Marion, who in the hell is going to stand up to The Chairman?
At home, Houston is a paltry 16-9 SU, due in large part to McGrady’s absences. Since he’s been back, and seemingly healthy, the Rockets have looked efficient and deadly. A double-digit spread in this seems unfair, but the oddsmakers are banking on the fact that the thin backcourt for Miami will be either no match for Yao, or experience a world of foul trouble from the get-go.
But are they discounting the inability of Tracy in covering Marion? Let’s not forget that The Matrix is a deft scorer as well, and that him and Wade can run the court with the best of them. Their perimeter shooting ability has made them a strong scoring pair, despite the fact that that isn’t translating in to wins. Unless Miami can make a trade that would somehow acquire someone like Eddy Curry, they are still going to have a ton of trouble stopping teams with big back courts. And they don’t get bigger than 7-foot-6.
The Rockets betting faithful might be a little queasy with taking such a huge line, but Miami is giving us no reason to back them, especially on the road. Houston has to make a push heading in to the playoffs to prove that they aren’t just first round fodder anymore. And stomping a mud hole in the backside of South Beach is a great way to keep their five-game winning streak steaming forward.’
NBA Free Pick: Houston (OVER)
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