Nov 27 NBA Action: Philadelphia 76ers @ Houston Rockets
Philadelphia Sixers +11.0 (-105) @ Houston Rockets
The Rockets are vastly underachieving this year, having won only 5 of their 15 games straight up, and only three against the number. We expect Houston will garner a victory tonight versus the still-winless Philadelphia 76ers, however, we are not anticipating the blowout that Las Vegas lines are suggesting. Thus we are betting on Philly against the spread.
Each of Houston's five wins this year have come by margins of 4-6 points -- even against the likes of the Blazers, Kings and Magic (who are 25th, 24th and 21st, respectively, per Jeff Sagarin's NBA Rankings). Further, in the two cases where the Rockets were pitted as double digit favorites, they lost outright both times.
Even the recent personnel shakeup at the head coaching spot did not motivate Houston to perform. The Rockets bested the Trail Blazers immediately after news broke of Kevin McHale's dismissal, but failed to cover the -7 chalk. Further, the Beard and crew took a thumping at the hands of the Grizzlies two days later, and lost to the Knicks as 4.5 point favorites in the following game.
On the other hand, while Philly's 0-16 start is strong evidence of their growing pains, the 76ers have at least been competitive of late, losing by 4 to the Celtics, 5 to the Timberwolves and 5 to the Heat in their last three out. We expect the Sixers to compete this evening versus a reeling Houston team.
The 76ers are 6-3 against the spread since 2010 in the head-to-head series with Houston, including wins versus the number in the last two matchups. Further, since 2003, the 76ers are 3-1 when facing the Rockets as underdogs of 10 or more.
Our simulation and power rankings work anticipates a Houston win by about 8, while our regression models estimate the Rockets' chance of covering to be 32-41%. As such, and consistent with Houston's struggles , we are taking the two hands full of points and siding with the Sixers to tonight.
OddsShark reports Houston was originally installed as 12 point favorites. The contraction of the betting line since the open is consistent with our bias in Philly's favor. Also per OddsShark, 56% of spread wagers cast so far support the Sixers.