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Mar 21 NBA Action: Betting Blind Squirrel Finds a Nut, Backing Houston Rockets

Updated: Mar 23, 2021


Season-to-date record: 60-58-2, 51%


(Another) Prime spot for a Rockets cover: Houston 1H -2


The Rockets epic straight up losing streak is up to 19 games, with only two covers during this span. In all but five of those contests, the outcome is not surprising. Houston was the underdog in 14 instances, so straight up losses were expected (though the excessively wide margins may have proven disappointing to some, at various points).


Most recently, a traveling Detroit Pistons squad beat the Rockets by 13, in a game where Houston was actually the favorite by a bucket or so. This action Friday represented the Rockets' fourth straight at Toyota Center (with three left, including today's contest, before Houston takes to the road).


History hints that the disappointment in Houston two days ago sets the stage for ATS success Sunday.


Backing teams on extended home stands that unexpectedly lost their last game has proven solidly profitable against playoff-caliber competition.


Teams playing at least their fourth straight game on their home floor have proven strong bets after losses as favorites when facing squads that made the prior post-season.



Since 2005, this strategy has amassed a 22% return on investment with only two full seasons with a cover rate below 50%. This system is 6-3 ATS in 2020-21.


Also though, the magnitude of the Rockets' slide, per se, suggests Houston is due for a cover, as performance tends to exhibit some cyclicality.


In conference action featuring teams that both made the previous post-season, backing home favorites that won and covered no more than one of their last five games has demonstrated significant long-term profitability.



This system has delivered a 13% ROI since 2005, with only four full seasons with an ATS win rate south of 50% (but is 0-4 versus the number so far this year).


Finally, we also note that of the tiny fraction of instances where NBA teams played on at least a 19-game losing streaks, the floundering squad is 12-7-1 against the spread.


On personnel, the Thunder will be pretty depleted at Houston Sunday. Al Horford, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Darius Bazley, all starters, will reportedly miss the action.


Bottom line: Since the James Harden trade, Houston has been utterly abysmal. At some point though bookmakers, will have overreacted to the betting public's disdain for the Rockets and shaded the line too far, creating value for those willing to entertain action on the Rockets. While it's impossible to argue that we have reached that point based on recent outcomes, context hints strongly that today could be that day. Consistent with this thinking, FiveThirtyEight's primary framework makes Houston 9.5 points better than the Thunder Sunday, well north is the listed full game spread of -4.5.


Happy betting!!


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