Heat vs Rockets Picks and Predictions: Sengun Soars With Boards and Dimes

With the Heat's backcourt — and entire rotation, really — still recovering from a ton of injuries, it could open the door for Rockets big man Alperen Sengun, even with Bam Adebayo holding the fort under the glass. Find out which Sengun market we like best.

Tom Oldfield - Betting Analyst at Covers.com
Tom Oldfield • Betting Analyst
Dec 15, 2022 • 14:33 ET • 4 min read
Alperen Sengun Houston Rockets NBA
Photo By - USA TODAY Sports

It’s been an uneven and disappointing season so far for the Miami Heat, but they have the chance to climb back to .500 tonight as they visit the Houston Rockets.

With their injury list gradually clearing, the Heat are showing signs of life and have won back-to-back games, including a 110-108 victory over the Thunder last night thanks to Tyler Herro’s 35-point gem.

While a high lottery pick remains the priority for the Rockets, they’ve won three of their last four games and stunned the Bucks on Sunday.

Find out more in our NBA picks and predictions ahead of tonight’s showdown between the Heat and Rockets.

Heat vs Rockets best odds

Heat vs Rockets picks and predictions

When it comes to highlight-reel plays, it’s usually the Rockets backcourt that grabs the spotlight, but young big man Alperen Sengun is developing nicely in his second season with Houston.

While his defense still has a long way to go, Sengun is bringing plenty to the table this year in almost 27 minutes a night despite sharing the floor with two ball-dominant guards — and he’s flashed the ability to take on more playmaking responsibility when Jalen Green or Kevin Porter Jr. are on the bench.  

I expect Sengun’s recent strong play to continue tonight against a heavy-legged Heat team that ranks in the Bottom 5 in rebounds per game. Though Bam Adebayo is a rebounding monster, Miami is patching together the backup center minutes and often leans on smaller lineups.

Sengun dominated on the boards against the Suns on Tuesday, finishing with 16 rebounds to go with 10 points and two assists, and has impressive vision as a passer when given the opportunity. While his per-game assist totals don’t jump off the screen, he had a seven-assist game against the Thunder in November.

Sengun’s last three performances would have cashed in this Over and he’s capable of getting to this total in rebounds alone. As long as he stays out of foul trouble while battling Adebayo in the paint, he looks well-placed to deliver again tonight.

My best bet: Alperen Sengun Over 10.5 rebounds + assists (+100)

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Heat vs Rockets spread analysis

The Heat are understandably road favorites here, even though they’re coming off a tight battle in Oklahoma City last night. NBA odds see Miami’s talent edge outweighing the back-to-back fatigue — and it helps that Jimmy Butler should be back after sitting out against the Thunder to rest his troublesome right knee. Butler should find appealing matchups against a Houston team with a three-guard starting lineup and some erratic defensive decision-making.

But Erik Spoelstra’s men have dropped some head-scratching games already this month, with losses to the Pistons and Spurs. The Heat (just 5-9 on the road this season) are 1-5 against the spread in their last six games.

Meanwhile, the Rockets have covered their last six home games. Houston beat the Devin Booker-less Suns 111-97 at Toyota Center on Tuesday as Green poured in 26 points and five other Rockets scored in double digits. Don’t sleep on the hosts’ ability to beat good teams on their home floor.

Heat vs Rockets Over/Under analysis

Butler’s scoring and playmaking unlock another level for this Heat offense — and the Over is 6-1 in Miami’s last seven games against a team with a winning percentage below .400. The visitors’ passing, movement, and general high-IQ play tend to overwhelm younger, less experienced groups like the Rockets. 

At the other end of the court, Miami has tightened up around Defensive Player of the Year candidate Adebayo, who’ll be comfortable switching onto the hosts’ guards. The Heat held the Indiana Pacers to 82 points in an ugly, old-school rock fight on Monday, but they’re still searching for consistency after so much rotation re-jigging this season.

Miami will be tested at that end of the floor by a Rockets team happy to play fast and capable of keeping pace in a shootout. Green and Porter will surely look to attack Herro and Max Strus on the perimeter, and Houston’s feisty bench should relish this type of matchup.

Though the Under is 5-1 in the Rockets’ last six games following a SU win, there’s enough 3-point shooting on display to swing the total towards the Over here, especially after Herro’s red-hot shooting (nine threes) last night.

Heat vs Rockets betting trend to know

Given the Heat’s struggles away from home this season, keep in mind that the Rockets have covered their last four home games against a team with a losing road record. Find more NBA betting trends for Heat vs. Rockets.

Heat vs Rockets game info

Location: Toyota Center, Houston, TX
Date: Thursday, December 15, 2022
Tip-off: 8:00 p.m. ET
TV: Bally Sports Sun, AT&T SportsNet Southwest

Heat vs Rockets key injuries

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