After a strong start to the post-James Harden era, the Houston Rockets have come back down to earth, dropping three of their last four games. They'll look to get back on track against a New Orleans Pelicans team that has also not lived up to expectations so far this season.
But Zion Williamson and the Pels have started to turn things around, winning and covering three straight, and are laying 4.5-points at home in this matchup.
Can New Orleans make it four in a row? Find out in our NBA free picks and predictions for Rockets vs. Pelicans on Tuesday, February 9 with tipoff scheduled for 7:30 p.m. ET.
Houston Rockets at New Orleans Pelicans Betting Preview
Rockets: Christian Wood C (Out), Dante Exum G (Out).
Pelicans: Josh Hart G (Questionable).
Find our latest NBA injury reports.
Betting Trend to Know
The Over is 7-1 in the Pelicans' last eight games as a home favorite. Find more NBA betting trends for Rockets vs. Pelicans.
NBA Sharp Money and Line Movement ReportBy Patrick Everson
New Orleans is out to -6.5 this afternoon from a -4 Monday night opener, and as of 4:30 p.m. ET, the Pelicans are attracting 64 percent of bets and 71 percent of money on the point spread. The total is one the rise, as well, moving from 222.5 to 226.5, albeit on two-way action, with 57 percent of bets and 51 percent of money on the Over.Check out the full line movement for this game
Against the Spread (ATS) Pick
The Pelicans are playing their best basketball of the season, winning three straight, and five of their last seven which includes notching wins against the likes of the Pacers, Suns, and Bucks.
The Pels finding their mojo on offense has been a huge reason for their turnaround. New Orleans ranks sixth in offensive rating and fourth in scoring over this seven-game stretch. Williamson has done his thing for most of the year, but it's Brandon Ingram heating up which has made this offense dangerous again.
Ingram has upped his scoring to 25.6 points per game over his last eight contests, which includes nearly 42 percent from deep, and has topped 27 points five times over that stretch. But Williamson and Ingram will be in tough against a stout Rockets defense.
Houston is tops in the NBA when it comes to defensive rating since the Harden trade, but its biggest problem is on the other end of the floor. Without Harden, the Rockets rank 25th in offensive rating and have averaged just 110.5 points over the last four games.
The Rockets will have John Wall and Eric Gordon back in the lineup for this matchup, and they beat the Pels 126-112 as 2.5-point underdogs back on Jan. 30. But that was one of their best 3-point shooting nights of the season and they also got a big game out of Christian Wood, who will miss this contest with an ankle injury.
The Pelicans also have a huge edge on the glass, ranking third in the NBA in rebounding percentage, while the Rockets come in at 27th. With Houston playing its second game in as many nights, we like New Orleans to stay hot and win and cover its fourth in a row.
PREDICTION: Pelicans -4.5 (-110)
The Pelicans have been an Over machine for total bettors when they are playing at home, eclipsing the number in nine of their 11 home games, and as noted, their offense seems to be getting better and better as the season rolls along.
The Pelicans are averaging 118.7 points over their last seven games and have scored no fewer than 114 points over a three-game winning streak against good defending teams in the Grizzlies, Pacers, and Suns. And while the Rockets have been outstanding on the defensive end, this is the second half of a back-to-back after they just gave up 118 points to the Charlotte Hornets the night before.
Wall and Gordon should be well-rested, however, and be able to give the Rockets enough firepower to send this one above the number.
PREDICTION: Over 222.5 (-110)
Player Prop Pick
As mentioned, the one place the Rockets fail to get liftoff is on the glass. Thanks to the undersized nature of their roster and their poor shooting percentage, no one allows opponents to snatch more boards than Houston. And that could play right into Lonzo Ball's rebounding prop.
The eldest Ball brother has picked up his game after a slow start to the season and is averaging 6.4 boards over the last five games. He has gone Over his rebounding total of 5.5 in four of those contests, including when he pulled down eight boards the last time the Pels played the Rockets.
PREDICTION: Lonzo Ball Over 5.5 Rebounds (+115)
Rockets vs Pelicans Betting Card
- Pelicans -4.5 (-110)
- Over 222.5 (-110)
- Lonzo Ball Over 5.5 Rebounds (+115)
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