We build the blueprint for betting this marquee matchup on the NBA basketball odds board Saturday, from our favorite bets for the side and total to some quick-paying picks and prop plays.
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Lakers vs. Rockets Game Details
Date: Saturday, January 17
Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
Location: Toyota Center (Houston, Texas)
Spread: Rockets -2
*All lines & odds courtesy of FanDuel
Houston continues its four-game home stand on Saturday against the Lakers with both teams coming off losses. The Rockets have dropped two straight by double-digits against Memphis and Portland. Los Angeles was upset by the Magic on Wednesday, their first loss since in the last five games.
The Lakers lead the NBA in first-quarter scoring this season averaging 29.7 points. Los Angeles is 25-15-1 ATS in the opening stanza this season including 7-3 ATS in their last 10 games. Houston lost the first-quarter outright 28-26 to the Blazers in Wednesday’s loss. The Rockets are 5-5 ATS in the opening frame over their last 10 games.
Prediction: First quarter spread Lakers +0.5
The Rockets and Lakers are also among the elite first-half scoring teams in the NBA, with Houston leading the league at 60.4 points per game and Los Angeles third with 59.3. The first-half over is 14-7 in Houston road games this season and has hit 7 of the last 10 times.
James Harden leads the NBA in first-half scoring averaging 19.0 points per game. Harden is looking to bounce back from his lowest-scoring game in a year, having tallied just 13 points in Wednesday’s loss against Portland. His previous low was 10 points against the Timberwolves in January last season.
6-foot-10 All-Star forward Anthony Davis is questionable with a back injury, which could mean additional scoring opportunities on the interior for slashing point guard Russell Westbrook, who ranks 4th in the NBA averaging 28.6 points per game since December 7.
Prediction: First half total Over 119
Westbrook has been heating up over the past week and has scored at least 30 points in each of his last three games. He recorded his 7th triple-double as a Rocket in the loss against Portland and has recorded at least 10 assists in his past two games after accomplishing that mark just once in his previous 12.
The floor is pretty high with Westbrook in terms of scoring as he has poured in at least 20 points in 15 consecutive games and has reached 30 eight times during that stretch. Westbrook made history the last time he faced the Lakers in April while still a member of the Thunder, becoming the second player ever to have 20 points, 20 rebounds and 20 assists in a game.
Prediction: Russell Westbrook Over 42.5 Points + Rebounds + Assists
Despite some gaudy individual stats posted by Harden and Westbrook, over bettors have not been profitable in Rockets games this season, hitting just 42.5% of the time (17-25). The Lakers have also trended under, with the over hitting at just 46.3% (19-22).
This number is also slightly inflated because the over is 4-0 in the last four Lakers games. They are also coming off a high-scoring 119-118 loss to the Magic in their last game, which beat the closing total of 209.5 by almost 30. The under is 4-3 in games after a Lakers loss this season.
Prediction: Full game under 232.5
Both teams have above-.500 ATS records after a loss this season with the Lakers going 4-3 and Houston 7-6. The Rockets are also 10-9 ATS in home games this season while the Lakers are just 6-8 ATS as an away favorite. Los Angeles is 5-1 SU as an underdog this season.
Despite a rough game earlier this week against Portland, James Harden still has as many points as minutes played (1,449). He averaged 41.0 points in four games against the Lakers last season and seems to save his best basketball for Los Angeles.
The questions surrounding Anthony Davis could give the Rockets an opportunity to keep this game close. Clint Capela averaged a double-double in four meetings against the Lakers last season with 15.7 points and 12.3 rebounds per game. The Rockets went 3-1 SU including 2-0 at home against Los Angeles in 2018-19.
Prediction: Rockets -2.5
Follow Jared Smith on Twitter: @jaredleesmith