Lakers vs. Rockets odds, line: 2020 NBA picks, Jan. 18 predictions from proven model on 28-16 roll

LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers (33-8) will hit the road on Saturday evening for a nationally-televised battle against James Harden and the Houston Rockets (26-14). Both teams have injury issues, however, with Anthony Davis (tailbone) and Rajon Rondo (finger) out for Los Angeles, and Austin Rivers (thumb) sidelined for Houston. 

Tip-off is at 8:30 p.m. ET at Toyota Center. Sportsbooks list the Rockets as 1.5-point home favorites, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 235.5 in the latest Lakers vs. Rockets odds. Before making any Rockets vs. Lakers picks or NBA predictions, see what SportsLine's advanced computer model has to say.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and last season it returned a whopping $4,280 on its top-rated NBA spread and money line picks. It's already returned over $2,000 in profit on all its top-rated NBA picks during the 2019-20 season and entered Week 12 on a blistering 28-16 run on all top-rated NBA spread picks. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Lakers vs. Rockets. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Now, here are several NBA betting lines and trends for Rockets vs. Lakers:

  • Lakers vs. Rockets spread: Rockets -1.5
  • Lakers vs. Rockets over-under: 235.5 points
  • Lakers vs. Rockets money line: Rockets -124, Lakers +104
  • LAL: The Lakers have covered the spread in four of the last five games
  • HOU: The Rockets are 1-4 against the spread in the last five games

Why the Lakers can cover

The model knows that Davis is a huge part of what Los Angeles does and, without him, things do change. However, the Lakers still have James, who is operating at a very high level this season. The future Hall of Fame forward is averaging 25.4 points, 10.9 assists and 7.7 rebounds per game this season, and he is a one-man contender on his own. Beyond that, the Lakers have quality numbers on both ends of the floor, with impressive shot profiles and elite characteristics. 

Los Angeles should be able to punish Houston's below-average defensive rebounding and, if the Lakers convert from 3-point range, they are virtually unstoppable offensively. LeBron and company are also one of the NBA's best road teams, posting 17-3 record this season, the Lakers have won nine of the last 10 games as they arrive in Houston. Even so, Los Angeles isn't a lock to cover the Lakers vs. Rockets spread. 

Why the Rockets can cover

The model also has considered that, with Harden in the middle of it all, the Rockets are a spectacular offensive team. The former MVP is averaging 37.2 points, 7.5 assists and 6.2 rebounds per game this season, and Harden is converting 37 percent of his 3-point attempts. Harden's presence allows the Rockets to be top five in overall offensive efficiency and elite at creating free-throw attempts. 

Houston is fairly average defensively but, in this matchup, there are a few areas where the Rockets should be able to flourish. The Rockets avoid fouls, keeping the Lakers off the free-throw line, and Houston should be able to create some turnovers against a Los Angeles squad that is not always secure with the ball. 

How to make Lakers vs. Rockets picks

SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total, and it also says one side of the spread hits in more than 50 percent of simulations.

So who wins Lakers vs. Rockets? And which side of the spread hits more than 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Rockets vs. Lakers spread you need to jump on Saturday, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks, and find out.  

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