Lakers vs. Rockets odds, line: NBA picks, predictions from proven model on 44-30 roll

The Houston Rockets will try to complete a season sweep of the Los Angeles Lakers when they meet on Thursday night at 10:30 p.m. ET. The Rockets have won all three prior meetings with Los Angeles this season, and a fourth would give them a head start on improving their position in the 2019 NBA playoff bracket. Houston comes out of the All-Star break in the No. 5 spot in the Western Conference and needs to move at least one spot higher to ensure home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Meanwhile, the LeBron James-led Lakers face a challenge to reach the postseason as they enter Thursday three games behind the Los Angeles Clippers for the No. 8 seed. Houston is a three-point favorite and the over-under for total points scored is 233 in the latest Rockets vs. Lakers odds. Before you lock in your Lakers vs. Rockets picks and NBA predictions, see what to the SportsLine Projection Model has to say.

The model, which simulates every game 10,000 times, is crushing its NBA picks this season. It entered Week 19 of the 2018-19 NBA season with a sterling 217-164 record on all top-rated picks, returning more than $4,000 to anybody following them. And it has been particularly red-hot on its A-rated NBA picks against the spread, entering Week 19 on a blistering 44-30 run. Anybody who has followed it is way up.

Now, it has locked in on Lakers vs. Rockets and crunched the numbers and all relevant data. We can tell you it is leaning over, and it also says one side of the spread has all the value, making it a must-back. The pick is only available at SportsLine.

The model knows that Los Angeles will have a sense of urgency to make up ground in the playoff chase in order to avoid missing the postseason in its first season with James on the roster. His prolonged absence because of a groin injury, which caused him to miss most of January, was a major factor in the Lakers' slide out of the 2019 NBA playoff bracket. Moreover, speculation about any number of major personnel moves before the NBA trade deadline -- none of which transpired -- had to cause a distraction.

But even a high degree of motivation doesn't mean L.A. is a lock to cover the Lakers vs. Rockets spread Thursday. 

The model also knows that in addition to home-court advantage in the first round, the Rockets have other incentives to move up in the playoff standings. They will likely need to ascend to at least the No. 3 seed in order to avoid having to face the reigning champion Golden State Warriors in the second round. Houston fell to Golden State in seven games in last year's Western Conference Finals. 

Although Houston has won all three meetings with Los Angeles, the games have been competitive and the Lakers should command attention after they forced overtime in Houston on Jan. 19. The short-handed Lakers led 64-46 at the break before Houston rallied to force overtime. James Harden finished with 48 points, while Eric Gordon had 30 as Houston overcame a deficit that reached as high as 21 points. 

Who wins Rockets vs. Lakers? And which side of the spread has all the value? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Rockets vs. Lakers spread you should be all over Thursday, all from the model that has returned more than $4,000 to $100 players the last two years, and find out.

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