The Los Angeles Clippers host Russell Westbrook and the Houston Rockets this Friday, and tip-off from the Staples Center is set for 10:30 p.m. ET. Both sides have title aspirations after adding superstars to their team in the offseason, and both squads are mostly healthy heading into what might be a preview for the Western Conference Finals series. The Clippers have Kawhi Leonard and Paul George healthy together for just the second time this year, but they will be without starting shooting guard Landry Shamet (ankle). Houston is missing Eric Gordon (knee), and starting small forward Danuel House (shoulder) was upgraded from doubtful to questionable, so the Rockets might get an unexpected reinforcement for this road contest. Sportsbooks list the Clippers as 5.5-point home favorites, while the over-under for total points is 226.5 in the latest Rockets vs Clippers odds. Before you make any Rockets vs. Clippers picks or NBA predictions, you'll want to see what SportsLine's advanced computer model has to say.
This model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and anyone who followed it last season saw massive returns, finishing 300-252 on all its top-rated NBA picks. On top-rated NBA picks against the spread and on the money line alone, the model returned a whopping $4,280 last season. It's off to a profitable start on all-top rated picks again this season, and enters Week 5 of the 2019-20 NBA season on a 9-4 run on all top-rated NBA spread picks. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
Now the model has locked in on Rockets vs. Clippers. We can tell you it's leaning under, and it also has a strong against-the-spread pick, saying one side cashes in almost 60 percent of simulations. You can head to SportsLine to see it. Now, here are several NBA betting lines and trends for Rockets vs. Clippers:
- Rockets vs. Clippers spread: Los Angeles -5.5
- Rockets vs. Clippers over-under: 226.5 points
- Rockets vs. Clippers money line: Los Angeles -220, Houston +185
- HOU: James Harden's 38.4 point per game average would be the highest ever recorded in the modern era, topping Michael Jordan's 37.1 mark.
- LAC: After being limited to 29 minutes or less in his first three games back from injury, Paul George was allowed to log 37 minutes in an overtime win on Wednesday.
The model is well aware of what a massive boost home court advantage has given the Clippers this season. While they are just 1-4 with a -3.4 average point differential on the road, Los Angeles is 9-1 with a +10.7 point differential when playing at the Staples Center. That sample includes statement wins over contenders such as the Lakers, Jazz, Celtics, and Raptors. Will Houston soon be added to the list of casualties?
The early returns of the Kawhi-plus-George combination would sure seem to suggest so. Of course, this is a small sample size -- as we've seen just one game with both players on the court at the same time -- but the results were scary. In 55 possessions in which those two shared the court against Boston, the Clippers held the Celtics to just a 39.6 percent true shooting percentage, which is a 100th percentile outcome, according to cleaningtheglass.com.
That shouldn't come as much of a surprise, given Leonard and George's standing as perhaps the league's top-two two-way players. The team's defensive versatility with those two on the court together is unlike anything we've seen in the NBA in recent memory. Will the two superstars be able to stifle Houston's high-powered offensive attack on Friday?
Just because Los Angeles has George back, doesn't mean it will cover the Rockets vs. Clippers spread against a Houston team that also boasts two All-NBA talents on Friday, though.
The model is well aware that while the Clippers made some huge moves this offseason, one area they failed to address was their interior defense. Neither Ivica Zubac or Montrezl Harrell are necessarily bad defenders, but the Clippers did give up the eighth-most points at the rim last season. The interior is clearly the weakness on this otherwise extremely intimidating defense, and it is a problem against Western Conference contenders like the Rockets, Lakers and Nuggets, who have big men that the Clippers just don't have an answer for.
So who wins Clippers vs. Rockets? And which side of the spread hits in almost 60 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Clippers vs. Rockets spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks.