The Houston Rockets passed their first test without former NBA MVP James Harden and vie for a two-game sweep of the San Antonio Spurs when the Southwest Division rivals square off at San Antonio's AT&T Center on Saturday night. One day after the blockbuster trade headlined by Harden, the Rockets picked up their first road win with a 109-105 victory over San Antonio on Thursday despite having only nine players in uniform.
Victor Oladipo was the biggest name acquired by Houston in the four-player deal but his availability is in question for the rematch with San Antonio. Tip-off is at 5 p.m. ET at AT&T Center. San Antonio is favored by seven points in the latest Spurs vs. Rockets odds from William Hill Sportsbook, while the over-under is set at 217.5. Before making any Rockets vs. Spurs picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions and betting advice from SportsLine's proven computer model.
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- Spurs vs. Rockets spread: San Antonio -7
- Spurs vs. Rockets over-under: 217.5 points
- Spurs vs. Rockets money line: San Antonio -290, Houston +245
- SA: The Spurs have committed 10 or fewer turnovers in nine of their 12 games
- HOU: PG John Wall (knee soreness) will sit out his second straight game
Why the Spurs can cover
Just as Houston had something to prove after dealing away Harden, who told reporters the Rockets were not good enough, expect added intensity from San Antonio in the rematch. Coach Gregg Popovich questioned his team's readiness to play in Thursday's defeat after the Spurs started off slow and faded late. The Spurs are last in rebound differential (-5.3) but will be facing a front line expected to be without DeMarcus Cousins (ankle).
Second-year forward Keldon Johnson appears to be emerging from an offensive funk during which he averaged only 8.5 points in a four-game stretch. Johnson followed up an 18-point effort at Oklahoma City on Tuesday by scoring a career-best 29 points and knocking down 12 of 16 shots against Houston. He also leads the team in rebounding with an average of 7.3 per game.
Why the Rockets can cover
Forward Christian Wood is the early leader in the clubhouse for the NBA's Most Improved Player. He buried a season-high five 3-pointers and notched his fifth double-double in nine games in Thursday's victory. Wood lit up the Spurs for 27 points in the preseason and matched that point total Thursday while pulling down 15 rebounds for the third time in his last six contests.
Injuries and the departure of Harden left the Rockets without a primary ball handler Thursday. Jae'Sean Tate stepped up with 13 points and 10 assists, the first Houston rookie to post double digits in both categories in a game since Steve Francis in April 2000. Sterling Brown poured in a season-high 23 points, matching his offensive output from the previous five games combined.
How to make Rockets vs. Spurs picks
SportsLine's model is leaning over on the total, with the teams projected to combine for 227 points. The model also says one side of the spread hits well over 50 percent of the time. You can get that pick at SportsLine.
So who wins Spurs vs. Rockets? And which side of the spread hits well over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Spurs vs. Rockets spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks.