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Small-Ball Rockets Aim To Continue Home Dominance Over Celtics

Russell Westbrook NBA Basketball Betting Preview Boston Celtics vs Houston Rockets

The early results for the small-ball Rockets have been mixed, as they are 1-2 since the NBA trade deadline. They’re hosting a Boston team Tuesday that they’ve beaten nine out of the last 12 meetings, but the surging Celtics are ATS stars — and an intriguing play as 3-point underdogs.

Boston Celtics vs Houston Rockets

Opening Odds Analysis

The Rockets have won nine of their last 12 games against Boston, but are just 1-2 and still trying to find a strong rotation with their post-deadline roster, so they opened as just 3-point favorites against a white-hot Celtics team. Over their last 10 meetings these teams combined to average just 212.1 points per game, but Houston has the second-highest scoring offense in the league, while the Celtics are 12th, and their last three matchups have averaged 234 points, so this total opened at 230 points. 

Boston News & Notes

The Celtics are starting to kick it into high gear, winning seven straight games and 10 of their last 11, while going 8-3 ATS over that stretch as well.

This hot streak has propelled them to a 37-15 record, sitting just 1.5 games behind the Raptors for first place in the Atlantic Division. The Celtics have been getting their wins with defense, giving up just 105.1 points per game over this winning stretch and jumping up to the second-best scoring defense in the NBA.

Boston’s defense will need to shine against one of the league’s most prolific offenses in Houston on Tuesday, while the Celtics will also need to overcome recent history: they’ve lost nine of their last 12 games against the Rockets and seven of their last eight at the Toyota Center.

Houston News & Notes

Following the NBA trade deadline, the Rockets went to a small-ball approach and shocked the Lakers with a victory in Los Angeles. The following two games have been less successful, however, as Houston lost by 36 to Phoenix and then fell 114-113 to Utah on Sunday.

Russell Westbrook has continued his recent scoring binge, averaging 35.7 points per game over his last 10 contests while the NBA’s leading scorer, teammate James Harden, is in a slump: he’s only averaging 27.4 points per game over that same stretch.

Even leading up to Houston’s roster restructure, the Rockets hadn’t been playing quite the same high-octane games they had all season — the total has gone UNDER in four of their last five games. Considering they’re facing a red-hot defense in Boston and the total has gone UNDER in 11 of their last 14 matchups, don’t necessarily bank on Houston blowing up on offense Tuesday night.

Betting Pick: Celtics +3

Boston’s biggest deficiency is a lack of low-post size … but the Rockets don’t really have any key rotation players above six-foot-seven. In what will be a small(er) ball-style game, I like the red-hot Celtics to cover.

Shark Bites
  • The total has gone UNDER in 7 of Boston’s last 10 games.
  • Boston is 6-3 ATS in its last 9 games against Houston.
  • Houston is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games at home.