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April 13, 2015

Take Charlotte Hornets at +11.5 spread against Houston Rockets risking 3% of bankroll.

There is no question that the Rockets are the much better team in this contest. We are not going to pretend otherwise, however sports betting is not always about simply picking the "better" team, it often has to do with situational awareness and value and that is what we have here. The Houston Rockets are in quite the unfavorable situation tonight as they head to Charlotte. Last night they fought tooth and nail with the New Orleans Pelicans and needed to mount a late rally in order to get the victory. That game likely took its toll on the starters and expended quite a bit more energy than they would have liked. Tonight they find themselves on the second half of a back to back taking on a team whom they have beaten 8 straight times and now many feel have simply given up on the season. It certainly would be easy for Houston to overlook this game and feel like they could simply walk on the court and win this game. We feel that is a dangerous mindset to be in, especially when laying double digits on the road. 

Charlotte certainly doesn't have much to play for in regards to the postseason this year. Even if they win out and Miami loses its final two game, the Hornets won't finish any higher than 10th in the East, however if there was one last game to get up for this season it would be this one. This is the Hornet's final home game of the season and they are playing what many would consider an elite opponent. Yes, injuries have certainly hurt Steve Clifford’s team this down the stretch, as they are dealing with 4 to key personnel. This has made Clifford empty his bench and players who are not normally used to being in the starting role are seeing a much greater share of minutes. While they are no doubt much less experienced than some of the players on this roster, they do make up for their lack of experience with motivation and a will to make plays and impress their coach. 

Charlotte isn't the only team that is dealing with injuries as Houston has their fair share as well especially as the Center position. Both Howard as well as his backup, Monteijunas are both ruled out for tonight’s contest which means that Joey Dorsey will be injected into the starting role. We also believe the Hornets will have the advantage at the PG position tonight with the speed of Kemba Walker going up against the older, more tired legs of Jason Terry and Pablo Prigioni. In addition, Mo Williams will provide great depth at that position. Ultimately the Rockets will likely win this game since they are better team and do need this win but we also believe this spread is inflated. We believe where the odds maker opened the line made a lot more sense and was fair, and yet now, despite Howard missing, it’s moved other way. The betting public cashed out with Rockets last night and has jumped right on the bandwagon again tonight. While they were fortunate last night, we believe tonight they will be disappointed. This is last meaningful remaining game for Hornets since next game is against Raptors at Air Canada Center. Right now it is all about morale victories for this team and this is basically their playoff game! They would like nothing more than to end their 8 game losing streak to the Rockets while also putting on an entertaining show in front of their home crowd for the final time this season. 

The Hornets haven't beaten the Rockets since Nov of 2010 and will want to end that ugly slide. We don’t necessarily think they'll succeed but we do believe their efforts should see them cover this inflated spread. After 3 ugly blowout losses, public is expecting Hornets to lay an egg again, we don’t however, not on their final home game. This is still a team with pride. They'll want to bounce back and put on a better performance tonight. We believe that once Houston has a nice lead, they'll start thinking about resting Harden and other players so they can be ready for their final home game of season on Wednesday and another crucial game for them to win. They likely have no interest in blowing out the Hornets tonight they simply need to wins out of their two remaining games and will want to get that with as little energy expended as possible so we wouldn't be surprised if things get ugly early, that Kevin McHale calls off the dogs in order to rest his players which allows the Hornets to sneak in the backdoor. The hornets have lost 4 in a row and are heading on the road to Toronto in their final game puts them in a real position to end the season on a 6 game losing streak. While that may in fact happen, we expect them to at least put in the effort to try and stay competitive. 

This is a game that likely will not be very entertaining to watch. It's quite possible that Charlotte goes down by double digits early and spends much of the game playing from behind. It's important to remember that basketball games are 48 minutes long and a single quarter or two does not decide the spread. There are a lot of things that can go wrong for Houston when laying double digits on the road and ultimately, at the end of the game it is about which team covers the spread. While Houston may in fact be the better overall team, we believe it Charlotte who cashes the ticket at the final buzzer. 

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