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May 6, 2015 (Posted at 5:00 PM ET)

After consecutive wire-to-wire covers, SPS is 74-52 in NBA this season!

Tonight's pick is a smaller 2% wager.

Take the UNDER 214 total points in LA Clippers vs. Houston Rockets risking 2% of bankroll.

Despite not having Chris Paul in the lineup, the LA Clippers managed to come away with a somewhat unexpected road victory over the #2 seeded Houston Rockets in Game 1. It was a pretty poor outing for the Rockets who started the game off well, mounting an early 6 point first quarter lead, however after half time was when Houston really struggled, surrendering a total of 71 point in the second half to a Chris Paul-less Clippers team. Austin Rivers was a huge surprise in Game 1 as he finished the game with 17 points which seemingly caught the Rockets defense off guard. Chris Paul is scheduled to sit on the sidelines for Game 2 tonight as well and we don’t expect the Rockets to be fooled by Rivers again tonight. While the Clippers players managed to rally without their star point guard in Game 1, we don't expect them to have the same success again tonight; this team is nowhere near as efficient without him in the lineup. The Rockets won’t be fooled again will be much more alert on the defensive end as they aim for revenge in a hope to even up the series. 

Game 1 also wasn't without it's anomalies that contributed to an unusually high scoring game. Both teams made over ten 3-pointers in Game 1 and while both have shown their proficiency from long range, it's rare to see both sides connect on such a high percentage of shots. Typically one team has success while the other struggles and we expect that to be the case tonight. The main reason for the first meeting going Over the posted total was due to Houston's utter lack of defense in the second half of that contest. When these two teams have squared off in the past, the oddsmakers have almost made it a habit of inflating the totals given the dangerous nature of both offenses. While the potential for high scoring games is there, they have proven to actually be few and far between. 8 of the last 12 meetings between these two teams have managed to go Under the total. That's usually because both teams realize that when two powerhouse offense square off, it is likely the team who plays the much more solid defense that wins. 

In the series opener, turnovers played a major role in the high scoring affair as both teams turned the ball over 20+ times. With both being teams who like to get out and run and play a faster tempo, those turnovers often turn into fast break opportunities resulting in easy points on the board. We expect both teams to focus on ball security in Game 2 which should result in a much slower paced style of game. Both teams also statistically struggle from the free-throw line. Out of 54 combined free-throw attempts, both teams only managed to covert on 38 of those. Guys like DeAndre Jordan, Dwight Howard and Josh Smith have all shown their struggles on the charity stripe. It hasn't been uncommon for teams this season to implement the "Hack-A" strategy in order to send these poor shooters to the line. This strategy has a profound effect on the game and disrupts the rhythm of each team. When sending a player to the line and only converting on 1 of 2 attempts, it makes it tough for points to be put on the board. 

With the Rockets coming off a rare home loss, we expect them to put forth a much more concentrated effort tonight. We feel that they will be much more methodical with their approach and much more unforgiving to the Clippers without Chris Paul in the lineup. LA managed to score 117 points against Houston in Game 1 and we don't see them coming anywhere close to scoring that again. It's unlikely that they will hit the century mark in this contest. We can see one team hitting the 100 point mark in this contest, but not both. This line is inflated due to the unusual events of Game 1, however we expect a much more "normal" contest for Game 2 and at the end of the 4th quarter the final score should land just a couple baskets Under the total.  

Other notable facts to consider:

  • Under is a 7-2 when Rockets are seeking revenge for a home loss this season!
  • Rocket games have gone Under 8 out of 12 times as home favorites of 6.5 to 9 points this season!
  • The total has gone under in 4 of the Clippers' last 5 games when playing Houston.

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