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NBA Basketball Preview - Rockets at Suns

April 01, 2009

NBA Betting Preview - Houston Rockets at Phoenix Suns (Wednesday 10:00 ET)

By Matt Fargo

Phoenix has been a great play at home and a great play against on the road recently but I am switching it up here and fading the Suns once again.

I played against the Suns in all three of those recent road games and they were fortunate to come away with one cover in those games thanks to an overtime loss by five points in Utah.

The first thought here is bounce back since they are back in the US Airways Center but I am not thinking along those lines.

That recent three-game skid has put Phoenix four games behind Dallas for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference and while it is not mathematically eliminated, it might as well be.

Five of the final seven games are against scrubs so putting together a string to end the year is more than possible.

The problem is, the Suns have to bank on Dallas tanking but with the Mavericks playing six of their final eight games at home, including a game against Phoenix, that isn't likely to happen.

So even though it is a big game for Phoenix, I think it is actually bigger for the Rockets. Houston got a shot of momentum last night and it didn't even play.

The Rockets were moved up to first place in the Southwest Division thanks to San Antonio losing to Oklahoma City, at home no less.

This is the start of a huge stretch for Houston who plays the Lakers, Blazers and Magic in its next three games so this game is extremely big.

The Rockets are well rested as they have played just one game, Saturday's 110-93 victory over the Clippers, in a week. They considered the break, and its four practice days, useful, but long enough and they are more than ready to get back to playing games.

The time off will definitely help more than hurt as rest this time of year is huge. Plus, the Rockets are 4-0 this season when playing with three or more days rest with those wins coming by an average of 16.7 ppg.

Phoenix has no doubt been better at home than on the road but a lot of that success has come against bad teams. The Suns are only 12-25 ATS this season against teams with a winning record and that includes a 7-13 ATS mark at home.

They are just 9-20 straight up against teams ranked within the top ten, going 9-20 ATS as well. This includes a 5-10 record against the number in home games so there is no advantage at all for Phoenix to be playing this game at home.

The Rockets are 14-5 ATS in their last 19 games as an underdog of fewer than five points and considering their last three road wins have come against San Antonio, Denver and New Orleans, playing in Phoenix, where they have won the last two meetings, is far from intimidating.

Pick: Houston Rockets +1.5 (-110) available at 5Dimes.com.

Check out the NBA basketball betting forum for more picks and trends or to post your own predictions for Wednesday night.


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