Two Teams With Shrinking Play-In Chances
The Houston Rockets will travel to face the Indiana Pacers on Thursday, with neither team having realistic NBA playoff odds of making it. After this game, the Rockets’ next six will all be at home.
However, it hasn’t mattered where the Rockets play. They still have the worst record in the NBA, losing their last game 118-96 to the Brooklyn Nets on Tuesday. The Pacers also lost their previous game, beaten by the Philadelphia 76ers 147-143 on Monday, despite Tyrese Haliburton scoring 40 points.
Find the latest NBA odds for upcoming games and futures markets here.
Also check on these NBA betting lines.
Rockets Back to Reality
Surprisingly, the Rockets entered their last game having won two straight for the first time since Feb. 3 after beating the San Antonio Spurs in back-to-back games. However, to add context, Houston beat one of three teams, including themselves, with a winning percentage under 30%.
It’s not breaking NBA news, but the Rockets are more interested in getting higher draft odds than climbing up the standings. That was clear in the loss to the Nets, with Houston scoring just 96 points. A big part of the loss was the team’s assists-to-turnover ratio. They played poorly, committing 19 turnovers to just 14 assists.
Turnovers tend to be an issue for younger teams, and with the lack of ball movement and shot makers, there are few assists. Houston averages the most turnovers per game and the third-fewest assists.
The Rockets’ struggles and inability to show constant effort make them challenging to include in your NBA picks. The one highlight might be Jalen Green becoming a more consistent scorer.
Pacers Defensive Struggles
Not much was expected out of the Pacers headed into this season, and even when it looked like they could end up as a play-in team, their NBA lines didn’t change much. Indiana is still seen as a developing team with talent, but the lesser of others competing for an Eastern Conference play-in spot.
However, the Pacers have been solid against the spread (ATS) in the last seven games. Indiana has only been favored twice over that time, according to the NBA point spread, and the only game it did not cover was against the Spurs. But their ATS success did not translate to their overall record, with the Pacers going 4-3.
The defense has been the issue during this stretch. The Pacers have the worst defensive rating in the last seven games, despite the third-best offensive one. It leaves the team with a net rating of -0.6, not putting them in a good position to win games.
Tyrese Haliburton in his five games since the All-Star break:
48.6 3P% pic.twitter.com/AWoCK2Cu0G
— Indiana Pacers (@Pacers) March 8, 2023
On the other hand, their offense keeps them in games against tougher opponents. That is how they were able to cover against the 76ers.
Rockets vs Pacers Game Injuries
Rockets vs Pacers Head-to-Head
The Pacers have dominated this matchup, winning the last six games. The Rockets have not beaten the Pacers since 2019. They have played once this season, with the Pacers winning 99-91 on Nov. 18.
Rockets vs Pacers Game Information
- Game: Rockets (15-50) vs Pacers (29-37)
- Location: Gainbridge Fieldhouse, Indianapolis, IN
- Day/Time: Thursday, March 9, 7:00 p.m. EST
- Rockets vs Pacers Live stream: NBA Game Pass
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Rockets vs Pacers Betting Lines
Rockets vs Pacers Picks and Prediction
The Pacers shouldn’t overlook this matchup. The last time they were a decent-sized favorite, they faced the Spurs, and the Pacers lost 110-99. The most significant difference is this game will be played in Indiana.
However, the Rockets have shown they can have good offensive nights, especially against opponents with weak defense. The Pacers indeed fall under the category, meaning this game could end up closer than most expect.
This game could come down to if the Rockets’ offense can take advantage of the Pacers’ poor defense and cover such a large spread. Due to Houston’s inconsistencies, that seems less likely.
The Indiana Pacers are listed at -430 in our Vegas NBA lines. This means that if you wager $100 on the Pacers, you have a chance to win $23. The Houston Rockets is +335, offering a chance to win $335 on a $100 wager.
The implied probability attached to the betting lines gives the Indiana Pacers an 81.13% chance to win, with the Houston Rockets at 22.99%.
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Rockets vs Pacers Trends
Rockets vs Pacers Edge
Rockets vs Pacers Results
Rockets vs Pacers Game Summary
Pacers vs Rockets Previous Game (Nov. 18, 2022)
The odds in the sportsbook have the Pacers as the favorites and that seems to be the right choice. If you’re looking for the best option for your NBA picks, rolling with them at a -5 value looks good.
Indiana has far and away been the better team compared to the Rockets, with their players thriving more in their scheme than Houston.
Haliburton and Mathurin won’t just contend with Green and Porter, but they can likely win that duo battle and allow the rest of the Pacers’ depth to win the game for them.
With the Rockets coming off a win, expect them to go back to their losing ways tonight.