The Dallas Mavericks are favored by two and half points by the NBA odds makers but revenge can be a strong motivator and the Houston Rockets will be out to get theirs.

Season record (43-30-1 ATS for 58.9% ATS winners)

NBA free pick on the Houston Rockets as they take on the Dallas Mavericks in NBA Western Conference action set to start at 8:30 PM ET.  

My proprietary sports handicapping database and simulator shows a high probability that Houston will win this game. Currently installed as a 2.5 point dog at the NBA betting window, there isn’t any meaningful reason to consider a money line bet.  

The Dallas Mavericks have an opportunity to take over the reeling Lakers for second place and home court advantage for possibly the first two rounds of the playoffs. The conference leading San Antonio Spurs have clinched the best record and home court advantage throughout the conference playoffs. The Mavericks own the tie breaker over the Oklahoma City Thunder, but have to finish ahead of the Lakers. Dallas cannot be seeded higher than fourth in the standings, but can have home court advantage over the Lakers and Thunder if they have the better record. 

Houston is out of the playoff race, but can act as spoiler in upsetting the Mavericks. One thing to always remember in pro sports is these are professional athletes with many of them not accustomed to losing very often. There is a great sense of pride among these athletes and I strongly believe that Houston will want to give a serious full throttle effort tonight. 

Game Situations

Yao Ming has been out for more than half the season and Chuck Hayes has done a great job at the center despite being just 6-6. he has done a fantastic job working the paint on the defensive end against taller opposition and the Houston Chronicle stated that he and the management want to work out a deal that will bring him back next year. 

I fully expect him to do a great job against Dallas forward Nowitski, who is not a power type of player. Hayes can push him out on the perimeter and force him to be a perimeter scoring threat. 

Houston Motivation

Revenge is a factor in this game as Dallas has won the first three games this season and look to sweep the Houston Rockets for the first time since the 2002-2003 season. There is a possibility that two starters will not be in the lineup for the Rockets tonight, but i do not see that as a problem. Houston was short handed on Saturday and they had six players score in double figures with double-doubles by Hayes and Goran Dragic. 

Moreover, I really liked what i read in the Houston Chronicle this morning as Hayes stated "Since the break, we've been playing great basketball, great team energy basketball. You can see it in our play. You can see it in our chemistry and you can see it in just how much fun we are having.

Houston Offense

Dallas is not known for their defensive intensity and rank 10th in the NBA allowing 96.2 points per game and have allowed 96.7 points per game spanning the past three seasons. Houston ranks third in offensive scoring averaging 105.9 points per game and rank ninth in fast break scoring averaging 15.1 points per game. I strongly believe that Houston’s chemistry will overcome the loss of two starters and still win this game. 

Take the Houston Rockets.