The NBA odds makers have set the Rockets from Houston as seven point favorites for their matchup with the New Jersey Nets at the Prudential Center with tip off set for 7:00pm ET.

Season record (36-28-1 ATS for 56.3% ATS winners)

NBA free pick on the Houston Rockets as they take on the New Jersey Nets in NBA action set to start at 7:00 PM ET.

Houston trails Memphis by 2.5 games with nine games left to the regular season schedule. They are obviously in a ‘must win’ situation and playing a vastly inferior opponent in New Jersey will make that task far easier tonight.

Memphis and Houston Schedules

Houston has a difficult task of playing tonight and then having to travel a very short distance down I-95 to Philadelphia to play a surging 76ers team that soundly defeated the Eastern Conference leading Chicago Bulls last night. Houston plays six of the remaining nine games against teams with winning records.

The Memphis Grizzlies have eight games remaining and four of them are against losing record teams including two games with the Los Angeles Clippers. Moreover, five of these games are on their home court. So, it may be too late for a Houston win streak to be enough to overtake Memphis.

Simulator Projections and Game Situations

My proprietary sports handicapping database and simulator shows a high probability that the Houston Rockets will win this game by nine or more points. Supporting this graded play is a system that has produced a record of 55-26 ATS for 68% winners since 1996. Play against home dogs of 3.5 to 9.5 points that are poor defensive teams allowing 99 or more points per game on the season and facing an opponent after allowing 105 points or more in two straight games. Of the 81 games played based on the criteria of this system 26 or 33.8% of them have covered the spread by seven or more points.

The simulator projects that Houston will score more than 105 points in this game and have 12 or fewer turnovers in this game. Note that in past games where the New Jersey Nets posted these defensive numbers they are just 4-14 ATS losing 11.4 units per one unit wager when they allow 105 or more points in a game this season; 164-225 ATS losing 83.5 units per one unit in games where they force 12 or fewer turnovers since 1996.

Houston Offense will Dominate

I fully expect that the Rockets offense will control the tempo and dominate this game. They rank third in the NBA in offensive scoring averaging 106 points per game and have averaged 120.0 spanning the past three games. New Jersey has not done well against similar teams posting a 9-23 ATS losing 16.3 units per one unit wagered facing explosive offensive teams scoring 103 or more points per game over the last two seasons.

The New Jersey defense is pedestrian at best ranking 15th in scoring defense allowing 99.2 points per game. Houston has done quite well against similar weak defenses posting a 26-13 ATS making 11.7 units per one unit wagered versus poor defensive teams allowing 99 or more points per game this season.

Take the Houston Rockets.