Houston, there's a problem with the Rockets

Nov 3, 2015 3:01 AM

The first week of the new NBA season has produced more than its fair share of surprises and disappointments.

Perhaps the most shocking development witnessed in the opening week has been the putrid performance of last season’s Western Conference second seeded team, the Houston Rockets.

Expected to contend once again in the West, and perhaps they ultimately shall do so, the Rockets opened the season with a 20-point home loss to Denver, and did so as a 10.5 point favorite. Rather than showing that effort was merely an aberration, the Rockets proceeded to lose their next two games – at home to Golden State and at Miami – by identical 20-point margins.

The loss to the defending NBA Champion Warriors is shocking only because of the margin. But the one-sided loss to Miami raises more concerns because the game was tied at the end of three quarters. Houston was outscored, 34-14, in the final quarter.

Six other teams have also started 0-3, including a trio of Playoff teams from last season, Brooklyn, Milwaukee and New Orleans.

With teams having played just three or four games thus far it’s folly to draw hard and fast conclusions but there are at least reasons to have some initial concerns.

Through the first six days of the NBA schedule road teams have gone 26-19 ATS. What is surprising about this start is road teams have won 24 of the 45 games and have gone 10-4 ATS as favorites.

Often there is value on road teams early in the season as the betting public is slow to adjust to changes from last season and often overvalues the home team. As we see these teams play more and more both the public and the oddsmakers are better able to assess the impact and magnitude of changes from the prior season and those changes are reflected both in the lines and in the betting action.

UNDERS outpaced OVERS 24-19 in the early going with a pair of games ending in totals pushes. Scoring has averaged just below 203 total points per game, slightly more than the 200 total points per game that was averaged during the 2014-15 regular season.

Here’s a look at three games to be played over this weekend.

Atlanta Hawks at New Orleans Magic (Fri.): New Orleans has started 0-3 with two of the losses to defending champion Golden State. New Orleans will have the best player on the court, Anthony Davis, but Atlanta has more balance and depth. Each team won and covered in their two games last season. In a competitively priced game we like the hosts. N. ORLEANS.

Memphis Grizzlies at Utah Jazz (Sat.): Through Sunday both teams had won two straight after dropping their openers. Utah played all three games on the road and, after hosting Portland on Wednesday and playing at Denver the next night, this will be their second of just two home games in their first ten to start the season. Each of Utah’s first three games has stayed UNDER the Total, all three staying UNDER by double digits. Memphis has played an OVER, an UNDER and a push. UNDER.

Detroit Pistons at Portland Trail Blazers (Sun.): Detroit has opened the season 3-0 both SU and ATS with all wins against teams projected to finish the season with winning records. After opening its season with a home win over New Orleans, which had lost at Golden State a night earlier, Portland lost its next two games in a home-and-home series with Phoenix, both by double digits. The Blazers are in transition with four new starters to complement Damian Lillard and are projected to win just 26.5 games after winning 51 last season. DETROIT.

Andy Iskoe, and his Logical Approach, provides his popular and unique handicapping statistics to GamingToday readers and online visitors. He has been a long time GT columnist, contributing weekly in- season columns on baseball, pro basketball and pro football. Email: [email protected]