NBA Betting: Houston to push the Lakers

The game of the day is between the Los Angeles Lakers and Houston Rockets, a battle of two teams with identical 4-5 records, but almost certainly heading in different directions.

The Lakers, who have abandoned the Princeton offence for new coach Mike D'Antonio's up-tempo system, looked more comfortable in Friday's win over Phoenix. Houston, after opening up with two great wins, have lost five of their last seven, and are missing absent coach Kevin McHale.

On paper, the home team Lakers should compound the Rockets' woes and are 1.30 to win. But bedding in a new coach and playing system during a season is never easy, and with Houston a high-scoring team as well, there's always a chance of a Rockets win (3.45). It could be a close game though, so definitely worth consideration is Houston  with a +7 handicap, available at 1.91.

Also out west, Portland Trailblazers host Chicago Bulls this evening but with the Bulls coming off a big loss at LA Clippers and the Trailblazers starting to improve, Portland to beat Chicago at 1.90 is a decent bet.

It's that time of year when you get a good idea of how your team's season will go and the same goes for the players. Although the MVP award is not handed out for a few months, it's a good time to see who's playing well. While Lebron James (2.10) and Kevin Durant (3.50) are the favourites to pick up the award, it's worth looking at some of those with longer odds.

If the LA Clippers continue to enjoy a strong season, expect the odds on Chris Paul (15.00) and Blake Griffin (125.0) to drop as those two are key to the side's success. Someone else to consider is Boston's Rajon Rondo, who is more important to the Celtics than ever before. A great passer, the best point-guard rebounder and with a jump shot that's improving, 18.50 for Rondo to win the MVP is worth consideration.

Bet of the day: Houston Rockets over LA Lakers with +7 handicap (1.91).