25 Feb

2024 NBA picks, Feb. 22 best bets from proven computer model

The New Orleans Pelicans (33-22) will aim for their fourth straight victory when they host the Houston Rockets (24-30) on Thursday night. New Orleans won seven of its final eight games before the All-Star break, including a 133-126 win against Washington last Wednesday. Houston has lost five of its last six games, falling to Memphis on the road its last time out. The Pelicans picked up a 110-99 win against the Rockets when these teams met at the end of January.

Tipoff is set for 8 p.m. ET on Thursday at the Smoothie King Center. The Pelicans are favored by 7 points in the latest Pelicans vs. Rockets odds, while the over/under is 229 points via SportsLine consensus. Before entering any Rockets vs. Pelicans picks, you’ll want to see the NBA predictions from the model at SportsLine.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times and has returned well over $10,000 in profit for $100 players on its top-rated NBA picks over the past five-plus seasons. The model enters Week 18 of the 2023-24 NBA season on a sizzling 60-36 roll on all top-rated NBA picks this season, returning nearly $2,300. Anyone following it has seen huge returns.

The model has set its sights on Houston-New Orleans. You can head to SportsLine to see its picks. Here are several NBA betting lines for the game:

Pelicans vs. Rockets spread: Pelicans -7
Pelicans vs. Rockets over/under: 229 points
Pelicans vs. Rockets money line: Pelicans: -281, Rockets: +230
Pelicans vs. Rockets picks: See picks here
Why the Pelicans can cover
New Orleans is in excellent form right now, having won seven of its last eight games to move into sixth place in the Western Conference. The Pelicans picked up road wins against the Clippers, Trail Blazers and Grizzlies during that stretch before beating Washington at home last Wednesday. Zion Williamson scored a team-high 36 points on 15 of 21 shooting, while CJ McCollum had 26 points.

They started their current hot streak with a 110-99 win at Houston on Jan. 31, which also started Houston’s current rough patch. Jonas Valanciunas had 25 points and 14 rebounds in that game, while Brandon Ingram also posted a double-double with 24 points and 10 rebounds. New Orleans has covered the spread in five of its last six home games against Houston.

Why the Rockets can cover
Houston lost to New Orleans in the most recent meeting, but it won two matchups against the Pelicans earlier this season. The Rockets were 3-point home favorites in their 104-101 win in November and were 7.5-point road underdogs in their 106-104 win in December. They are only 3.5 games back of the final play-in tournament spot, so motivation should not be an issue in this game.

The All-Star break was well timed for Houston, as it gave third-leading scorer Fred VanVleet time to recover from an adductor strain. He is averaging 16.5 points per game, and he is going to be back on the court after missing five games. Cam Whitmore, who is also in double figures with 11.9 points per game, is going to return from a three-game injury absence of his own. See which team to pick here.

How to make Pelicans vs. Rockets picks
The model has simulated Rockets vs. Pelicans 10,000 times and the results are in. We can tell you that the model is leaning Under, and it’s also generated a point-spread pick that is hitting in well over 60% of simulations. You can only see the pick at SportsLine.

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