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Bet on the NBAOver the past two NBA seasons, the loss of Yao Ming to various foot injuries has been devastating to the Houston Rockets, who have been forced to attempt to plug the hole left by Ming without really knowing when and how much he can play. Houston has fallen apart from a yearly playoffs contender to a team that is just hoping to end the season above .500.

On Monday night, the Sacramento Kings host the Rockets, who are still in the playoff running with their 32-32 record. They are 2.5 games out of the 8th and final spot for the 2011 NBA Playoffs. Thankfully for basketball betting, fans, the Rockets are a strong road team, going 19-14-1 ATS this season, as well as being 17-17 away from home with over-under totals.

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The problem with Houston is not their offense. They can handle the ball and put in points effectively, earning them the No. 3 ranked offense in the league. They are led by Kevin Martin with 23 points per game on average. But their defense has really suffered with the loss of Ming, and they are the 24th ranked team for points allowed. They are just not able to stop teams from getting easy points.

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Sacramento has also experienced a fall from grace recently, and this season has been especially disappointing. They are currently 15-45 straight up, and 25-34-1 ATS. The team is also not a very solid betting value: from February 15-March 5, they were only 3-6 against the spread. Showing a bit more consistency, though, only one of their last nine games has gone under the total.

They are ranked 20th in the NBA for scoring offense, and 21st for scoring defense. Look to DeMarcus Cousins to lead the Kings in scoring tonight, as he is their leading scorer at 13.9 points per game. He also grabs an average of 8.4 rebounds per game.

Houston is the 4.5 point favorites tonight, with the total set at 216. With two teams poor at defense playing each other, you can expect a high-scoring game tonight.


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