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Houston Rockets vs. Charlotte Bobcats - 10/30/13

Charlotte Bobcats (21-61) at Houston Rockets (45-37)

NBA Basketball: Wednesday, October 30, 2013 at 8:00 pm (Toyota Center)

The Line: Houston Rockets -12 -- Over/Under: 204.5 See the Latest Odds

TV:

Dwight Howard makes his official Rocket debut as Houston plays host to the Charlotte Bobcats to open the new NBA season.

Head to head, the Bobcats are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings and 0-5 ATS in the last 5 meetings in Houston while the home team is 7-1 ATS in the last 8 meetings and the favorite is 12-3-1 ATS in the last 16 meetings.

Houston Rockets vs. Charlotte Bobcats - 10/30/13

USA TODAY Sports

After years of trying to acquire that franchise changing talent, the Houston Rockets struck gold for the second time in the space of a year after they managed to lure Dwight Howard away from Los Angeles, making them instant title contenders. Howard will now join forces with last season’s breakout star in James Harden, who was acquired via trade just days prior to the season starting. Harden, who lead this young Houston squad to 45 wins and a postseason berth in his first season as a Rocket, will team up with Howard to make one of the deadliest one-two combinations in the league. In fact, in a recent NBA GM survey, both Harden and Howard topped the charts at their respective positions of shooting guard and center.

While the Charlotte Hornets were never in the running for a player like Howard, they did have their most successful offseason since their inception into the league in 2004 after signing big man Al Jefferson to a three year, $41 million contract. It was a significant signing for the ailing franchise, who often struggled to lure any type of marquee free agent in the past. In Jefferson, Charlotte finally has the post presence that they have craved over the years and he should be able to open things up for the likes of Kemba Walker and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist. As good as the signing was for Charlotte, it remains to be seen what long term ramifications come of it as they might have just played themselves out of a top five pick in this upcoming draft.

I know it’s only preseason, but Houston looked awesome in their seven exhibition games. They lost their first game against New Orleans by a single point, but then proceed to win their next six by an average of 12 points per game. While the Bobcats also had a good preseason, I don’t think they can keep up with the fast paced Rockets squad. I flirted with taking Charlotte and the points here, but I’m going to take my chances with James Harden and company…

Follow me on Twitter @Dan_SCP

Houston -12

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