A win for Houston
on Thursday could potentially throw the top of the Western Conference into chaos
with the All-Star break creeping up quickly.
sitting fourth, the Rockets find themselves only a game behind the second-place
Nuggets, but a loss could see them fall behind the Clippers into the fifth seed.
also has plenty on the line as they desperately try to find some mid-season
form. The Blazers are floundering with only three wins from seven games to
start the New Year, leaving them at long odds on the road against the Rockets.
This is the first of three very important Conference games this week, so if you’re looking to have a play, be sure to read our Primetime Preview below.
The Blazers hit the road following a two-game homestand that saw them lose both games to the Bucks and Hornets. The good news is Portland heads to Houston with a rest advantage, while the Rockets prepare for their second game of a back-to-back following a quick trip to Memphis on Wednesday.
laying -8.5 for this game, which makes perfect sense considering the Rockets
have won their last four home games by double-digits. Mike D’Antoni’s side also
handed the Blazers a convincing 132-108 defeat when these two teams met back in
November, extending Houston’s winning streak over Portland at home to two.
There are a
handful of teams that play better on no rest, but the Rockets aren’t one of
them. Houston has covered the spread in only two of their five games in this
situation, although it could be argued that Portland’s defence might make life
a little easier on the home side.
have allowed an average of 114 points to opponents away from home and also lead
the league in rebounds allowed. Houston, meanwhile, has averaged the most points
at home this season, so it’s not hard to do the math.
are looking a little battered and bruised right now with Clint Capela, Eric Gordon
and PJ Tucker all nursing injuries. The good news is all three are set to play
against the Grizzlies, while Russell Westbrook received the night off in
Houston to prepare for Thursday’s game.
All signs point towards the Rockets covering here in a game they need to have. It helps to know Houston has won seven of its last 10-games against Portland, so don’t be concerned by the eight-point spread.
Tip: Back the Rockets to Cover the Line (-8.5 Points) @ $1.93
mentioned earlier, the Rockets haven’t been at their best in the second game of
a back-to-back, meaning the Total has gone Under more often than not.
Just quietly, this has actually been one of the safest betting plays all season. In four of the Rockets’ five games, the Total has gone Under on no rest, which could be the case again with a handful of Houston’s top point scorers a little banged up.
Tip: Rockets Under 122.5 Total Points @ $1.96
or more specifically Russell Westbrook, will be hoping for a more well-rounded
performance in this game after choking on the primetime stage against the Thunder
Fortunately, Westbrook shouldn’t be short on motivation as he squares off against his arch-nemesis Damian Lillard. The two have met once already this year, but it’s no secret there is plenty of bad blood following last year’s thrilling Game 5 in the first round of the playoffs.
put up a handy 28-points during November’s game, while Lillard struggled with
defence did a great job holding Lillard to only five made shots, but you might
want to play on the Over on both players this time around. Westbrook is coming
off back-to-back 30-point games over the Thunder and Timberwolves, while
Lillard himself put up 30 against the Hornets on Tuesday.
Tip: Russell Westbrook Over 26.5 Total Points @ $1.91, Damian Lillard Over 25.5 Points @ $1.89
To Win the Western Conference
To Win the NBA Championship
- Houston Rockets – $13.00
- Portland Trail Blazers – $101