NBA Primetime Preview – Rockets v Blazers

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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.

Currently 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.

Portland 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.

Head to Head

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.

Houston is 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.

The Blazers 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.

The Rockets 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

Total

As 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

Rockets Over 122 $1.92
Rockets Under 122 $1.92

Player Performance

The Rockets, 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 last week.

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.

Westbrook put up a handy 28-points during November’s game, while Lillard struggled with only 13.

The Rockets 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

Futures

To Win the Western Conference

  • Houston Rockets – $8.00
  • Portland Trail Blazers – $41.00

To Win the NBA Championship

  • Houston Rockets – $13.00
  • Portland Trail Blazers – $101
Tips, recommendations and commentary are for entertainment only. We provide no warranty about accuracy or completeness. You should make your own assessment before placing a bet.