NBA Betting: Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder

NBA Betting:  Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder

The NBA playoffs continues tonight as the defending Western Conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder hosts the Houston Rockets. Houston is led by former Thunder standout James Harden and last season’s NY area media darling Jeremy Lin but despite this star power they sure didn’t look like they had anything for OKC in the first game. In that contest the Thunder were never seriously tested and went on to win and cover easily. Linesmakers have adjusted the game 2 pointspread upwards making the Thunder an 11.5 point home favorite with a total of 213.

Houston caught some fortuitous breaks to even make the playoffs and had they played better down the stretch would have even escaped the dreaded #8 seed. Instead they lost 4 of their last 6 regular season contests going 1-5 against the spread in the process. Even before this late season swoon they weren’t a good wagering investment–they went 5-13 against the spread in their final 18 games. Oklahoma City, on the other hand, looked good in the stretch run–no doubt motivated by the fact that the San Antonio Spurs were nipping at their heels for the best record in the Western Conference. OKC won 13 of their last 18 games though were just 9-9 against the number. Of course the Thunder are a definite ‘public’ team and are never overlooked by the linesmakers or betting marketplace so they’ve got to deal with unfavorable prices pretty much every time they take the court.

The Thunder had little problem dealing with Houston in their recent head to head matchups. Oklahoma City has won 8 of the last 12 matchups with the Rockets going 7-5 against the pointspread. At home they’ve been even better winning and covering 5 of the last 6 against Houston. This price range–as a home favorite of -9.5 to -12 points–is also one of the Thunders’ best situational categories. Oklahoma City went 13-4 against the spread during the regular season when priced in this range and were generally a strong home team overall posting a 35-7 SU/28-14 ATS record against the spread on their home floor. It’s always tough to lay big numbers in the NBA and particularly in the playoffs but there’s little to suggest that Houston can compete with the Thunder and particularly in a hostile venue.