NBA Betting Picks: Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets

NBA Betting Picks:  Oklahoma City Thunder at Houston Rockets

The Oklahoma City Thunder will be without point guard Russell Westbrook for the rest of the playoffs which puts a serious kink in their plans to return to the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat. The good news, however, is that they’ve got the Houston Rockets on the ropes and hold a 3-0 lead in the best of 7 series. Since it is well known that no NBA team has ever come back from an 0-3 deficit to win a best of 7 series that makes it psychologically very difficult for a team to get ‘up’ to extend a series when they fall into this hole.

To underscore the dire significance of going down 0-3 in a best of 7 series we can look at the performance of the Rockets in Game 3. They fell behind early in the game but came roaring back in the second half to take the lead before the Thunder salvaged the victory. In our view, that suggests that the Rockets put up their best effort in what may have very well been their ‘last stand’–and it wasn’t enough. Now they face the grim reality of their situation and the realization that they’ll have to overcome a very good Oklahoma City team and the weight of history to advance.

There’s a lot of situational data that also points to the Thunder here. They’ve been excellent as a pointspread play this season going 47-30 against the spread as a favorite and 26-16 ATS against opponents with winning records. Houston has shown a tendency this season that they don’t bounce back well from disappointment–coming off an upset loss as a favorite this season the Rockets are 5-12 ATS. In addition they’re 3-7 ATS after three or more consecutive straight up losses.

Houston gave it a good shot in Game 3 and were in a position that they could have made this an entirely different series had they won. They would have cut the deficit to 2-1 with another game at home and a Thunder team without Westbrook. Instead, they’re facing elimination and there’s little to suggest that OKC wants to take this series back home for a Game 5. Houston expended too much in Game 3 and will be easy pickings for Kevin Durant and the Thunder here.