2023 Houston Rockets Predictions with Futures Odds and Expert NBA Picks
The Houston Rockets underwent a dramatic roster overhaul in an attempt to get back to the postseason for the first time since 2020. They are widely expected to improve on their 22 wins from last season and are overflowing with budding young talent. Three straight seasons in the bottom 2 of the West appears to be coming to an end. However, just how high is the ceiling for the Rockets as they come out of their rebuild?
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Houston Rockets Offseason Recap
The Rockets weren’t happy to sit on their high draft picks and wait for talent to develop, so they went ahead and signed proven NBA stars. Fred VanVleet spent 7 seasons in Toronto before joining Houston in free agency. While they had to pay the undrafted All-Star mightily to get him to sign on the dotted line, both parties couldn’t be happier to get the season underway. His $42.8 million per year AAV is the 21st highest in the league, and VanVleet will be tasked with guiding this young group for the next 3 years. He’s been paid for a reason. His ability to distribute the ball was on full display, as he averaged a career high 7.2 Assists last season. While he will certainly pull up from way beyond the arc whenever he sees fit, there is no doubt he will instantly become the leader of this franchise.
Joining VanVleet in free agency is Canadian troublemaker Dillon Brooks. Brooks is known for his antics on and off the court and has been repeatedly suspended over the last few seasons. His tendency to make headlines for the wrong reasons means he comes with extreme risk with this young group, which was one of the reasons the Grizzlies were so happy to give him up. Brooks is a hard worker, who will consistently give you 15 points when he gets his minutes. He’ll be slotting straight into the starting lineup to begin the season. However, if he can’t keep his temper under control, he’ll find himself on the sidelines more often than not.
Jalen Green was used to being the star in Houston, but he’ll have to share the spotlight with 4th overall pick Amen Thompson this year. Thompson was the first Thompson brother to be drafted in the most recent draft and has a very promising career ahead of him. The 6-foot-7 forward can pass the ball like few other big men can, and his size and defensive abilities make him a valuable asset to Houston. It is unlikely he will be starting a majority of the games, but he will certainly make significant impacts off the bench.
Houston Rockets Season Expectations
There is a hovering buzz of optimism from the Rockets faithful. The rebuild appears to be finally coming to a close, but the Rockets are still miles away from competing for an NBA title. This year, the development of their young ballers will be critical, but they also have prioritized winning games with the additions of VanVleet and Brooks. If Green and Alperen Sengun can continue their upward trajectory, the Rockets could suddenly have a very well rounded starting 5. Their win total is set at 31.5 wins, meaning they are still unlikely to be playing meaningful basketball in April. The +800 odds attached to their playoff appearance is quite the longshot, as there are too many variables that have to go right for the Rockets to make a legitimate playoff run. However, if they can stay healthy, a starting unit like there’s with Kevin Porter Jr. and Thompson coming off the bench could make some serious waves in a competitive Western Conference.
Houston Rockets Schedule Breakdown
The Houston Rockets open up their season with road games in Orlando and San Antonio, before enjoying a 6-game home stand. I’m not saying they’ll be starting 8-0, but the Rockets have a very real possibility of racking up some valuable wins early on in the season. Their next lengthy homestand comes over the Christmas season, as they are home from December 24 until January 7. A young group of players will enjoy the time at home, but it comes with a price. A 6-game January road trip immediately following the home stand that features Boston, Miami, New York, and Philadelphia will give them all they can handle.
Houston Rockets Odds
This team is being disrespected by the oddsmakers. The upside for a team that is comprised of young superstars drafted in the last 3 years, a savvy veteran playmaker, and a gritty Dillon Brooks is undeniable. The Bulls, Nets, Jazz, and Raptors are all projected to get 5+ more wins than Houston, and it wouldn’t surprise me to see them outperform all of them. In the in-season tournament, the Rockets are +2200 to win their group featuring the Nuggets, Clippers, Mavericks, and Pelicans, and I can’t argue with that. At the early stage of the season, it’s difficult to imagine the Rockets pulling off 4 straight upsets. However, they are a whopping +800 to make the playoffs, and their win total is set at just 31.5 wins. There is plenty of money to be made on Houston, and it honestly wouldn’t shock me to see them involved in April.
2023-24 Season Predictions
This is one of my bolder picks, but I expect Houston to be participating in the play-in tournament, and possibly make the playoffs. There is no doubt in my mind that the Rockets will exceed expectations in the 2023-24 season, and it just comes down to how we can make the most money off them. Their win total of 31.5 wins is an easy over in my books, but on a season long bet I’d rather be holding a juicier ticket. They are +165 to get 35+ wins, and +470 to get 40+, both of which are intriguing prospects. I expect the Rockets to be right around .500 when the season wraps up, so while the 40+ wins at +570 is a good option, I like their playoff appearance at +800 better. In order to make the tournament, the Rockets will need around 39 wins to qualify. Obviously they could make the tournament and not make the playoffs, but that will give us fantastic hedging opportunities down the line. My official prediction for the Rockets is for them to finish 40-42, securing the 8th seed in the process. Unload the bankroll on 35+ wins at +165 odds and sprinkle a few dollars on the Rockets to qualify for the postseason at +800 odds, as you won’t find a better value line in the NBA futures market.
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