Houston Rockets vs. Golden State Warriors Series Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
Odds to win series: Warriors -275, Rockets +230
The NBA Western Conference Semifinals will begin at Oracle Arena in Oakland on Sunday, April 28, with the No. 1 seed Golden State Warriors facing the No. 4 seed Houston Rockets. The Rockets are hoping to avenge losing to the Warriors last year in the conference finals in seven games.
The Rockets were without Chris Paul in the final two games of that series, however, which was devastating to Houston. With Paul on the bench, the Rockets could not seem to find any rhythm or cohesiveness. Ultimately, this led to an embarrassing Game 7 in which Houston shot only 15.9 percent from three-point range.
The Rockets defeated the Jazz in five games, and the Warriors had some trouble with the pesky Clippers, finally winning the series in six.
The Warriors were 1-3 SU and ATS vs. the Rockets this year, and the total was 1-3 O/U.
Facts about the Rockets
James Harden is still putting up eye-popping numbers at 27.8 points per game. Paul, Eric Gordon, PJ Tucker and Clint Capela still all play pivotal roles. Many analysts say that even though they lost 12 more games this season than in the 2017-2018 campaign, they are better equipped to beat the Warriors with Paul healthy for the full series and Golden State not playing as well in general.
Houston averages 113.52 points per game while allowing 108.48. They shoot 35.6 percent from downtown. They were 53-29 SU, 40-39-3 ATS and 37-41-3 O/U on the season.
Harden, in particular, has a lot to prove. He is labeled as the guy who can't get it done. Three out of the last four years have seen the Warriors end his chance at the NBA Finals, and we should see max effort from him throughout the series.
Paul has never played in an NBA Finals, and at 33 years old he might not have many more chances. Look for him to rally the troops as this might be their last shot to get revenge against this Warrior squad that might lose some players in the offseason.
Facts about the Warriors
What else is there to say about a team that has won three of the last four titles and gone to four in a row? Nearly impossible with the competitive nature of the league these days. Not just in the NBA but in any sport.
Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have been the Warriors nucleus since their first title in 2015. They were almost eliminated by a fantastic Thunder team in the 2016 Conference Finals. That team was led by Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant. Durant decided after the Oklahoma City's heartbreaking Game 7 loss, that if he couldn't beat them, he would join them. Many people, including myself, NBA players, sportswriters, and fans, felt this was a "punk" move. Not only did he quit on his team, but he left to join the enemy. Nevertheless, it did get him two championship rings so far.
Word on the street is that Durant is gone regardless of the outcome of the Warriors season. Some say he will team up with Kyrie Irving in New York. Some say he may join Kawhi Leonard with the Clippers. Interesting that the Clippers gave the Warriors problems; he's getting a first-hand look at what he might be a part of. I think where he goes depends on wherever Zion Williamson goes. If the Knicks get lucky enough to win the lucky ping-pong ball, we could see Durant, Kyrie, and Zion in the Big Apple.
Andre Iguodala, Kevon Looney, Quinn Cook and Andrew Bogut have all provided support as well. They all pitch in at least five points a game and provide some quality minutes off the bench for Curry and the starters to get some rest.
The Warriors were 57-25 SU, 35-46-1 ATS, and 38-44 O/U on the season.
Losing DeMarcus Cousins was a blow to the Warriors. Speaking of "Boogie" Cousins, he is another guy who I feel simply jumped on the bandwagon for a ring. Honestly, many analysts feel the Warriors are a much better team without him. It opens their offense to what they did best in years past, rather than slow their pace to feed him the ball inside. If the Warriors do indeed win the NBA Finals this year, they will have to do it without DeMarcus as he tore his left quadricep.
Mike D'Antoni wants a ring. He, like his players, have watched the Warriors roll over them time after time in the last three years. He is a fantastic coach that preaches "running" and trying to outscore your opponent by simply playing at a higher tempo. He designed the offense in his early coaching days back in Italy, and many NBA teams today have adapted to his concept.
Steve Kerr came to the Warriors in 2014. He immediately changed the culture of the team and led Golden State to a 67-15 record his first year on the job. He is methodical about adjusting, motivating his players, and getting them to play "D". This is where the Warriors have an advantage is on the defensive side of the ball, and Kerr will exploit that.
Handicapping the series
This will be exciting. I see a back-and-forth type of contest with road upsets. Golden State was terrible in general ATS this year as well as against the Rockets. Houston will be ready, having only needed five games to eliminate the Jazz, whereas the Warriors got in a dog fight with the Clippers. Expect Houston to come out extremely strong the first two games in Oakland. Wouldn't be surprised if they stole a game or won them both.
Rockets in 6
I'm doing it. I'm taking David to finally beat Goliath. Not only that, but in six games. I think the Warriors do not have the same chemistry they had in years past, as evidenced with the Clippers series. That was apparent when Durant and Green got in an altercation on the sideline earlier this year. They all know Durant is leaving, and I think that will work against them here. I think Paul and Harden will give everything they have, and that energy will trickle down to their teammates.
Houston has massive revenge here, and revenge is a dish best served on the basketball court.
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