Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder
NBA Game 6 Betting Preview
Facing the brink of elimination on Monday night, the Oklahoma City Thunder are dead to rights against the upstart Houston Rockets, who rolled in Game 5 and need just one more victory to clinch the first-round playoff series between these two teams.
Bettors have their eyes set on a make-or-break game for the Thunder, but will Oklahoma City overcome the insurmountable onslaught of Russell Westbrook and James Harden, or will the high-flying scoring duo prove too much to withstand?
We can’t predict the future, but we can arm you, as a bettor, with the best angles to cash your tickets.
Here’s why the series is over, and the total will stay lower than most might ponder.
Reality Setting In
After back-to-back victories, one of which came as the result of a choked-away lead in Game 4, the Thunder are continuing to roll. Chris Paul, the veteran point guard with an unstoppable midrange pull-up and ultra-high basketball IQ, has been a one-man army.
He’s single-handedly helped the Thunder sustain their scoring pressure game to game, even with the return of Russell Westbrook.
However, the Thunder are incredibly limited offensively and could be a liability to bettors looking for free sports picks. Dennis Schrӧder and Steven Adams, while decent, mid-level players in the league, are supplementary pieces. Adams is a stalwart rebounder and big body in the paint with reliable hands and toughness, but his limited post-game and inability to stretch the floor limit the sets that can run through him.
Schrӧder is a sneaky-strong finisher at the rim and is able to kick the pace to another notch in transition, but his unreliable jumper means defenses can shrink the floor. NBA bettors need to know this. It forces the Thunder to outmatch the nonstop scoring output of Harden, who single-handedly matched Schrӧder and Adams for scoring in Game 5.
Sure, it’s not fair to compare a pure scorer who has the green light on every possession to two role players, but the point is, there is no “value” betting a team like the Thunder every single game.
In spots, sure, they were able to out-edge the Rockets, but Game 5 served as a reality check. The Rockets are a better team, plain and simple, and contrary to popular belief, the value has been on the Rockets all series.
Good Value, Good Night
The Rockets are 5.5-point chalk, and both teams are working with a 225.5 point total, which is, of course, expected to fluctuate as we get closer to tip-off, likely in the upper direction.
If you’re looking to bet this game, the best play is the Rockets on the spread. In what has been a hard-fought series, it’s time for it to end.
Game 5 showed that the Thunder are simply a lackluster team that has overachieved in a few games where the Rockets let their foot off the gas and simply let ultra-close finishes slip away.
The return of Westbrook means a slight two- to 2.5-point bump to the line at preferred bookmakers, but this is a line that should be set upwards of 7.5 to eight points pregame and could go as high as double digits in later quarters as the deficit increases.
The play: The total is a no-play, but we like the Rockets -5.5 to close the series and send the Thunder home fishing.