The Houston Rockets will look to go up 2-0 on the Oklahoma City Thunder as solid home favorites again at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark for Game 2 of their first-round NBA playoff series on Wednesday.
The Rockets are coming off a 118-87 rout of the Thunder in Game 1 on Sunday, covering the spread easily as 7.5-point home favorites behind a game-high 37 points on 13-of-28 shooting from James Harden, who also totaled nine assists and seven rebounds in the winning effort.
Point spread: The Rockets opened as 7.5-point favorites; the total is at 223, according to sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark. (Line updates and matchup report)
Why the Thunder can cover the spread
In the battle of top NBA MVP candidates, Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook really struggled against Harden, making only 6-of-23 shots from the field, including 3-of-11 from three-point range.
Westbrook needs to get his teammates more involved, as he had just seven assists to go along with a team-high 11 rebounds. Andre Roberson and Jerami Grant joined him as the only other Thunder players to score in double figures, and they can definitely improve in that category.
Why the Rockets can cover the spread
Harden seems to be focused on winning his individual matchup with Westbrook by simply earning a victory.
The bottom line is that Harden also has a much better supporting cast around him, as he had four teammates also score in double figures last game, including two off the bench in Nene Hilario and Lou Williams. Houston is the deeper team as well, and that will become a bigger factor late in games and later in the series.
Smart betting pick
Those bettors who follow the Rockets closely know how frustrating they were to wager on prior to the playoffs, going 0-8-1 against the spread in their last nine games.
But the postseason is a totally different animal, changing the mindset of inconsistent teams that paced themselves throughout the grind of the regular season (see the Chicago Bulls).
Houston will not waste this opportunity to blow out Oklahoma City again, improving to 11-3 straight up and 11-2-1 ATS at online sports betting sites in 14 meetings with another easy double-digit win.
NBA betting trends
Oklahoma City is 4-2 ATS in its last six games on the road.
Houston is 1-8-1 ATS in its last 10 games.
The total has gone under in six of Oklahoma City’s last seven games on the road.
All NBA lines and betting trends courtesy of Bleacher Report’s official odds partner, OddsShark. All quotes gathered firsthand unless otherwise noted. Check out Twitter for injury and line-movement updates and the OddsShark YouTube page for picks and analysis, or download the free odds tracker app.