The Houston Rockets head into Chase Center on Thursday night to face the Golden State Warriors, surprisingly the last time these two played Golden State beat Houston 116-104. On Thursday, James Harden and Co. will look to even up their 1-2 record against Golden State this season, while the Warriors will look to remain resilient against the Rockets.
Houston is coming off a big win against the Boston Celtics just before the All-Star break; now that everyone is well-rested, Houston can make a final push before the playoffs are underway.
Golden State went into the break on a four-game losing streak, although playoffs are out of the question, Steve Kerr won’t allow his team to lie down just yet, and a big win against a Western Conference rival could boost morale.
There’s a fairly large spread in this one with the Rockets coming in as 9.5-point favorites, so who should we take in this one?
Tough year for former champions
It goes without saying that Golden State isn’t having the season they had hoped for. Over the offseason, they lost Kevin Durant to the Brooklyn Nets, and, along with losing Klay Thompson and Steph Curry to injury, it seems like the Warriors are fighting an uphill battle. Even with the Warriors sitting at the bottom of the Western Conference, spirits have remained high, and with Curry and Thompson returning next season, the Warriors have plenty to look forward to in the future.
Although down key players Golden State was able to best Houston in their last meeting, beating the Rockets 116-104 after a stellar performance from Damion Lee. If Draymond Green and Damion Lee can have a repeat showing of their previous match against Houston, I wouldn’t rule out a Warriors upset.
With an overall ATS record of 27-27-1, the Warriors are essentially riding the .500 fence. They are, however, under .500 at home, which is of some concern. They’ve gone 5-5 ATS in their last 10 games, which doesn’t really allow bettors to lean one way or another.
Consistency will be key for Houston
If you’re ever looking for a phrase to define the Houston Rockets, “consistently, inconsistent” would be accurate. Before their win against the Boston Celtics before the All-Star break, they lost two straight games, first against the Phoenix Suns, followed by the Utah Jazz.
With the NBA playoffs just around the corner, Houston needs to get a run going to build momentum. The Rockets are chock-full of talent, with Russell Westbrook and Harden leading the team in scoring, it’s hard to figure out how they’ve lost 20 games.
What the Rockets do well is offense, ranking second in the league and averaging 118.2 PPG, with an offense like this you’d think they’d be able to easily handle a team like the Warriors. This is where the Rockets inconsistency worries me. They frequently have these uncharacteristic games where they are shut down by teams like the Warriors and Suns.
Relying on them to cover a 9.5-point spread is hard to do when you can’t even be sure they’ll win. Against the spread, the Rockets are under .500, adding more doubt to their ability to cover the spread in this match.
Pick and Prediction
This is a risky pick. Golden State could potentially be overwhelmed by Houston’s offense early on and find it hard to rally back against them. With that being said, betting is about consistency, and consistency is something that is severely lacking in Houston.
Expect Steve Kerr’s Warriors to come out swinging in this one and catch Houston off guard. Warriors, +9.5.