Welcome to the Tuesday, April 30 edition of the NBA Best Bets column. Here, I’ll strive to identify one NBA bet for today’s Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets playoff matchup I feel has profit potential at DraftKings Sportsbook, FanDuel Sportsbook, 888 Sportsbook, and BetStars Sportsbook.
Depending on the circumstance, I’ll hone in on moneylines, point spreads, or projected totals. Sometimes I may even touch on multiple metrics. Then, I’ll take you on a fairly deep dive as to why.
Please note we’ll be referencing only legal, regulated sportsbook betting odds and totals here at PlayPicks. A “pick” is a wager that, as of the time of this writing, we feel confident recommending. A “lean” is a wager we favor over the other side. This play could end up on our card with the release of additional information.
Regular-season series results:
- Nov. 15: Rockets 107, Warriors 86 (Toyota Center)
- Jan. 3: Rockets 135, Warriors 134 (OT) (Oracle Arena)
- Feb. 23: Rockets 118, Warriors 112 (Oracle Arena)
- March 13: Warriors 106, Rockets 104 (Toyota Center)
Playoff series results:
- April 28: Warriors 104, Rockets 100 (Oracle Arena)
4/30/19 NBA Betting Pick:
Golden State Warriors (57-25 reg. season, 5-2 postseason) vs. Houston Rockets (53-29 reg. season, 4-2 postseason)
DraftKings Sportsbook Odds: Warriors -6 (o/u: 220.5)
FanDuel Sportsbook Odds: Warriors -5.5 (o/u: 220.5)
888 Sportsbook Odds: Warriors -6 (o/u: 220.5)
BetStars Sportsbook Odds: Warriors -5.5 (o/u: 220.5)
The Rockets and Warriors went down the wire in Game 1 with Houston shamelessly flailing for calls and attacking the refs for justifiably swallowing the whistle on those close plays.
The Rockets aren’t going to change their style, which is to isolate James Harden, Chris Paul, or Eric Gordon, while role players set up for shots or dive to the rim.
After Mike D’Antoni criticized the officiating, there could be more emphasis placed on giving Harden and Paul a space to land when they shoot those contested threes. Yet the refs are still instructed to call those fouls only if it’s an “A-B” foul when the defender jumps into the space of the shooter.
The Warriors seemed to have an effective strategy in place to defend against Houston’s stepbacks, as they held the Rockets to 14-for-47 (.298%) shooting from beyond the arc and Harden (9-for-28) to 32% FG shooting on a 47% usage rate.
Houston managed to compete despite those shooting woes by playing excellent defense.
The Warriors shot an uncharacteristic 7-for-22 (.318%) with Steph Curry going 3-for-10 from deep on Sunday. Kevin Durant struggled early but eventually figured out how to torch P.J. Tucker.
Meanwhile, Clint Capela was rendered a nonfactor by the Warriors savvy interior defense.
The Rockets were able to rebound from a Game 1 loss last year and trounce the Warriors, 127-105, by playing more team-oriented basketball. Granted, Tucker and Gordon shooting a combined 11-for-15 from deep played a big role in them evening the series, but the recipe is there for Houston.
Winning at Oracle Arena is no small task, but the Rockets managed to earn a 95-92 win in Game 4 last year and were in position to win Game 7 if they hadn’t missed 27 consecutive 3-pointers in the loss. Houston won’t lack confidence after winning two more times at Oracle during the regular season and playing the Warriors tight on Sunday.
The Rockets defense really improved during the second half, allowing just 104.8 PPG on 44.4% FG shooting while going 20-5 after the ASB. Houston’s defense, combined with their respective ankle tweaks, might have had something to do with the relatively quiet Game 1 performances from Curry and Klay Thompson.
But both “Splash Brothers” are capable of catching fire at any time and if they do, we could have a blowout win for the Warriors to take a 2-0 lead.
The Final Word
There is certainly a scenario in which the Warriors (-6) pull away for a comfortable win, but there are far more scenarios in which the Rockets push the champs to the brink or manage to even the series with a road win.
This season and postseason, Golden State is 25-35-1 against the spread (ATS) following a win, the third-lowest percentage (41.7%) in the NBA. The Warriors also had the third-lowest cover percentage (38.6%) at home and the Rockets covered in 9 out of 16 games when listed as underdogs on the road.
We’re taking the Rockets (-6 on DraftKings Sportsbook) to cover the spread.
Additionally, only 40% of Warriors home games went over the projected point total, which was also the third-lowest mark in the league.
The Rockets led the NBA with 26 of their 44 road games going under (61.9%)
Despite the point total dropping to 220.5 from 224.5 in Game 1, we’re still leaning towards the Under (220.5 on FanDuel Sportsbook) given the defensive intensity established in this rivalry.
Houston was also 27th in pace this season and often winds down the shot clock before Harden takes a deep jumper. Golden State, which was first or second in pace for several seasons, dropped to 10th in pace this year.
The Pick: Houston (+6) and Under (220.5)