Matchup: Houston Rockets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Game 1
Date/Time: April 21st, 9:30 pm ET
Basketball Odds from BetDSI
Point Spread: Thunder -10
G James Harden is back! He is going to be guiding his Houston Rockets into NBA betting action against the team that traded him in the offseason, the Oklahoma City Thunder. Game 1 is the final game of the opening weekend of the playoffs, and it tips on Sunday night at 9:30 p.m. ET.
Of course, part of the problem that the Rockets have is that Harden is just about all that they are bringing to the table. Granted, we know that Harden is one of the best pure scorers in the game nowadays. He averaged 25.9 points, 5.8 assists, and 4.9 boards per game this year, but he also turned the ball over 3.8 times per game. There are a lot of other relatively impressive stats from an offensive standpoint for the Rockets as well, but we just don’t buy that a lot of these players are all that great. C Omer Asik averages 10.1 points and 11.7 boards per game, while G Jeremy Lin is good for 13.4 points and 6.1 assists per night. F Chandler Parsons had a great start to the season, but he cooled down quite a bit at the end of the season and finished with 15.5 points per game. Still, can anyone play defense on this roster? The Rockets ranked third to last in the league this year in total defense at 102.5 points per game, and it is clear that they are going to need to be better defensively to have any chance in this series.
Do the Thunder have the best team in the Western Conference this year? They might, but even if they do, they aren’t necessarily as good of a team as they were last year. It is clear that without Harden, a bona fide third scorer off of the bench is missing. G Kevin Martin is a good imitation, but he isn’t James Harden by any stretch of the imagination. The real encouraging improvement this year was F Serge Ibaka. Ibaka averaged 13.2 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 3.0 blocks per game, and though his final numbers weren’t quite as good as he had at the start of the year, he clearly made some tremendous strides in the right direction. F Kevin Durant and G Russell Westbrook are averaging over 51 points per game between them though, and it is clear that they are going to have to be stopped if anyone is going to challenge this outfit.
The winning team in this series has put up 120+ points in all three games this season. Yes, it is the playoffs, and yes, scores should be coming down just a bit, but in the end, this first game of this series should still be up and down the court. Oklahoma City will get into the 110s or so and post a blowout. Don’t be shocked if this is the consummate favorite/over game. Oklahoma City 116 – Houston 101
is a staff writer living in the Orlando area. He has covered NFL, MLB, college football, CFL, AFL, NBA, college basketball, NASCAR, golf, tennis, and the NHL for a number of various outlets in his career, and he has been published by a number of different media outlets, including the Orlando Sentinel and the Wall Street Journal.