Thursday NBA Playoffs Odds, Betting Picks & Prediction for Lakers vs. Rockets Game 4 (Sept. 10)

Thursday NBA Playoffs Odds, Betting Picks & Prediction for Lakers vs. Rockets Game 4 (Sept. 10) article feature image
Credit:

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images. Pictured: Rajon Rondo (9) and James Harden (13).

Lakers vs. Rockets Betting Odds

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Lakers Odds -5 [BET NOW]
Rockets Odds +5 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -210/+170 [BET NOW]
Over/Under 220.5 [BET NOW]
Time Thursday, 7 p.m. ET
TV TNT

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LeBron James’ superstar performance in Game 3 helped the Los Angeles Lakers secure the win and take a 2-1 series lead over the Houston Rockets in the NBA Western Conference semifinals.

The Lakers opened as five-point favorites for Game 4 with a game total of 220.5. After two consecutive fourth quarter scoring droughts, can the Rockets right the ship?


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LA Lakers 

LeBron James put on a MVP-caliber performance in Game 3, carrying the Lakers with 29 first-half points. He finished with 36 points, seven rebounds, six assists, four blocks, and one steal while shooting 4-for-9 from behind the arc. James wasn’t the only Laker to show up: Anthony Davis added 26 points, 15 rebounds and six assists.

LA’s decision play Anthony Davis at center continues to be the series-changing adjustment. JaVale McGee played the first seven minutes of the game, then didn’t see the floor again, and Dwight Howard has played just 11 minutes this entire series.

The Lakers have outworked the Rockets on the boards 52-to-33 and collected 27.3% of their offensive rebounds without a true center on the floor. LA’s small-ball lineup has given LeBron James and Anthony Davis better offensive spacing and improved the team’s ability to defend Houston’s 3-point shooters.

The Lakers bench outscored the Rockets’ reserves 42-16, due in large part to the stellar play of Rajon Rondo, who has proven that “Playoff Rondo” is a genuine phenomenon.

During one sequence in particular, Rondo nailed back-to-back 3-pointers, then stole the ball for a layup in consecutive possessions. That stellar three-possession momentum-booster carried the Lakers to the finish line during their 17-5 fourth quarter run.



Houston Rockets

For the second straight game, the Houston Rockets shot 40% from 3 and suffered a devastating fourth quarter collapse in a losing effort. As we’ve seen throughout the entire NBA playoffs, favorable 3-point variance isn’t a given. Failing to maximize on hot shooting nights can be the difference between winning and losing a series.

The Rockets’ greatest advantage has been Houston’s ability overwhelm the Lakers with 3-point volume. In Game 3, Los Angeles used a 1-2-2 zone to eliminate 3-point opportunities, resulting in Houston’s fewest 3-point attempts (30) of the entire postseason. Can Mike D’Antoni find an adjustment?

Houston’s stars did everything necessary to win: James Harden and Russell Westbrook combined for 63 points, 15 assists and 17 rebounds. However, the Lakers bench outdueled the Rockets’ reserves for the second game in a row.

Without Daniel House in the lineup, Mike D’Antoni deployed an eight-player rotation. Jeff Green was the only Rockets reserve to score (he finished with 16 points), while Austin Rivers and Ben McClemore were each held scoreless.

It’s clear that the Rockets need someone to step up.

Betting Analysis & Pick

Oddsmakers can’t adjust the total in this series enough. Check out how the pace (number of possessions) has slowed down in each successive game: 

  • Game 1:  97.7
  • Game 2: 95.3
  • Game 3: 89.5

The Rockets shot 62% in the first half of Game 3 and made 40% of their 3s, and the game still went under the closing total of 222 by eight points.

Coming into this series, I believed that the Rockets would wear down eventually. Houston is a small-ball team that doesn’t play a deep bench. Furthermore, the Rockets were coming off a seven-game series to face a bigger team with LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

They’re also heavily reliant on James Harden to score and create everything. So, it’s not particularly surprising to see the Rockets have fourth quarter scoring droughts in each of the last two games.

Based on playoff numbers, my model projects a total of 216 for Game 4. Take the under.

Pick: Under 220.5

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