Thunder vs. Rockets Game 5 Betting Odds, Picks & Predictions (Wednesday, August 26)

Credit:

Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Danuel House Jr.

  • Check out our NBA Playoffs betting preview for Wednesday's pivotal Game 5 matchup between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Houston Rockets.
  • After winning by double-digits in Games 1 and 2, Houston squandered second-half leads in Games 3 and 4, and OKC has tied the series at two wins apiece.
  • Read on for Raheem Palmer's complete matchup breakdown, including odds, picks and predictions for Game 5 between the Thunder and Rockets.

Editors note: The NBA has postponed all NBA playoff games for Aug. 26 after several teams decided to boycott.

Thunder vs. Rockets Betting Odds

Thunder Odds +3 [BET NOW]
Rockets Odds +3 [BET NOW]
Moneyline -158/+134  [BET NOW]
Over/Under +223.5 [BET NOW]
Time 6:40 p.m. ET
TV TNT

Odds as of Tuesday at 11:30 p.m. ET and via DraftKings. Get up to a $1,000 sign-up bonus at DraftKings today or see more offers and reviews for the best online sportsbooks.


Don’t call it a comeback!

After starting the third quarter 8-for 8-from 3-point range and opening up a 15-point lead, the Houston Rockets looked poised to go up 3-1 and put the Oklahoma City Thunder on the brink of elimination.

But with fewer than four minutes remaining in the quarter, Oklahoma City rallied with a run of its own and cut the Rockets’ lead to one point entering the fourth quarter. Then Houston went cold, shooting 4-for-19 from behind the arc down the stretch, and the Thunder held on to win 117-114.

Now the series is tied 2-2, and the Rockets face a pivotal Game 5 without Russell Westbrook, who has missed the entire series with a quad injury. After two straight blown second-half leads from the Rockets, have the Oklahoma City Thunder figured them out? What can we expect for Game 5?


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Oklahoma City Thunder

Billy Donovan and the Oklahoma City Thunder have finally adjusted to the Rockets’ small-ball lineups and realized they can beat them at their own game.

Despite Oklahoma City’s size advantage, Steven Adams has been all but unplayable in this series. As we discussed in the Game 3 breakdown, the Thunder have been outscored by 13.4 points per 100 possessions with Adams on the floor, and they’re only scoring .992 points per possession. After averaging 30 minutes per game in Games 1 to 3, Adams played a series-low 26 minutes in Game 4 and only played 2 minutes and 30 seconds in the fourth quarter.

Although the Thunder are aren’t playing small-ball the entire game, their lineup with Chris Paul, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Dennis Schroder, Lu Dort and Danilo Gallinari has worked wonders for their offense. With all the newly-found spacing without Adams on the court, Rockets defenders can’t consistently stay in front of the Thunder guards when they’re going downhill — especially without rim protection from Clint Capela,

OKC is getting whatever it wants on offense. Dennis Schroder, Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander scored 30, 26 and 18 points respectively, which illustrates the Rockets’ struggles to defend them over the past two games.  With Lu Dort providing solid defense on Harden and the Thunder’s guards getting to the rim at will, OKC has given themselves a fighting chance to win this series.

Houston Rockets

It goes without saying that the NBA is a make-or-miss league. However, no team is defined by 3-point variance as much as the Houston Rockets.

When the Rockets started the second half going 8-for-8 from 3, it seemed like they would  cruise to a win to take a 3-1 lead in this series. But much like Game 7 of the 2018 Western Conference Finals — in which the Rockets missed 27 straight 3s — variance turned against them.

Houston shot 5-for-26 the rest of the game including 4-for-19 in the fourth quarter — and one of those made 3s was Daniel House’s heave at the buzzer. The Rockets finished with 35 missed 3-pointers, which is the fourth-highest mark in playoff history. While the Rockets’ high-variance style makes them a dark horse contender, it’s also what kills them when variance isn’t on their side. Live by the 3; die by the 3.

This is where the Rockets miss Russell Westbrook. Although the on/off numbers suggest that Westbrook’s absence is of negligible consequence, there’a a lot to be said about having a balanced attack. Westbrook enables Houston to get easy baskets in transition, which is something the Rockets haven’t done well during their losses. Houston scored 15 combined fast break points in Games 1 and 2; the Rockets have only scored seven over the past two games.

In addition, Houston has not gotten to the free throw line as frequently as it normally does. The Rockets only shot 10 team free throws in Game 4, which is lower than what Harden averages for the season (11.8). If the Rockets hope to win this series, they have to rely on more than just 3-point variance to be on their side.

Betting Analysis

This has become a tricky series to handicap. It seems like the Oklahoma City Thunder have figured out the Rockets with their small-ball lineup. However, the results for Games 3 and 4 were decided by a Rockets inbounds turnover with 24 seconds left and 3-point variance gone wrong. For those reasons, I see no reason to play a side. My numbers make this game Rockets -3.25 so I don’t see much value against the spread.

Oklahoma City has made strides offensively. If the Thunder continue to go small, then they should continue score efficiently. Game 4 was played at a pace of about 100 possessions, and I expect a similarly high pace in Game 5. I expect Houston to make a more concerted effort to get to the foul line, and if the Rockets shoot a normal percentage from 3, then I think this goes over the total.

The Pick: Over 223.5 (DraftKings)

[Bet Thunder-Rockets now at DraftKings and get a $1,000 sign-up bonus.]

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