Rockets-Warriors Betting Preview: Will Golden State Cover at Home?

Rockets-Warriors Betting Preview: Will Golden State Cover at Home? article feature image

Photo credit: USA Today Sports. Pictured: James Harden and Stephen Curry

Betting Odds: Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors

  • Spread: Warriors -12
  • Over/Under: 233
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: ABC

>> All odds as of 7:20 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets

Update: James Harden has been ruled out for tonight’s game. For more information, see here.

The Rockets pushed the Warriors harder than any other team since Kevin Durant joined in last season’s playoffs, ultimately falling after Chris Paul went down with an injury. He’s back healthy now, and the Rockets are looking for revenge.

Will they get it tonight in Oracle? Our analysts dive in.

Betting Trends to Know

Did you know? The Rockets entered the regular season with a win total of 56.5 at Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook — the third-highest total behind just the Warriors and Celtics. Houston enters its game Saturday night in Golden State with a 33-25 record. With one more loss, the Rockets will officially go under their win total, the first team to do so this season. — Evan Abrams

The Warriors over the last four years may be on the best stretch in NBA history, winning three titles in four years. They’re currently the 1-seed in the Western Conference entering the final stretch of the year. Over the last two seasons, since winning their first NBA Championship after signing Kevin Durant, the Warriors have the second-best regular season record straight-up, going 100-40 (71.4%).

That said… over that same span, the Dubs are 58-81-1 (41.7%) against-the-spread (ATS); they are tied for the worst ATS win rate in the NBA. They’ve failed to cover their last five games entering tonight’s affair. This reason is likely the high spreads to due public support: Golden State is outscoring its opponents by 6.4 PPG (second in the NBA), but its average spread is 8.1 PPG.

When the Warriors have faced a Western Conference team in this span during the regular season, they are a league-worst 35-53-1 (39.8%) ATS, failing to cover the spread by 2.5 points per game. — Abrams

Since the Rockets signed Chris Paul as a free agent before the start of last season, the Rockets have been an underdog of more than five points with both Paul and James Harden in the lineup only three times. As you might expect, all three games have been against the Warriors in Oracle Arena…

  • May 22, 2018 (WCF): +7.5 at Warriors (W, 95-92)
  • May 20, 2018 (WCF): +7.5 at Warriors (L, 126-85)
  • Oct. 17, 2017 (Opening Night): +9.5 at Warriors (W, 122-121) — Abrams

Golden State opened as eight-point favorites. This season, the Warriors have gone 22-0 straight-up and 14-8 ATS when favored by double digits but 20-16 straight-up and 10-25-1 ATS in all other games. — John Ewing

Moore: Why I’m Betting the Rockets

The Rockets’ switching defense isn’t what it was last year, but it still gives Golden State fits. The Warriors have averaged 7.6 isolation possessions this season, via Synergy Sports. But against Houston, that number has jumped all the way up to 18.5.

The Warriors just always take the path of least resistance for some reason with this team. It’s bizarre. It’s not like the Warriors haven’t seen a switching defense before. It’s not like they don’t have things they can do to counter it and still run their offense. But instead they’re just constantly opting for the kind of offense Houston wants them to run.

It will not surprise you that Kevin Durant is the biggest culprit here, and as such he probably needs to be on the watch for his points prop just out of sheer usage.

For some reason, Durant takes it upon himself to play hero in these situations. The Warriors have averaged 1.023 points per possession this season in halfcourt offense, and just .995 vs. Houston.

The Rockets genuinely have done something to disrupt the Warriors. Will Golden State engage in the high-profile matchup? Will DeMarcus Cousins’ ability to hammer the switch change things?

These are all factors, but with the line this high and the matchup issue, it’s enough for me to grab Houston +8.5.

Mears: How I’m Handicapping Tonight’s Game

Since DeMarcus Cousins joined the Warriors’ rotation on Jan. 18, the defending champs have posted the league’s best point differential, outscoring opponents by 11.9 points per 100 possessions. They’ve gone 11-2 in that stretch and have posted the league’s best offense and fourth-best defense.

And yet, they’ve still been poor bets, going 5-8 ATS. On the year, they’re 24-33-1 ATS; the only team that has lost more money to bettors has been the Phoenix Suns, who have gone 25-35 ATS.

OK, so fade the Warriors and bet on the Rockets?

Well, that doesn’t sound too fun, either. The Rockets are just 26-31-1 ATS this year, including a poor 10-19 on the road. Their starting lineup, which admittedly hasn’t been that healthy this year, has been surprisingly bad, posting a -4.6 Net Rating in 300 minutes together.

In this instance where neither team is particularly appealing on the full-game spread, I’m going back to the well on quarter spreads. Here’s how each team has performed overall by quarter this year, along with their performance at home and on the road:

It’s no surprise that both teams have been at their best in the first quarters, when their best players are on the court and fully rested. There’s probably not a huge edge there, but look at the third quarter splits — particularly with the Warriors at home and the Rockets on the road.

The Dubs’ “Third Quarter of Doom” has long been a thing in the Stephen Curry era, and it’s held true this year. Especially at home, they come out of halftime firing and try to put teams away after mostly skating through the first half.

These teams have played 12 times over the last two seasons — including their playoff series — and the Dubs have gone 9-3 in the third quarter (although they’re 0-2 so far this year). I’ll bet on that longer-term trend of the Dubs playing well after halftime and get my action then instead of betting the full-game spread.

One final note on that 12-game sample, if you’re interested in the full-game over/under: The under has gone 8-4 over the last two seasons between these squads. — Bryan Mears

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.