Saturday NBA Odds, Picks, Predictions: Warriors vs. Rockets Betting Preview (May 1)
Jordan Johnson/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors high fives Juan Toscano-Anderson #95
- Coming off an upset win over the Bucks, the Rockets go for another dub against the Warriors.
- Here's a breakdown of where the betting value lies and whether you should back lowly Houston.
Warriors vs. Rockets Odds
|Moneyline||-360 / +285|
|Time||Saturday, 6:30 p.m. ET|
|Odds as of Saturday and via DraftKings|
Just three years ago, the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets met in the Western Conference Finals, and the Rockets were one historically cold 27-misses-in-a-row streak from upsetting the vaunted Ws and making the Finals. That series included James Harden, Chris Paul, Kevin Durant, and Klay Thompson.
None of those players will feature here, and both these teams have fallen hard. The Rockets are tanking in a huge way, while the Warriors are trying desperately to win and stay in the race for that final play-in spot. I’m not sure which one is sadder, but this game is on TV so let’s see if we can find an angle.
Golden State Warriors
The Warriors are 31-32 on the season, and it feels like it. There’s a reason Golden State is barely hanging on to the fringe of the playoff race. It’s because the Warriors aren’t very good.
Stephen Curry is transcendent. This is a season for the ages and one we’ll always remember, but his teammates have been hot garbage. In case you forgot just how bad the Warriors were without Steph, remember that one year ago, they were basically these Rockets.
Still, just Curry alone has been enough to keep the Warriors relevant. It’s worth noting that the Warriors are an ugly 1-7 without Steph, which means they’re a respectable 30-25 with Curry. That’s a 45-win pace in a normal season, more than enough to put them safely in the playoffs most years.
Not surprisingly, the Warriors have been really good when Curry is awesome and very blah when he is not. When Steph scores more than 30 points, the Warriors are 19-10. When he doesn’t, they’re only 11-15, even with him in the lineup. This team just doesn’t have much offense outside of Curry.
They turn it over a lot and are abysmal rebounding so it’s basically just Steph super-manning this team into mediocrity, which is its own kind of MVP I suppose.
Even as great as Steph has been, the Warriors still rank just 21st in Offensive Efficiency, per Basketball Reference, and dead last with Curry off the floor. The Ws have won their games with defense. They’re eighth in Defensive Efficiency and especially great at 2-point percentage on D. One major hitch though? Draymond Green is questionable with a shoulder injury, though Steve Kerr sounded optimistic that Green will play.
The Warriors are already missing Eric Paschall, Damion Lee, and James Wiseman, and Kelly Oubre is questionable too. It’s bad that those names matter, but it’ll be even worse if Draymond Green is out. Green may not fill up the box score, but Curry is not the same player without him.
Make sure you find out if Draymond is playing before placing your bet.
The Rockets are 16-47 and even worse than that looks. Houston ranks bottom five in the NBA in Net Rating, Offensive Efficiency, Defensive Efficiency, and most other metrics you come up with. The Rockets rank dead last in the NBA in 3-point percentage and dead last in 2-pointers allowed. They’re not good on offense or defense or anything else really, other than tanking.
Don’t forget, the Rockets started out kind of decent. They had Harden for awhile and then won some games without him in some sort of post-Beard honeymoon, starting the season 10-10. Translation: the Houston Rockets are 6-37 since Feb. 3. That’s an 11.4-win pace over a full season. Only three modern teams have played at a worse win rate over a full regular season. EVER.
Of course, Houston did win its last game, thanks to an explosion by Kevin Porter Jr. KPJ put up 50 points and 11 assists, including nine 3s and nine free throws. Anytime he does that again, Houston will be in good shape. But the Rockets are still without John Wall, Eric Gordon, Danuel House, D.J. Augustin, Sterling Brown, David Nwaba, James Harden, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Steve Francis, Tracy McGrady, Yao Ming, Clyde Drexler, and almost any other Rocket you’ve heard of.
Hakeem Olajuwon ain’t walking through that door. And if he did, the Rockets would probably start him. Instead, they’ll roll out Jae’Sean Tate, Armoni Bates, D.J. Wilson, and Kenyon Martin Jr. playing serious NBA minutes.
The Rockets will almost certainly lose. They’re actively trying to lose. They’re incentivized to lose, so they can keep their draft pick. The question is really just by how much.
Remember, the Warriors aren’t very good either. They have one super duper star and one elite role player who elevates their MVP. Make sure Draymond Green is playing before you bet on the Warriors, or who knows what might happen in this game?
If Draymond and Steph are playing, it might be tempting to just grab the Warriors moneyline at -315 and get out of there with the win.
But remember how the Rockets are 6-37 since Feb. 3? A whopping 27 of those 37 losses have come by double digits. The Rockets almost always lose, and when they do lose, they get crushed.
I don’t feel great laying 7.5 points against anyone with this year’s Warriors team, but the Rockets are so abysmal that I’ve got to do it, as long as Steph and Draymond are playing. Once you see Green is active, fire away.
Pick: Warriors -7.5 as long as Draymond Green plays
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