Warriors vs. Rockets Game 3 Betting Preview: Will Houston Get Back in This Series?

Warriors vs. Rockets Game 3 Betting Preview: Will Houston Get Back in This Series? article feature image

Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Houston Rockets guard Chris Paul (3), Golden State Warriors guards Klay Thompson (11) and Stephen Curry (30).

Game 3 Betting Odds: Golden State Warriors at Houston Rockets

  • Spread: Rockets -3.5
  • Over/Under: 221.5
  • Time: 8:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: ABC
  • Series Score: Warriors Lead 2-0

>> All odds as of Friday night. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

No NBA team has ever lost a series when leading 3-0. Thus, the Rockets find themselves in an essential must-win Game 3 at home.

Will they rally to get back in this series? Our analysts dive into all the angles.

Betting Trends to Know

This is just the eighth game under Steve Kerr that the Warriors have been underdogs in the playoffs. In the previous seven games, Golden State went 4-3 straight up and against the spread. Twice the Warriors were dogs to the Rockets in last year’s playoff series, with the teams splitting those matchups.John Ewing

Did you know? The Warriors have a 2-0 lead in this series. In the Kerr era, Golden State is 11-1 in playoff series after winning the first two games. The loss came in the 2016 Finals when the team blew a 3-1 lead to LeBron. –Ewing

In the Bet Labs database since 2005, 66 different coaches have been at the helm for a Game 3. Of those head coaches, the least profitable is Mike D’Antoni at 6-11 ATS (35.3%), failing to cover the spread by 6.0 points per game. Evan Abrams

All the talk around the Rockets-Warriors playoff series from a bettor’s point of view has been the over/under, especially with 12 points scored in 22 seconds in Game 2 to bring the game over the total.

In the 19 playoff meetings between the Rockets and Warriors since 2014, the first-half under is 13-5-1 (72.2%), including 8-1 over the last two years, going under the total by 8.9 points per game. — Abrams

Locky: How I’m Betting Game 3

Should I talk about how much I like the under again or has that been enough torture for everyone in this series? Yeesh.

I would be very hesitant about taking a standard approach to handicapping this game. Standard would mean viewing the game as a must-win for the Rockets, and that they will therefore have supreme motivation and cover easily.

There’s sort of a lot going on here, starting with the fact that the spread is identifying the teams as equal on a neutral court in this game — or Houston even being slightly better, depending on how much home-court advantage you give them. That seems incorrect.

It can be easy to see Houston getting back on track here, but in reality the Warriors haven’t had a great game yet from Stephen Curry or Klay Thompson. Their points in the first two games, in no particular order: 18, 13, 20, 21.

Credit: Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson (11), guard Stephen Curry (30).

Neither player has had a game so far in which they’ve shot 50% or better from the field. So for everyone thinking James Harden’s eyes will be much better, I would anticipate Curry’s and Thompson’s ankles are feeling a little better as well, and they are capable of reaching a much higher ceiling than we’ve seen thus far.

The room Golden State has left to ascend to makes me weary of ever taking Houston here, especially considering how familiar the Warriors are with all the wrinkles of the Rockets’ offense from the past nine games (over two seasons).

I am passing on the game but would consider playing the Warriors moneyline at something like +150 to +155 if it ever got there. They’re the better team, and the 2-0 “back against the wall” game is generally overrated. — Ken Barkley

Mears: Get Back on the Under Train

Man, that Game 2 under was one of the worst beats I’ve ever had. In case you missed it, the under looked sure to cash — and then these teams combined for 12 points in the last 22 seconds. I’m still having nightmares.

But I’m going to brush myself off and get back on the train. All the reasons for liking the unders between these two teams still exists, as I detailed in a comprehensive piece here.

Put simply: The public is almost always on the overs between these teams because of the reputation of their offenses. The Warriors and Rockets have literally historically good offenses. How can you bet an under when they play each other?

But first, that doesn’t include how good these defenses are, especially in a playoff setting. And secondly, and most importantly, these numbers in the 220s just don’t properly account for the slow pace of these games. In this series so far, the Rockets are playing 87.9% of their possessions in the halfcourt — far above their regular season mark.

That’s the case with the Warriors, too, who don’t mind going isolation-heavy, especially with Kevin Durant so incredibly hot right now. Even if he makes shots — and he makes a ton of them — these possessions just aren’t going quickly. In the piece linked above, I detailed how many possessions for each team were ending by different stages of the shot clock. These teams often take things down to the wire.

Given the projected number of possessions in this game — Game 2, which went over, still had a low number of possessions — these teams would have to have essentially zero drop-off in efficiency from the regular season. In this series, against these defenses, that’s just unrealistic.

As we saw, overs will still hit — and sometimes in devastating fashion. There’s no denying the offensive talent on these rosters. But I think the sharp side is still on the unders, and I’ll personally keep betting them. 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.

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