It’s a battle of surging Western Conference teams down in the Sooner State. The Houston Rockets are on the road as they take on the Oklahoma City Thunder Thursday night. Houston is coming in off a 98-94 road win over the Pacers Monday night. Oklahoma City kept rolling as they turned back Cleveland 95-86 on the road Wednesday night. The Thunder holds a 109-107 advantage in the all-time regular season series and took two of three meetings last season. That includes a 108-102 road win in the last matchup on April 7.
Houston Rockets Seek Fourth Straight Win
Houston picked up a third straight win since starting the year 1-5 as they took down the Pacers in a defensive struggle on the road. The Rockets try to get back to the .500 mark on the year with a win here. Houston trailed by six after three quarters before outscoring Indiana 29-19 in the fourth quarter to earn the win. The Rockets shot 44.2 percent from the field and drained 15 of 47 three point attempts in the contest. Houston turned the ball over 16 times yet found a way to prevail. James Harden led the Rockets with 28 points and six assists in the win. Houston is 3-2 ATS while the over is 3-2 on the road this season entering Friday.
— Houston Rockets (@HoustonRockets) November 6, 2018
The Rockets are struggling offensively so far this season: they are 25th in the league with 105.3 points per game. Houston is 25th in rebounding with 42 boards per game and 26th with 21.3 assists a night. The Rockets are 18th in scoring defense as they allowed 110.1 points per game. James Harden leads the team with 27.8 points per game while grabbing five boards and dishing out 8.2 assists a night. He missed four games with a hamstring injury before returning against the Bulls. Eric Gordon puts up 15 points per contest while Clint Capela averages 15.6 points plus 11.3 rebounds a night. PJ Tucker and Carmelo Anthony (14.7 points) are key secondary option on the wing this season. Nene Hilario, Gerald Green, James Ennis III, Michael Carter-Williams and Chris Paul (17.7 points, 9.3 assists, two steals) are key pieces in the rotation as well. Nene had a setback in his recovery from a calf strain and is out another couple of weeks. The Rockets are 30th in the league in field goal percentage, shooting 42.4 percent as a team. Houston was 2nd in the league with 14 threes a night while the team is 24th by shooting 33.4 percent from long range this season.
Oklahoma City Thunder Seek Lucky Seven
Oklahoma City has won six in a row after starting the year 0-4 as they took down Cleveland. The Thunder tries to make it seven consecutive wins as they return home for the second game of a back to back. Oklahoma City jumped to an eight-point halftime lead and withstood Cleveland’s attempts to rally in the contest. The Thunder shot just 41.7 percent from the field, hit seven of 27 from three point range and went 18 of 26 from the charity stripe. Oklahoma City held Cleveland to 37.1 percent from the field and forced 19 turnovers. Dennis Schroder, filling in for the injured Russell Westbrook, had 28 points and seven boards to lead the Thunder in the win. The Thunder is 2-3 ATS at home this season with the over going 4-1 in those contests.
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) November 8, 2018
The Thunder is slightly above average offensively this season as they are 11th with an average of 111.4 points per game. Oklahoma City is 12th in the league in rebounding with 46.1 boards per contest. The Thunder is 23rd in assists with 22.4 per game. Oklahoma City is 10th in the league in scoring defense as they allowed 108.8 points a night. Russell Westbrook is leading the team as he puts up 24.1 points, 8.3 rebounds, 8.9 assists and 2.14 steals per game. Paul George adds 22.2 points plus 6.7 boards and 2.56 steals a contest in his second year with the team and Steven Adams chips in 13.4 points plus 10.6 boards a night while Dennis Schroder adds 16.7 points and 5.0 assists per game. Jerian Grant, Corey Brewer, Terrance Ferguson, Andre Roberson, Raymond Felton, Alex Abrines and Patrick Patterson have to make their presence known on both ends. Westbrook sprained his ankle against the Pelicans and missed the game against Cleveland: he is expected to be re-evaluated Thursday. Roberson is still out until at least December after rupturing his patellar tendon on January 27. Oklahoma City is 20th in the league in field goal percentage as the team shoots 44.6 percent from the floor. The Thunder is tied for 26th with 9.1 made threes per game and stand 30th in three-point shooting at 29.6 percent.
- Thunder are 2-5 ATS in their last 7 Thursday games
- Thunder are 1-4 ATS in their last 5 home games vs. a team with a winning road record
- Rockets are 6-2 ATS in their last 8 road games vs. a team with a winning home record
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Oklahoma City has won six in a row but they’re going to be a tired team here as they play the second game of a back to back set. This also marks their third game in four nights and will force the Thunder to really test their resolve. Westbrook’s status is unclear at this point given that he will be evaluated Thursday. Houston has won three straight and seems to have gotten back on track after a slow start. The Rockets have two days off in their pocket and that rest helps them get the win in this contest.
Prediction: Houston Rockets -4.5
Full-Game Total Pick
Both teams have shown an increased penchant for defense during their win streaks. The Rockets shut down Indiana and Chicago in their last two games. Meanwhile, the Thunder has given up 111 points or less in five of the six games in their win streak: they allowed 116 in their game against the Pelicans Monday. With the talent on both sides, you’d think that points would be coming by the bucket but that hasn’t been the case. Can either team put together a big offensive showing or will this one be a defensive struggle?
The under is 6-0 in the Rockets’ last six on Thursday, 4-1 in their last five against Northwest Division opponents and 4-1 in their last five against teams with a winning straight up record. Oklahoma City has seen the under go 4-0 in their last four on Thursday and 4-1 in their last five against teams with a losing record. The teams have stayed under the total in four of the last five meetings and 11-4 in their last 15 meetings in Oklahoma City. This one is a defensive struggle, especially with the Thunder a little gassed in this one.
Prediction: Under 214.5
Half-Time Side Pick
Houston has the advantage of having had two days of rest ahead of this game. Meanwhile, Oklahoma City is playing their second game of a back to back and their third game in four nights in this contest. The Thunder is going to have to find a way to get things going without Westbrook as they had long stretches without much in the way of offense against the lowly Cavaliers. Houston is rested and that helps some of their walking wounded like Harden. Look for the Rockets to own the edge at the half in this contest.
Prediction: Houston Rockets -1.5 (-110)
Half-Time Total Bet
We’ve seen a lot more defense in the last few games by these teams. Houston hasn’t broken the century mark in their last two games but they have kept the opposition to 88 and 94 points, respectively, in those contests. Oklahoma City stifled the Cavaliers, limiting them to just 86 points, which helped overshadow their offensive woes. Given the way that the teams have clamped down in the last couple of games, this one falls under the number at the half as well.
Prediction: Under 108 (-110)