There have been little surprises in the Western Conference side of the NBA Playoffs bracket. As we head into the conference finals, we have the No. 1 Houston Rockets taking on the No. 2 Golden State Warriors – the defending NBA title holders.
To some, the Western Conference finals are the default championship series since these two squads have been heads and shoulders above the rest of the Association all season. There will be a massive amount of betting action on these games, so if you’re looking for the best free sports betting picks, pay attention to the notes listed below:
Plenty of rest
With the Eastern Conference finals still being sorted out, the Western Conference contests don’t get underway until Monday, May 14. That gives both the Warriors and Rockets plenty of time to lick their wounds and heal up before butting heads.
The break absolutely favors the Dubs, with stars Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant still feeling the effects of late-season injuries. The Rockets are relatively healthy for this time of the year.
As for how these clubs deal with extended breaks in action, Houston finished 18-5 SU and 10-13 ATS when coming off a break of two or more days. Golden State, on the other hand, showed some rust – in terms of covering the spread – with a 16-7 SU mark but went just 7-16 against the spread off an extended break.
NBA bettors should take the season series results with a grain of salt. Houston edged Golden State 2-1 SU and ATS in three clashes during the regular season, but one of those games was on opening night of the 2017-18 campaign and the two most recent meetings were played in January.
The Rockets were underdogs in all three games, including 2.5-point home pups to the Dubs on January 20. Houston won that game 116-108, staying Under the 237.5-point total. These teams combined for a 2-1 Over/Under mark in their matchups this season, with all three totals pegged at 230 points or higher.
We have two of the top offenses in the NBA butting heads in the Western Conference finals. The Warriors have a surplus of scoring options, with Curry, Durant, and Thompson possessing the ability to drop 40 or more on any given night.
The Rockets’ scoring is fueled by James Harden, who’s averaging 28.5 points during the postseason – more than two points less than his regular season output. Behind Harden, Houston looks to Chris Paul, who is putting up just under 22 points in the postseason, and has a handful of contributors that can pitch in with double-figure efforts.
The Rockets, while shooting and making a massive amount of 3-pointers, don’t play that quick a pace and have been one of the better defensive clubs. Houston is allowing just 100.1 points against in the playoffs and has split Over/Under results at 5-5 O/U so far. It went 24-37-1 O/U versus conference foes this season – staying Under almost 61 percent of the time.
Golden State is also giving total bettors something to think about, leaning to the Under in its recent postseason tilts. The Warriors have stayed Under the number in five of their last seven games, after starting the postseason with a 2-0-1 Over/Under count. They’re allowing 101.6 points against per game but went 33-28-1 O/U (54% Overs) versus Western opponents this year.
Playing the pointspread
The spread for Game 1 of the Western Conference finals finally sees Houston as a favorite hosting Golden State, opening at -2. The Rockets faced some lofty spreads at home this season, leading to a 19-25-1 ATS count. So far in the playoffs, Houston is 3-3 ATS inside the Toyota Center.
Golden State is a rare underdog, a spot it’s been in only six times this season and just 28 times since the 2014-15 NBA schedule. The Dubs are 13-15 SU and ATS in that stretch, but just 1-5 ATS when getting the points this season. The Warriors have won all but one of their 15 Game 1 matchups in that time period, with an 8-6 ATS mark in those games.