Each conference’s 1-seeds try to eliminate its first-round foes as part of a Game 5 NBA triple-feature Wednesday. The Milwaukee Bucks look to close out the Orlando Magic and the Los Angeles Lakers are hoping to put a Damian Lillard-less Portland Trail Blazers in its rear-view.
But we’re going to hone in on the tied Oklahoma City Thunder-Houston Rockets series.
Thunder-Rockets Under 225.5 points (-110)
The major factor of this wager might throw some off originally. Russell Westbrook has been upgraded to “questionable” ahead of Game 5 in Thunder-Rockets and I think that actually hurts Houston’s offense.
Westbrook is a two-time scoring champion, former MVP and future Hall of Famer, so you don’t naturally equate worse offense with his presence. However, Houston’s offensive efficiency drops 2.4 points with Westbrook on the court.
Since Westbrook is a bonafide superstar, wouldn’t it be expected Houston might force him into a gameplan or call specific plays for him? I think it does. But more Westbrook means less role players.
The role players are connecting on 3’s in this series and are a big reason why the Rockets are tied 2-2. Here is the order of the top 3-point shooters for Houston thus far in this series: 1-Jeff Green (.481%), 2-P.J. Tucker (.440%), 3-Ben McLemore (.412%), 4-Robert Covington (.400%), 5-Danuel House (.393%) and 6-James Harden (.327%).
The Under cashed in two of three regular-season meetings between the Thunder and the Rockets (Westbook played in all three). The two games that went Under, Westbrook had 32 and 34 points. Furthermore, Houston’s defensive efficiency improves by two points with Westbrook on the court.
Westbrook likes to use his explosiveness early in possessions to create fastbreak chances, but the Thunder rank first in opponent’s fastbreak points per game. If OKC can force Houston to play more half-court offense, there will be fewer possessions in the game, hence less scoring. That fits what the Thunder like to do anyways since they are ranked 22nd in pace.
Also, OKC defends what Houston does well: Getting to the foul line and 3-point shooting. The Thunder rank third in opponent’s free throw rate and second in opponent’s 3-point %.
TAKE UNDER 225.5 (-110). New to sports betting? A $110 wager on Under 225.5 (-110) pays a $100 profit if the total of Thunder-Rockets falls short of 225 combined points.
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