Houston Rockets (56-14) at Portland Trailblazers (44-26)
Our hot streak continued last night! We have now gone on a three-week tear that has seen us win 85% of our NBA picks. The game gets easier down the stretch as some teams make big pushes for the playoffs while other squads are firmly focused on next year.
It is our job to recognize what a team’s intentions are and exploit it for value. Last night we backed the Miami Heat at home against the Denver Nuggets. The Nuggets have been an absolute garbage can fire of a team on the road this year, and they came up short once again last night.
Now, this game was actually very competitive and ended up in double overtime before it was all said and done. Eventually, the Heat pulled away in the second overtime, winning 149-141, and covering the -2-point number.
We ran a little good in this spot as this game was very tight all night long, but you had to know that when it came down to crunch time that this Denver team would find a way to blow it on the road, and they did just that.
Today I break down the matchup between the two of the best teams in the Western Conference when the Houston Rockets travel to Portland to play the Blazers.
The Houston Rockets travel to Portland, Oregon to play the red-hot Blazers. The Rockets have been plowing through the NBA at a near-record pace. They have won twenty-two of their last twenty-three games. They look to stay hot against a Portland team that is equally as hot.
The Blazers have won thirteen straight and fifteen out of sixteen. Something has to give tonight! The Rockets are -5-point road favorites. The game total over-under is set at 216.5 points. Tipoff is scheduled for 7:30 PM PST from the Moda Center.
The Houston Rockets are the NBA’s best team. The Golden State Warriors and the Toronto Raptors might have something to say about that, but right now, the Rockets are playing on another level. When James Harden and Chris Paul are both healthy, and on the floor this season, the Rockets just don’t lose very often.
That being said, it was shocking to see this number open so high and it is a testament to just how good the Rockets have been this year. That they can be -5-point road favorites against a team that has won thirteen straight games, like the Portland Trailblazers.
I wasn’t much of a believer in the Blazers this year. McCollum and Lillard are obviously great pieces, but I didn’t think they had enough depth to go around them to truly compete for the NBA title this season. And even after this crazy hot streak that has seen them go from out of the playoffs in the Western Conference to a top three seed, I am still not convinced.
It’s not that I am hating on Portland, I just don’t think they have a realistic chance to beat either Golden State or Houston in a seven-game series. The rest of the west is very closely bunched so you might be able to convince me they are the third best team, but a legit title contender? As Lee Corso likes to say, not so fast!
I have bet against the Houston Rockets a total of one time in the last month. They had won seventeen straight games but were forced to play against an on-fire Toronto Raptors team on their home court. They were road favorites.
It didn’t make any sense to me that Houston would be favorites on the road, against a team playing so well at the time. So, I backed the Raptors, and the long Houston winning streak came to an end as the Raptors won outright.
The Rockets have won five straight games since snapping that seventeen-game streak and are now falling into a very similar situation as before. They are playing a Portland team that is playing its best basketball of the year right now and is one of the best home teams in the league. Sounds familiar right?
Houston is the better team, and I think they win the NBA title this year. But for this one game? I am shocked to see them as favorites. And not only favorites, big favorites! They are laying -5-points on the road tonight against a team that is close to being a lock for the three seed in their own conference. It just doesn’t feel right to me.
Will Houston figure out a way to win this game? Probably. They are really good at winning games. But by taking the five points I don’t need the Blazers to win, I just need them not to get blown out at home. You always have to be very careful when you are betting against a team that is as good as the Houston Rockets are this year, but they are going to lose games at some point. And this number feels like the Rockets hype train has gone a little off the rails.
I am backing the home team tonight. They have won thirteen straight games, and I know they will be pumped up for this game. I expect a playoff type atmosphere in Portland and would be shocked if this isn’t a one or two-possession game.
Give me the Portland Trailblazers +5 points tonight at home!