Golden State Warriors vs. Houston Rockets Pick
Golden State Warriors (64-29 SU, 39-53-1 ATS) vs. Houston Rockets (59-33 SU, 47-42-3 ATS)
When: Friday, May 10th, 2019 – 9:00 PM ET
Where: Toyota Center – Houston, TX
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: GS +7 / HOU -7
Power Rankings: Houston -6
Takeaways from Game Five
Game Five was another robust and competitive contest as the Warriors defeated the Rockets by a score of 104-99. Our own Matt Lowry got the win with the +6. Though the Rockets fell behind in the series 3-2, they managed to foster their third consecutive cover in this series.
How the Public is Betting Game Six
The Rockets opened as a five-point favorite but very quickly that line has shot up two points to the present number of Houston as a seven-point favorite. On the flipside, 67% of the betting public like the Warriors here with the enhanced points.
The Historical / Betting Trends
Over the span of this series alone, the Warriors have been a liability as they have gone 1-4 ATS. In Over/Under markets, the Under has produced an 18-7-1 ATS record in the last 26 meetings.
The biggest story line and likely the prime mover of this market initially was the breaking news that Warriors Forward Kevin Durant will be out for the remainder of the series with a strained calf. KD’s name speaks for itself as many regard him as the best player in the NBA at the moment. Losing Durant for the remainder of the series is a significant blow to Golden State’s prospects of making it out alive. After all, KD led the way for Golden State in terms of scoring as he produced 33.2 points per game against the Rockets over the span of the series.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
These two teams met just two days ago. For both teams at this point the premise is simple. The Warriors advance to the Western Conference Finals with a win. Contrarily, the Rockets force Game Seven in Oakland on Sunday should they take advantage of the Durant injury and even the series.
Can The Splash Brothers Carry The Warriors To The Western Conference Finals?
Losing Kevin Durant creates a void that is irreplaceable. However, Golden State was able to find ways to score in his absence. The Splash Brothers of Guards Klay Thompson and Stephen Curry led the way as they combined for 52 points. The duo also procured six assists and 10 rebounds. Draymond Green also produced a double-double where he was able to generate 11 assists and 12 rebounds. This was key as KD also averaged 6.4 rebounds per game and 5.9 assists per contest on the year. The weight of Game Six will fall on the three aforementioned men’s shoulders but that will not be overwhelming by any stretch as they have been playing in high-stakes games at an elite level for the last five years. Golden State will focus on a key advantage they honed in Game Five to get the win: their perimeter play. The Warriors outshot the Rockets from beyond the arc by a margin of 35.1% to 29.3% and will look to replicate this success in Game Six to produce an upset.
Can Houston Hone Home Court To Punch Ticket To Game Seven?
The Houston Rockets have not lost a game yet at home throughout the playoffs. As a whole, Houston was a dominant force at home throughout the regular season as they finished 31-10 SU in “Clutch City”. Overall, the Rockets outscore opponents on average by margin of 7.8 points (6th in the NBA). Over their 5-0 SU run at home in the playoffs, Houston has outscored the opposition on average by 13.6 points. The Rockets will lean on their home court presence combined with featuring the game’s premier offensive weapon James Harden to get the job done in Game Six. Against the Warriors, Harden has been marvelous averaging 34.8 points per game.
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Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Golden State +7
Let me begin by saying I thought this series was going the distance even before KD got nicked up. In terms of the Western Conference, Houston is the only team in my opinion that truly matches up well with the Warriors on any night in any location. The Rockets have already proved that over the course of the regular season and they have here as well in the Western Conference Semifinals. I have the full vested belief that “Clutch City” will get behind the Rockets and fuel them to a Game Six victory. The question now is the points Houston takers are asked to spot. As a general rule of thumb that I have adhered to as a handicapper, when I see betting sites move the line beyond 1.5 points or more in a certain direction, I am inclined to go the other way because the value is enhanced on taking the team that benefits from said line move. In this case, that would be the Warriors who as mentioned moved from a five-point to seven-point underdog. Much of this can be chalked up to no one knowing how this Warriors team is going to play without KD for a full game and that mystery in itself has lowered the stock of this outfit to a season low. After all, the W’s odds to win the championship are at the best price they have been all season after the KD injury was revealed.
While I do think Durant could easily be the best player in the NBA, I think his absence has caused a bit of an overreaction. After all, the Warriors still have Curry, Thompson, Iguodala, and Green on the court and they were the foundation of a basketball team that broke a single-season NBA record in 2016 when they won 73 games. They did this without KD. Houston will get the win but Golden State will still make it very difficult for them to do so. I’m taking the Warriors at +7.