The Clippers & Rockets are going the distance. Game 7 is on the books and it promises a right battle to advance into the Western Conference finals. Join us for this preview, complete with NBA picks.
Los Angeles Clippers Favoured
Another round. Another game 7. The Clippers aren't making it easy, neither for themselves nor for their fans in the NBA Playoffs. In the first round, the Clippers ousted the defending champions San Antonio Spurs in a sensational game 7 showdown. Now, they are faced with a similar prospect against the Houston Rockets. Can they do it two times in a row, or is it just one game too many for the Clippers in this series?
Fact: two attempts to close the series were left begging with the Clippers failing to finish the job. In Game 5, while up 3-1 over the Rockets, the Clippers failed to clinch the series despite going into the game as the road faves, matched at -150 NBA odds to win outright and on 3-points to the good in spread betting. Actually, "failed" is putting it mildly when the Rockets actually decimated them 124-103.
In game 6, while still in the lead 3-2 and with home advantage to boot, the Clippers allowed another opportunity to slip through their fingers. Once again, they were favoured to clinch the series on the night. This time though they were the massive -440 favourites on the NBA odds board at close of doors and the whopping 8.5-point home chalk in spread betting. Yet, for the second game in a row, the Rockets rose to the occasion and crushed the Clippers 119-107, doing so on the road to come through as the +370 road underdogs for their backers.
In spite of twice coming up short in back-to-back attempts to close out the series, odds makers see it fit to send the Clippers into a deciding game 7 as the favourites to win outright, not least of which it's on the road. The Clippers are priced at -130 to win outright and as the 2-point road faves against the spread. Is this just blatant optimism?
Rockets Have Momentum
After a sluggish start to their Western Conference Semi-final campaign, one that could be described as a "failure to launch," the Rockets looked to be in dire straits and on the verge of ending their playoff bid on a disappointing note. By game 5, they were down 1-3 behind a run of form that was highlighted by back-to-back lacklustre defeats and all but written off on the NBA betting odds. Then, all of a sudden, they righted the ship to win two in a row and level the series 3-3, thereby sending us into a deciding game 7 this weekend.
The last two accounts saw the Rockets will the victory in a fashion previously unseen in this series. In game 5, they rallied to erase a 13-point lead by the Clippers at the start of the fourth quarter and then went on to completely annihilate them on the scoreboard.
In short, the Rockets have taken this series by the scruff of its neck. They've stolen the momentum from the Clippers and go into game 7 with a verve and swagger that could see them clinch the series against the NBA odds. As it is, they are trading as the nominal +110 home underdogs and the 2-point home pups against the spread.
NBA Betting Verdict:
This series is a tale of two teams. The first part was almost all about the Clippers and the second part is overwhelming all about the Rockets. Which side comes up trumps this weekend is anybody's guess.
Clearly, odds makers are cornering the game and the series in the Los Angeles camp, but we're not so sure anymore. We've backed the Clippers twice now to finish the job, but twice they've let us down. Dare we go with another NBA pick on the Clippers? Or is 'Clippers: Take 3' just one too many takes in this playoff drama?
It has to be said that the Rockets deserve a lot of credit. They were one defeat away from a humiliating exit in game 5 but by sheer will power they've managed to level the series against the odds. They'll have home advantage for game 7, which is only going to buoy their hopes with the loyal fans going berserk. Frankly, consider how this series has turned on its head nobody is going to be shocked if the Rockets do pull off the feat at +110 NBA odds.
NBA Prediction: Clippers finally get it done in a hard fought battle in Houston. Take the Clippers to close out the series at -130 NBA odds.
NBA Picks: Clippers -130 to win and to cover -2.0 at BetOnline