Jordan’s NBA Picks: 69-53 (Playoffs 15-15)
Golden State (63-27 SU & 39-50 ATS) at Houston (57-32 SU & 44-42 ATS)
Saturday, 8:30 PM EST, ABC
Free NBA Pick: 1H Under
Best Line Offered: Just Bet
We got rocked by some hot shooting in the Bucks and Celtics Game 3, but that might not be the case in Game 3 of this series. The Rockets’ defense has been impressive even in defeat in Games 1 and 2, and when playing at home against the Jazz in the first round, the Rockets turned into a different team.
Rockets’ Home Cooking
Whether or not the Rockets are able to slow down the Warriors at home is a different question, but so far through two games in Golden State, the Rockets have a defensive rating of 113.5, which isn’t terrible considering the Clippers were giving up about 130 points per 100 possessions in their series against the defending champs.
Houston held the Jazz to 93.7 points per 100 possessions in the first round when playing in Houston, so while there is little to no change of that happening in this game in Houston, it’s worth noting because now the task is finding the middle ground where the Warriors will fall into for this game offensively.
I doubt the Rockets’ defense at home, with their backs against the wall and in a must win game will give up nearly 114 points per 100 possessions. My guess is it’s somewhere in between that and 100, so if that’s the case and the Warriors’ defense shows up on the road, the under is a fine value assuming it doesn’t keep dropping.
The Sharp Pick
After opening at 222, the total for this one has dipped all the way down to 220 ½. I even tried to grab it at 221 but I was a few seconds too late. So, with some of the opening odds value bet out of this one, can we expect the same value from a total down 1.5 points since it opened?
I think the answer is to make a small under play on the full game line, but as those have been increasingly sharp over the last week or two, the first half line that’s sitting at 111 to 112 at most shops seems better at this point.
The Warriors were very good on the road defensively in the first half against the Clippers, holding them to 101.3 points per 100 possessions in the first two quarters. We’ve already touched on how good the Rockets were in the full game in their first round series, but they got even better in the first halves, holding the Jazz to 87.8 points per 100 possessions.
While both of those teams are inferior Houston and Golden State, it gives us a floor to work with that makes 112 points seem a little high for a must-win game for the home team. I think the Warriors will still be able to score, but it might take until the second half before that happens.