Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Apr. 8:
25-26-1 ATS, 0-4 ML (minus-9.35 units), 33-20 Totals
Houston (53-28 SU, 40-38-3 ATS) at Oklahoma City (47-33 SU, 40-40 ATS)
Tuesday, 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Free NBA Pick: Rockets ATS
Best Line Offered: 5Dimes
It’s been a lot of fun working with the Oklahoma City Thunder this year. We’ve had the chance to look at Oklahoma City 15 times this year, and we’ve gone 9-6 with our NBA picks thus far, including Sunday’s glorious 132-126 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves. Glorious because we recommended the Wolves, who closed as 6.5-point favorites.
Once more unto the breach. The Thunder will host the Houston Rockets on Tuesday, and there’s a little something at stake for both teams: playoff seeding in the Western Conference. It’s not much, but it should help keep this game looking as much as possible like a normal regular-season game – even if we don’t have any NBA odds yet as we go to press. What’s the hold-up?
Give It A Rest
We’re not sure, to be honest. It might be because the Thunder are playing the first of back-to-back games to wrap up the regular season; maybe they’ll not worry about seeding so much and give Paul George (plus-5.5 BPM) a chance to rest his weary shoulders. I’m sure Russell Westbrook (plus-6.4 BPM) could use some load management, too. Otherwise, Oklahoma City are mostly healthy heading into Game 81.
For the Rockets, Tuesday will be their regular-season finale, and they’ve got zero players on the injured list. A win here gives them a chance to vault ahead of the Denver Nuggets for second in the West, and more importantly, have home-court advantage over Denver should they meet later on in the playoffs. We’ll take our chances that Houston will use their full lineup against the Thunder, but it’s possible they’ll rest James Harden (plus-11.8 BPM) and anyone else they see fit, so see who comes out for the morning shoot-around before risking any money on this matchup.
What If All Their Shots Were Threes?
Provided they don’t punt this game, the Rockets are a pretty easy choice. They’re 6-0 SU and ATS over their last six, and they just keep getting better; on Sunday, Houston broke their own record for made 3-pointers in a game, shooting 27-for-57 (!) in a 149-113 romp over the Phoenix Suns (+18.5 away (!!)).
The Thunder weren’t built to stop this kind of assault. They’re in the middle of the NBA rankings when it comes to perimeter defense, allowing opponents to hit 35.7 percent of their 3-point attempts. George (plus-0.7 DBPM) isn’t a bad defender by any means, but he’s not the incredible two-way player people insist he is – especially with those bad shoulders. Hey, you need a rest, fella! Take advantage of his condition while you can, and may the sphere be with you.