Rockets look to take a 2-0 lead in the first round series with the Mavericks, capitalising fully on home court advantage before hitting the road to Dallas. Here's our betting preview, with NBA picks.
Houston Rockets To Victory
The hosts took full advantage of home court advantage in Saturday's 118-110 win over the Dallas Mavericks. The series favourites at the start of the first round are now an impressive -450 favourites to win the series, up from -280 NBA odds going into game 1. That's a hefty ascent in NBA betting outlook.
The win was a complete team effort. James Harden had 24 points on the night along with six other teammates that put up double-digit figures. Former Mavericks Corey Browser and Jason Terry conspired against their old team, put up 15 points and16 points, respectively. Meanwhile, Dwight Howard finished with 11 points, five rebounds and five blocks.
Rockets will look to bank another win at home when they take on the Mavericks on Tuesday, an NBA pick currently trading at -230 on the NBA betting board. They are 16-4 SU and 14-6 ATS in their last 20 home games and a healthy 5-1 SU and ATS against the Mavericks in their last six meetings at home.
Dallas Mavericks Dig Deep
The Dallas Mavericks came up short in Saturday's 118-110 loss to the Rockets. Dirk Nowitzki made his presence felt on the court as he put up 24 points on 10-of-14 shooting, but his efforts weren't enough to stave off the inevitable defeat.
Key injuries and a porous defense were partly responsible for the outcome of game 1. Down the stretch, the Mavs defense appeared to be struggling, giving up 107.3 points per possession in the last 15 games of the season. Those woes spilled forth into the postseason, as evinced by Browser and Terry, both of whom parted the Mavs defense all too easily and often.
That said offensive contribution could have been better by the Mavs. Monta Ellis enjoyed an unmemorable performance for the most part. He put up 16 points and four assists in 39 minutes of play., a touch shy of his average of 19 points. Former Rocket Chandler Parsons, meanwhile, had 10 points and six rebounds on the night.
NBA Betting Verdict
The Dallas Mavericks and Houston Rockets are meeting for the third time in the postseason, first time since the Mavs won the series back in 2005. The Houston Rockets are one up on their in-state rivals, but the job is far from done in the best-of-seven series. And they know it only too well.
The Rockets enter as the firm -230 NBA favorites to win outright in straight up betting markets and they are the 5.5-point home chalk. It's always a bit optimistic to expect any team or individual player to repeat successes exactly. Put this way, it's unlikely that the Rockets will get as big a contribution from as many players as they did in game 1. Still, they should eke out the victory handily again and cover the reasonable spread. The Rockets finished 21-13-0 ATS on the season as home favorites with a 7-point margin of victory on average. Dallas Mavericks went 20-22-0 ATS as road team and just 7-15-0 ATS as road underdogs with an minus 8-point margin of defeat.
NBA Picks: Rockets -230 & -5.5 to cover at BetOnline