NBA Picks: Can The Warriors & Rockets Jump Over Total With Curry Out?

Jay Pryce

Thursday, April 21, 2016 12:48 PM GMT

Thursday, Apr. 21, 2016 12:48 PM GMT

Rockets-Warriors series moves to Houston for Game 3, the home team desperate for a victory in the first-round matchup. What's the best bet for tonight? Click here for NBA pick and analysis.

Golden State Warriors (75-9 SU, 44-36-4 ATS)
The Steph Curry-less Warriors handled the Rockets with ease in Game 2, winning 115-106 at Oracle Arena. Can they overcome his potential absence on the road in the series? This is the main question bettors must ask themselves headed into Game 3 with the reigning MVP likely a game-time decision.

Curry is dealing with an ankle sprain only, as his MRI returned clean on Tuesday. Most insiders believe the Dubs will take an overly cautious approach with his health, as they expect to advanced past the Rockets and deep into the playoffs.

As we noted in our last preview, Curry is worth a lot of points to the Warrior's current configuration, although the sample size is low. Since Draymond Green, Klay Thompson and the sharpshooter emerged as the team's core at the start of last season, Curry has missed just four games with the other two suiting up.

The Dubs are 3-1 SU and 1-3 ATS in this situation, compiling a negative 1.5 points differential overall. When the three share the court together in this span, Golden State's average scoring margin is 10.9 to the good. Check the betting lines for this game in order to make a proper bet.

Thompson will likely be the Warriors main scoring threat. He dropped 34 last game on eight of 20 shooting from the floor. For what it's worth, Golden State has dropped its last five in a row against the spread when the two-time All Star leads the team in scoring.

 

Houston Rockets (41-43 SU, 36-46-2 ATS)
If the Rockets are going to steal a game in this series, it will likely be tonight. Since 2002, the No. 1 seed owns a 49-7 SU (28-28 ATS) record over the No. 8 seed through the first two contests. The top seed is 12-14 SU (9-17 ATS) in game threes, its first taste of playoff atmosphere away from home. The gap between the Warriors and Rockets is way larger than most matchups,though, but if Curry sits it shrinks.

For what it's worth, Golden State, the No.1 seed in the West last season, swept the Pelicans in the first-round after winning 123-119 in New Orleans game three, though it needed overtime.

James Harden picked up production last time out, following an abysmal Game 1. The four-time All Star netted 28 points with 11 assists on seven of 19 from the floor. Most importantly, Harden found the charity stripe for 15 attempts after zero trips to the line in the opener.

Cutting back on his league-leading giveaways and exploiting the foul line are two key areas Harden must secure to play at his best. And it looks like he needs to perform phenomenally for the Rockets to steal a game in this series.

On the season, when the four-time All Star scored 35 points or more in a game, the Rockets went 14-5 SU and 12-6-1 ATS, 10 times winning outright as the underdog.

Houston tipped off a home underdog just six times this year, going 3-3 SU and ATS; the 'Under' was 5-1. One defeat came against Golden State as a 1-point dog, 112-92, in just the second game of the year. The victories included two wins over the Thunder, and 88-84 Christmas Day shocker over the Spurs.

Final Analysis
Expect a slew of points in this matchup, if Curry plays. Golden State's pace actually quickens by 1.2 possessions per 48 minutes in road games versus those at Quicken Arena, the largest increase of any team in the NBA.

This is likely due to the home team finding more success from the field on their own hardwood. Offense primarily dictates the flow, and the Warriors welcome teams to try and outscore them.

Harden will likely threaten 35-40 points, and the Rockets should make this contest a bit more competitive. Don't expect Houston to fully catch up, however. The NBA pick is 'Over' the game total.

The Rockets average a low 96.5 points as a home dog, so expect the NBA odds boards' number to fall. If Curry sits out, however, its a no play with a lean to the Rockets plus the points.

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Free NBA Pick: 'Over' 214.5 (-105)
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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