NBA Picks: Rested Rockets Have the Edge Over Worn Out & Possibly Shorthanded Clippers in Game 1

Nikki Adams

Monday, May 4, 2015 11:30 AM UTC

Monday, May. 4, 2015 11:30 AM UTC

Hot off the press, we've got our NBA picks ready. Join us for a preview of the series between the Clippers and Rockets, which gets underway on Monday night at the Toyota Center.

Series Odds Overview
The Clippers upset the defending champions Spurs in game 7 of the first round of the NBA Playoffs, thereby ensuring  that there will be a new champion this season. Despite the scalp, however, they enter the second round of the NBA Playoffs as the distinctive underdogs, albeit nominally so at +125 NBA odds  to advance into the Western Conference finals.

Houston Rockets, meanwhile, enter as the slight favorites at -145 NBA odds to win outright. They won their first round series with the Mavericks in game 5 and come into the second round well rested. Although it's been six days since they've been to court and getting back into the swing of things isn't always easy after an extended layoff.

It's worth noting too that the Rockets are through to the second round for the first time in six years; their last appearance in the Western Conference semis was in 2009. The Clippers are through to the second round for the second straight season. Will that experience tip the scale towards the underdogs in this series? That's one pressing question to consider when making your NBA picks.


Clippers Disadvantaged In Game 1
Thanks to the Clippers, a new champion is sure to be crowned when all is said and done in the NBA Playoffs. One would think that edging the Spurs 111-109 on Saturday to reach the Western Conference semis counts for something, but it wouldn't appear to on the NBA odds board.

The Clippers are not only the distinctive underdogs to clinch the series, but they are also the hefty road underdogs in game 1. If the NBA odds were any indication, they'll have all to do to take the win in Houston. A win in Houston for the Clippers is trading at +195 NBA odds, all while they are matched as the 6-point underdogs.

It's a discouraging outlook overall, but understandable at the same time. The Clippers had the most arduous task in the first round; their series with the Spurs was the only one to go seven games, which means they've clocked in more time on the court than any other team in the postseason.

Stacking the odds against them further is the uncertainty about Chris Paul's injury. The eight-time All-Star point-guard suffered a strained hamstring in game 7 against the Spurs. While he  missed a portion of the game as a result, he did  return to put in a heroic account and score the game winning basket with barely a second left on the clock.

It's yet not entirely certain whether he'll feature in game 1 for any amount of time or not. Clearly, Paul is instrumental to the Clippers' success in these NBA Playoffs so far and his potential absence from game 1 is being felt on the NBA odds board.  

Join fellow bettors as they discuss their picks for tonight's Clippers/Rockets game

Rockets Have Advantage
The Houston Rockets enter game 1 with the considerable advantage on the NBA odds board, matched as the whopping -235 home faves and the 6-point home chalk.

James Harden powered the Rockets to a 4-1 series win over the Mavericks, putting paid on Dallas' mini rally in game 4 to get back into the series with a standout performance at home in game 5. Harden scored 28 points and had 8 assists while Dwight Howard had 18 points and 19 rebounds.

At face value, the confident run in round 1 gives the Rockets a slight edge over the Clippers. The assumption being that they are well rested and recovered, with plenty in their reserves to draw from against a Clippers' team that is still recovering from their taxing round 1 series.

In reality, it could go either way: not playing since April 28 might see the Rockets come out of the gates sluggishly. While playing just 48 hours ago might see the Clippers simply pick up from where they left off and continue riding the momentum.  It's impossible to tell which of these scenarios (or another) will materialise at the Toyota Center tonight.

One thing is certain, defeating the defending champions is going to be a source of confidence for the Clippers. Knowing they can beat the so-called "best" is a dangerous aphrodisiac, and the Rockets would do well not to take the Clippers for granted or the NBA odds, for that matter. They might be the favorites to win outright, but they still have to underscore their NBA odds with a win in game 1.


NBA Betting Verdict:
This matchup should be a lot  closer than the NBA odds would suggest. Heck, in the regular season, these two teams split their meetings 2-2 SU and ATS, suggesting it's anybody's series for the taking. As far as game 1 goes, it's a tossup in our opinion. Push comes to shove, we're backing the Rockets on our NBA picks to edge the Clippers in game 1 as the -235 faves, especially if Chris Paul sits the game out.

NBA Picks: Rockets -235 and -6.5 at Pinnacle

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