The Clippers take a 2-1 series lead into game 4. Can the Rockets bounce back or will the Clippers come through as the overwhelming faves? Here's our NBA betting preview, complete with NBA picks.
Houston Rockets At Disadvantage
Houston Rockets go into game 4, trailing the Clippers 1-2 and at the serious disadvantage on the NBA odds board. Matched at +265 NBA odds and as the large 7.5-point road pups against the spread, it would appear odds makers are writing off their chances. Do the bookies have it right or are they prematurely writing the Rockets out of this series?
Rockets succumbed to a miserable 124-99 defeat on Friday night in the Western Conference semi-finals. Only down by seven points at half-time, the Rockets were slow out of the gates when the game resumed and quickly fell behind in the third quarter. It was a rather lacklustre effort by the top seed that left much to be desired.
On the strength (or lack thereof) of their performance in game 3, the Rockets are quite rightly at the disadvantage on the NBA odds board ahead of game 4. Even James Harden's 25-point account on the night did little to salvage the Rockets' chances in the last game. So it's hard to see them bouncing back. If they are to take on back on the road, a complete turnaround by the team as a whole is going to be needed. Somehow it doesn't seem possible when the Clippers are playing with such confidence.
Los Angeles Clippers Have Game 4 Cornered
After dumping the defending champions San Antonio Spurs in round 1 of the NBA playoffs, the Clippers are backing it up in fine style. They are ahead in the series with the Rockets 2-1 after routing them on Friday night and they are in an enviable position to go one better on Sunday night with home advantage to bank on.
As a result, the Clippers are the supreme betting favourites on the NBA odd board, matched at whopping -330 NBA odds to win outright and as the 7.5-point home chalk. The way they are playing this series, outmuscling, outshooting and outhustling the Rockets, few NBA bettors are going to go against them surely.
Austin Rivers came off the bench in the third quarter and almost singlehandedly lifted the Clippers to a double-digit lead when he scored 15 points in the blink of an eye, all while an emotional Doc Rivers watched from the sidelines with fatherly pride. As a result of Rivers' solid play, Chris Paul was allowed to rest his sore hamstring, which should allow him to be 100% ready for Sunday's game.
NBA Betting Verdict
The Houston Rockets have disappointed in the Western Conference semi-finals, despite high expectations. The pressure is on them right now as they are in trouble, down 1-2 and in danger of falling further behind when all is said and done on Sunday night. With their backs against the wall so, they need a big game tonight to get back into the series. Problem is they've shown so little fight in this series and are so underwhelming right now that few believe they have it in them.
Los Angeles Clippers seem to be rounding out into form right now. They are brimming with confidence and have the momentum, all things that make them a solid NBA pick for game 4. Therefore, for our money, we're backing the Clippers to come up trumps as the home faves. Take them on your NBA picks to win outright and cover as the 7.5-point home chalk.
NBA Picks: Clippers -7.5 at 5Dimes