Rockets vs. Thunder NBA Picks: Houston's Poor Defense Will Take Total 'Over' 222

Jordan Sharp

Tuesday, March 22, 2016 1:33 PM UTC

Tuesday, Mar. 22, 2016 1:33 PM UTC

The marquee game on the slate tonight is a battle between Western Conference foes, and after coming out slightly late this morning, the sportsbooks have the NBA odds for this one favoring the Thunder at -10, with a total of 222 points.

James Harden Reunion
Even if the Thunder blow out the Rockets tonight like the sportsbooks are suggesting, they will likely at least get another reminder that they probably should have just paid James Harden. I don’t care what anyone says about their financial constraints, because considering they are paying Serge Ibaka and Enes Kanter a combined $28 million this season, and have the third highest payroll in the NBA right now, there are no more excuses.

The Thunder may have enough depth in their frontcourt to have been able to pay Harden and not one of those big men, and considering they are getting great minutes from Steven Adams, the James Harden trade may go down in NBA history as one of the worst.

However, the only way to remedy that would be to win a championship this season, or at the very least win the Western Conference and get back to the NBA Finals. That would mean they would have obviously knocked off the Warriors, so even if they lose in the Finals to LeBron James again, at least they might be able to keep Kevin Durant from leaving in free agency.

However, enough about the past, because the outcome of this game is what we are here to talk about, and while the spread is very large, and the Thunder are more than capable of covering it, the total seems like a much better play.

Right now the sportsbooks have not settled this total, and you can find it anywhere from 222 to 224 on the NBA odds board. With how fast the Rockets play this season, and with the Thunder at home tonight, the over might be a pretty good play. The total is high for a reason. Three of the last four times these two teams have played the total has gone over, and in all four of their previous games against one another dating back to last season, at least one team has surpassed 110 points.

Considering the Thunder have dropped an average of 121 points over their last four games heading into this one, the Rockets stand no chance of slowing them down.


The Sharp Pick
While the Thunder have been scoring points, the Rockets have predictably been giving them up. If you take out their blowout win against the banged up Grizzlies, the Rockets have allowed an average of 117 points per game in four of their last five.

Another factor in this one is the fact that both teams have had two full days of rest in between their last game and tonight. While that really seems to help the Thunder cash the under, the Rockets are 9-3 cashing the over when playing on 2-3 days rest this season.

On top of that, even with the Thunder cashing the under with regularity at home, the Rockets’ defense and pace is going to lead to a ton of points for OKC tonight. The Rockets have cashed the over at 23-13 on the road this season, and in those 36 games they have given up an average of 109 points per game. In their last 10 conference road games, the Rockets have given up an average of 116 points per game, so while they might only get just over 100 in this one, the Thunder could very easily get to 115 or even 120 tonight, making the over a great play for your NBA picks at its current lower tiered price point.

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NBA Pick: OVER 222
Best Line Offered: at Heritage

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