The Rockets are looking to remain perfect since the resumption of the season while the Trail Blazers have split their first two games in the bubble. Let’s discuss this matchup and cash another winner!
Houston Rockets vs. Portland Trail Blazers
Tuesday, August 4, 2020 – 9:00 PM ET at ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Kissimmee, Florida
Houston has picked up where they left off on March 10th - playing winning basketball. Before the league’s unanticipated hiatus, the Rockets dispatched the Timberwolves, 117-110, in Houston but failed to cover the 12 ½ point impost. Fast forward to July 31st, and Houston’s James Harden blistered the Mavericks in the first game back with 49 points en route to a 153-149 overtime shootout. Teammate Russell Westbrook chipped in with 31 points, 11 boards, and eight assists in the winning effort.
Speaking of Russell Westbrook, the nine-time All-Star scored an identical 31 points the following game when the Rockets knocked off the Eastern Conference powerhouse, Milwaukee Bucks, by the score of 120-116, on Sunday. It was the 36th consecutive game in which Westbrook registered at least 20 points while teammate James Harden contributed 24 points in the victory. Houston is currently the fourth seed in the West, half a game ahead of the Jazz and 1 ½ games behind the third-seeded Nuggets.
Blazers Struggling to Stay in the Mix
Portland’s return to action was very similar to Houston’s in that both teams played plenty of offense, little defense, and needed overtime to secure the victory. Such was the case when the
Trail Blazers claimed a 140-135 OT win over the Grizzlies. CJ McCollum and Damian Lillard led the way with 33, and 29 points, respectively. Carmelo Anthony is showing he still has some gas left in the tank when he scored 21 points over 37 minutes of action.
Unfortunately for the Trail Blazers, their winning never had a chance to streak as Portland was upended by the Celtics two days later in a 128-124 setback. Boston built what proved to be an insurmountable 19-point halftime lead but the Blazers fought back and outscored the Celtics by 15 in the second half. Damian Lillard bucketed 30 points along with 16 assists while Jusuf Nurkic had 30 points as well and led the team with nine rebounds.
Memphis is currently occupying the eighth and final seed in the West with a two-game edge over the Trail Blazers but Portland has plenty of company trying to catch the Grizzlies with the Spurs, Pelicans, Kings, and Suns all within 1 ½ games of each other.
The Bottom Line
The Rockets are the better team top to bottom and rank first in points scored, averaging 118.7 points per game, yet Portland also has an explosive offense that should never be underestimated, averaging 114.2 PPG. A quick little arithmetic tells me 118.7-114.2 = 4.5 and, lo and behold, the NBA odds being dealt over at 5Dimes, and virtually all of the best online sportsbooks at SBR Odds, see the Rockets -4 ½ in this matchup.
And while I wish it was always that neat and tidy when identifying an accurate point spread, we should familiarize ourselves with the recent matchups and trends between these Western Conference adversaries.
- Rockets are 0-4 ATS in their last four games against a team with a losing record
- Rockets are 1-5 ATS in their last six games as a favorite
- Trail Blazers are 6-2 ATS versus the Rockets over their last including 2-1 ATS and outright this season
- Trail Blazers are 7-2-1 ATS in their last 10 games against a team with a winning record
Portland has won the last two meetings between these clubs with a 117-107 victory on January 15th followed by a 125-112 win two weeks later. Let’s also not forget that the Rockets are coming off an emotionally huge victory over the Bucks and could be due for a letdown against the Blazers in this matchup. Portland needs this win far more than the Rockets and has historically matched up successfully against Houston. Let’s not fight it - let’s bet it - and include the Trail Blazers in our NBA picks on Tuesday night.