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Western Conference Finals Predictions: Warriors vs Rockets Game 1

The Boston Celtics shook LeBron’s throne on Sunday and showed him how quickly he could fall in the Eastern Conference Finals. Could the Warriors fall to the same fate against the Rockets? Read on for the Western Conference finals predictions!

Houston Rockets vs Golden State Warriors

Betting on the Rockets

Despite having beaten the Warriors in the regular season series two games to one and having seven more victories overall which earned them the league’s No. 1 overall seed with a 65-17 campaign, the Rockets still opened as underdogs for the Western Conference Finals.

Of course, when facing the Warriors any team would recognize the difficulty of slaying that beast.

However, if there’s any team that can challenge Golden State’s dominance it’s the Rockets.

The Rockets have the best statistics of any team Golden State has gone up against in the Steve Kerr era and they have veritable crew of elite defenders to throw at Kevin Durant.

They also have the likely league MVP, James Harden, who is likely itching to make this his time to shine. To compete against his former teammate and reigning Finals MVP, Kevin Durant. And to measure himself with the two-time MVP Stephen Curry.

Oh, yes. It’s a daunting challenge. One that not many believe the Rockets can accomplish.

It’s by no means far-fetched, however, to not believe otherwise. In fact, the Rockets even recognize this series as the one that defines its season.

Today’s game may reflect what the +175 odds to win the Western Conference Finals mean to the Rockets. If they win it may be the prelude of the glory to come. But, should they lose, and the manner in which they do, opens a harrowing result.

Betting on the Warriors

No matter what everyone seems to think, the Warriors should be wary of the Rockets.

Especially when you consider their opponent’s “Big 3” of Chris Paul, James Harden, and Clint Capela, who led Houston to a 50-5 record when they’ve played together this season.

The Warriors’ offensive might notwithstanding, their opponents are as likely equals or, arguably, better on offense.

The Dubs are at full strength once more and seem to be working once more like a well-oiled machine. And as the series against the Pelicans showed, when they brought out the big guns there was nothing any team could have done to prevent them from winning.

Steve Kerr had avoided busting out their “Death” lineup to start a game. But when he does so, man, it’s usually devastating. Ask the Pelicans of Game 4.

Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green, and Durant as a starting lineup is Golden State’s greatest weapon.

Kerr tends to save his best lineup for the biggest moments, such as he deemed Game 4 against the Pelicans was, so we might not see it tonight.

But, the Warriors also have the right combination of defense to slow down Harden and the rest of the Rockets. So far this postseason, Golden State has kept opponents to just 99.3 points per 100 possessions. That’s one heck of a number and it’s better by almost three full points from that of the Rockets.

Klay Thompson matches up well against Harden which will be critical to cracking Houston. If Harden is kept under wraps, without having to foul him, it’s going to severely limit the Rockets’ offense. Thompson is the man to do this:

Let’s not forget, also, that it’s Chris Paul who will have to outplay Curry not the other way around. If Paul is not at his best, Curry will be punishing.

Golden State’s will have to figure out though how to contend with Capela, who poses a similar dilemma as Anthony Davis did as a big obstacle in a host of pick plays that exploit even the best defenses.

The Warriors need a player with the size to knock heads with Capela, the speed to stick with Paul or Harden’s dribbling, and the wherewithal to not give up silly fouls.

Rockets vs Warriors Betting Trends

  • Golden State is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games
  • Golden State is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Golden State's last 7 games
  • Houston is 5-2 ATS in its last 7 games
  • Houston is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games
  • The total has gone UNDER in 12 of Houston's last 18 games

Game Prediction: It’s not an exaggeration to think of this series as a real NBA Finals. What these two teams bring to the court can define a historic event in NBA championship games.

From the get-go, Houston will come out gunning as they’ve done so many times before. Houston will attempt to outscore and shoot for a runaway lead in the first two quarters.

The Warriors will test themselves against Houston’s first-half barrage and try to keep the game close in bidding their time to themselves open up the scoring spigot in the last two quarters of the game.

If the game is close at halftime, the Warriors gain a big edge. If the Rockets can open up the game with a quick big lead then it tilts things in their favor.

Pick: I’m going with the Warriors at +1.5. 

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