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April 18, 2016

Take Houston Rockets +13.5 spread against Golden State Warriors for 3% of the bankroll. 

The Houston Rockets will once again travel to Oakland, CA to face off with the Golden State Warriors at the Oracle Arena for Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals. In Game One, the Rockets came out flat and had one of their worst showings in playoff history resulting in a 26 point defeat at the hands of the defending champs. They came out with a very poor gameplan, taking too many risky shots and made far too many mistakes to be competitive.

Houston endured an extremely cold shooting night which is certainly not the norm for such an efficient offensive team. Of the 12 players who registered minutes for the Rockets in this game, only 2 of them managed to shoot above 50%. From the field, they only manage to shoot 35.7% and an even more unimpressive 27.3% from beyond the arc, a place where they have made a living this season. They also shot just 50% from the charity stripe which is extremely uncommon for this team and to top it all off, James Harden was held without a free throw attempt for the first time in 148 games. They also committed an embarrassing 24 turnovers, which led to multiple fast breaks that the Warriors capitalized on and no doubt contributed to the blowout victory.

There is no question that Houston's performance has somewhat skewed the perception of this team, however, looking back it appears that Game 1 should be considered more the exception than the rule. It was a game of anomalies for the Rockets as they were held far below their seasonal averages in all facets, but we don't expect that to continue and expect correction to be made. There is no doubt that both the team and the coaching staff have reviewed the tape extensively and we expect that they will make the adjustments needed to make this contest much more competitive.

There has also been a lot of talk about the nagging ankle injury that has hampered reigning MVP Steph Curry. Steve Kerr limited Curry to just 20 minutes in Game 1 in order to allow his PG extra time to heal. Despite his limited play, Curry's 24 points were instrumental in the Warriors victory. It will be interesting to see how Curry's ankle holds up for this contest and whether Kerr will monitor his minutes. Curry is a game changer, even at less than 100%, however his nagging injury could have a profound effect on his long distance shot and ability to drive into the lane. It should also allow the Rockets defenders to better guard the MVP. Even if Houston cannot completely stop the production of Curry, if they could even just simply contain him better, it should allow them to keep this game much closer than expected.

Golden State has been and still is a popular bet among most casual bettors. At 45-35 ATS on the season, they have no doubt been a profitable team to back regardless of the spread. That being said, we believe there has been a huge over-reaction to the result of Game 1 and expect that many golden State backers will be in for a letdown tonight. It's not uncommon, especially in the playoff for a team to have a poor showing in one game, only to bounce back with a strong performance in the next. That is what we believe will happen tonight. While the Warriors are hands down the better overall team in this series, that doesn't mean that they are going to win each and every game in blowout fashion. Expect Houston to come out of the gate firing in this one, looking to atone for their poor performance in Game 1. While it likely won't be enough to get the victory at Oracle Arena, they should keep this competitive enough to stay within the generous number. 




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