January 29, 2016 (3:58 PM ET)
Take the UNDER 222 total points in Houston Rockets vs. OKC Thunder for 3% of the bankroll.
The Thunder have dropped 5 in a row to the Rockets and will be keen to turn that page. At 35-13, they are one of the best teams in the league and own a dominant 21-5 home record! And yet former OKC player, James Harden and Houston have had their number. We expect Westbrook and company to exact revenge tonight but believe it won't come in the form of a complete shootout. Oklahoma city does play stingy defense at home and that's helped by players like Steven Adams and Serge Ibaka who are legitimate shot-blockers! The Thunder actually average less points offensively at Chesapeake Arena than they on the road. They are 21-5 in this venue however because their defense limits opponents to an average of 98 points per game which is 3.3 points less than what they allow on their travels! Billy Donovan's side knows the importance of protecting home-court and will want to flex its defensive muscle and not get in a shootout with Harden and the Rockets. That's because while they can survive a shootout, they have a much better chance of winning if they play solid defense, something Houston seems incapable of since the departure of Kevin McHale.
Oklahoma City is a good offensive and defensive ball club whereas the Rockets only ever seem to be able to outscore the opposition and have one of the worst defenses in NBA this year! The OKC coaching staff no doubt realizes that and will want to stay offensively proficient but also limit costly turnovers and emphasize defensive stoutness. The fact that both clubs are coming off games where they allowed their previous opponent to shoot 55% from the field means defense will have been a priority and a point of emphasis leading up to this game. JB Bickerstaff and Billy Donovan can't be happy with their team's most recent defensive efforts and will demand better concentration from them tonight. This will still be a high-scoring game but not as much as most anticipate. The Thunder are coming off a game where they nearly lost in Minnesota due to allowing 123 points! The Houston defence meanwhile was ripped apart by the Spurs giving up 130 points! Both sides have a point to prove on that end of the court tonight and will be more focused as a result.
The betting public loves jumping on bandwagons and often over-reacts to recent games and streaks. They see two teams that are coming off some high-scoring contests and they blindly bet the 'Over' despite the fact that this total has already been set very high! The oddsmakers opened this number at 223 points and yet even though the vast majority of the action has been on the 'Over', the number has fallen to 222 points because sharp money is backing the 'Under'.
Many prime-time televised NBA matchups have been shootouts in recent days and the Average Joe is no doubt hoping for a repeat. We believe they'll be disappointed because even if both teams crack the century mark (100 points), we doubt this game will go 'over' the posted total. One low scoring quarter is all it takes for this number to fall short and we don't expect both offenses to be sharpshooters for all 4 quarters! If the referees don't constantly send both sets of players to the free-throw line, look for this game to stay under the inflated total.
Other notable facts to consider:
- The 'Under' is 17-9 in Oklahoma City home games this season!
- Six of the last 7 games between these two clubs in Oklahoma City has gone 'Under' the posted total.
- Eight of 10 Thunder games have gone 'Under' after a division game this season!
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