NBA picks and best bets: Can Rockets stay hot against Warriors? Trends pointing to low-scoring Nets-Thunder game
The Rockets have won nine games in a row, and covered in four of their last five outings
Welcome back to CBS Sports' NBA betting notebook. Each week we'll take a look at a few trends going on throughout the league from a betting perspective, as well as examine the game of the week.
This week, we'll start by looking at the marquee matchup of the day, a battle between the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets. The Rockets have been on fire lately, winning nine games in a row, and covering in four of their last five. Can they keep it up against a shorthanded Warriors team that won't have Kevin Durant? Additionally, we'll examine an interesting matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and Oklahoma City Thunder, which has a number of trends pointing to it being a low-scoring affair.
(: 1-1. Season record: 5-5)
Trending up: Warriors at Rockets
Trend to know: Rockets are 4-1 against the spread in their last five games, and 5-2 ATS in their last seven games against the Warriors.
This Wednesday's slate is a little lighter than usual, but the schedule makers made up for it by giving us a marquee matchup between two of the main Western Conference contenders -- the Golden State Warriors and Houston Rockets. And along with being a great game to watch, it's an interesting one to bet on as well.
Most notably, it's a rare example of the Warriors being underdogs, as the Rockets, playing at home, are favored by 3.5 points. And for good reason. Now healthy, the Rockets have been surging up the standings, and are starting to look more and more like a team that could give the Warriors a run for their money in the Western Conference.
Winners of nine of their last 10 games, the Rockets have the longest current winning streak in the league, and have moved into third place in the West, just 3 1/2 games out of the top spot. Additionally, they've been hot against the spread, covering in four of their last five games.
On the other side, they face a Warriors team that has been struggling lately. Last week alone they were clobbered by the Boston Celtics by 33 points at home, and also lost at Oracle Arena to the lowly Phoenix Suns. Even when they have been winning lately, they haven't been covering, going just 2-11 ATS in their last 13 games. To make matters worse, they'll be without Kevin Durant -- arguably their best and most consistent player this season -- for this game.
With no Durant on the floor, the Warriors could find it very difficult to score against a Rockets team that has ratcheted up their defense lately, allowing just 101.5 points per 100 possessions in their last five games.
The Rockets are at home, playing their best basketball of the season and facing a shorthanded Warriors team that looks ready for the regular season to be over. Plus, they only have to cover a relatively small spread.
Bet: Rockets -3.5
So who wins Warriors vs. Rockets? And which side of the spread can you bank on in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Warriors vs. Rockets spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up almost $4,000 on its NBA picks, and find out.
Over/Under: Nets at Thunder
Trend to know: The total has gone under in all five of the Nets' last five games, and under in seven of the Thunder's last nine games.
Back in October, it would have been foolish to predict that a mid-March matchup between the Brooklyn Nets and Oklahoma City Thunder would be important for playoff purposes in both conferences, but that truly the case.
The Nets have won their last four games to move back into sixth place in the Eastern Conference, but face a brutal schedule over the final month. It starts on Wednesday night in OKC, where they'll begin a seven-game road trip that features five playoff teams.
As for the Thunder, they've been stumbling lately, going just 4-7 since the All-Star break ended to fall into a tie for fourth place in the Western Conference. They have won two of their last three games though, including a win over the Jazz that was overshadowed by a fan's racial comments towards Russell Westbrook.
But for all of the talk about the team's records and what this game will mean in terms of the standings, we aren't going to look at who will win. Instead, we'll focus on the over/under for this game, because there are some strong trends pointing to the under.
Notably, the point total has gone under in five straight games for the Nets, as well seven of the last nine games for the Thunder. A big reason why? Defense, of course. Over the last five games, the Nets have the best defensive rating in the league, allowing just 97.5 points per 100 possessions, while the Thunder are fifth in that span, boasting a defensive rating of 105.3.
At the same time, neither team has been doing much on the offensive end lately either. During that same five-game span, the Nets have the 19th-best offense in the league, while the Thunder come in at 23rd.
For the Thunder, a lot of that has to do with the struggles of Paul George, who has been battling through a shoulder injury. Over his last four games, he's shooting just 30 percent from the field. Likewise, D'Angelo Russell has been scuffling for the Nets, making just 39 percent of his attempts over his last five games. Additionally, neither team has been able to make an outside shot lately; the Thunder are shooting 31.4 percent from 3-point land in their last five games, while the Nets are making just 33.5 percent of their outside attempts.
All of which, combined with a pretty high point total of 232.5, points to this game going under.
Bet: Under 232.5
So who wins Nets vs. Thunder? And which side of the spread can you bank on in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to find out which side of the Nets vs. Thunder spread you need to jump on, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks, and find out.
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