Rockets vs Thunder predictions: Things you need to know
The Eastern conference has superstars and good playoff matchups, but not like the west. The one series that is getting the most attention leading up to the playoffs has to be the Houston Rockets against the Oklahoma City Thunder. Endless side stories, incredible athletes, and connections galore. Before I make my Rockets vs Thunder predictions, it’s to look at the intangibles.
Breaking down the 2020 NBA Playoff Bracket predictions for every series and your printable brackets!
No series has more subplots than this one. It all starts with the big trade that connects these franchises forever. The Rockets moved Chris Paul to OKC to nab Russell Westbrook. The trade also involved plenty of draft picks, but those two names will be the talk of the series. Westbrook is already in the headlines, but for all the wrong reasons.
Confirmed: Russell Westbrook will miss Game 1 against the OKC Thunder with a quad injury.
— Legion Hoops (@LegionHoops) August 16, 2020
Paul is also very good friends with James Harden, who also played with the Thunder. Reportedly Harden and Paul had a falling out, although Harden denied those rumors. With this kind of tension, both teams are looking forward to this NBA match up. Regardless they are still close off the court at least from a location perspective.
As if Rockets/Thunder in Round 1 didn’t have enough subplots …
I’m told James Harden’s team and Chris Paul’s team not only share a hotel but also share the same building at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) August 13, 2020
If you really want to learn how to bet on the NBA playoffs, you have to look past the storylines.
Odds call it close… kind of
The top sportsbooks posted odds on this series and game one and there is one thing that is clear. This is going to be a close series. But when you look at the odds to win the Western Conference, they tell a different story. The Rockets are (7-to-1) to win the West and the Thunder are (24-to-1) to win the conference. That is a stark contrast and really shows just how better than the Rockets are.
Seeking series redemption
The Thunder won 2-of-the-3 regular-season meetings between these teams. Despite the number, Westbrook has played well against OKC, averaging 29 points on 59.1 percent shooting, and adding 8.3 rebounds and 8.7 assists. The secret to the success of the Thunder is sharing the rock. In the series against the Rockets, Paul averaged 20 points, six boards, and four dimes and Danilo Gallinari is averaging 21.7 points, Dennis Schroder 20.3, and Shae Gilgeous-Alexander 18.3.
Count on Chris
Paul has an X-factor with a unique ability to get under the skin of the opposition, much like he did in his last outing against the Miami Heat.
fun sequence of events pic.twitter.com/aY3pY4ZZX3
— Rob Perez (@WorldWideWob) August 13, 2020
This may be the reason why James Harden has had some problems when playing against the Thunder. In 3 games against OKC this year Harden is hitting a mere 32.8 percent from the floor.
Rockets vs Thunder predictions
So who wins? The fans because this will be a very entertaining series, but from a betting view there is only one option. The bet in this series is the Rockets. The Thunder have some injuries that are concerning, starting with the knee injury to guard Luguentz Dort. The Rockets will rally and bring the “A” game out to make up for the abscence of Westbrook. The series will go back and forth, but in the end, Harden and the Rockets will win.
It will only get better in the next round as the winner of this series will most likely go up against LeBron James and the Lakers. That is of course if the Lakers beat the winner of the play-in series.