Gareth Freeman has two bets for Oklahoma's trip to Houston on Monday, live on BT Sport.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Houston Rockets - Monday 02:10, BT Sport 1
Houston Rockets enjoyed an exceptional season in taking third spot in the Western Conference and they should expect to get past Oklahoma in the first round of the play-offs.
Houston won the regular season series between the two 3-1 after losing the first game in Oklahoma in November.
The Rockets won the most recent meeting by 12 at the Toyota Center and it could be another fairly comfortable win for the hosts later. Houston went 30-11 at home through the regular season, while the Thunder were mixed on the road with a record of 19-22.
Oklahoma’s Russell Westbrook incredibly managed to average a triple-double for the entire season and keeping tabs on him will be important but not necessarily vital for Houston. In two of the three Rockets wins this year Westbrook managed triple-doubles, so we already know Houston can beat Oklahoma even if he is at the top of his game.
Houston have their own talisman in MVP favourite James Harden but he has struggled to make the same impact against Oklahoma as he has against almost every other opponent, with Andre Roberson impressing whenever tasked with guarding the Rockets star. However, even if Harden’s impact is limited or if he is off-court Houston still have plenty of danger men as the likes of Eric Gordon, Trevor Ariza and Lou Williams are all capable of scoring heavily. In contrast, Oklahoma probably rely too heavily on Westbrook and that could be one of the deciding factors in both Game 1 and the series as a whole.
Houston are -7 in the point spread and that looks like a mark they can pass in Game 1. Oklahoma have found the Toyota Center a tough place to visit in recent years having lost all six of the most recent games in Houston, including two of the last three by at least eight points.
Back the Rockets in the point spread, and take a punt on a Houston win by 11-15 for a bit more value too.