Houston Rockets Betting – Odds, Predictions, and Picks for Winning the Southwest Division and the NBA Finals in 2019
Published on January 07, 2019
It’s official. James Harden is ridiculous, and the Houston Rockets are back.
I was hesitant to fully buy into Harden’s surge and Houston’s climb out of early-season obscurity, but I’m buying into it now without hesitation.
If bettors are smart, they may consider doing the same from a financial perspective.
Harden is flat-out dominating these days, and he’s doing it with Carmelo Anthony defunct, Chris Paul on the sidelines, and very little help around him. He’s already made an amazing case to repeat as NBA MVP, and it’s quite arguable he’s also put the Rockets back amongst the NBA’s elite.
Houston’s start to the 2018-19 NBA season was slow and – for the most part – ugly. They lost key rotational players in free agency, Melo was a total bust of an acquisition, and would-be fellow All-Star CP3 just wasn’t helping enough.
No matter, as Harden elevated his game and lifted his team in the process. Harden has become what makes the Rockets go, and while there is a faint argument that it might not be sustainable, I’m here to tell you that it has to be.
Harden doesn’t have a choice but to be selfish and aggressive. He has enough solid role players around him that can hit open three-pointers and are willing defenders. Once CP3 returns, he should at least in theory have a very solid number-two option to turn to.
A healthy Eric Gordon may give this offense a boost down the road, too, while knowing the history of Daryl Morey and these Rockets, they can’t possibly be done looking for ways to get even better.
Say what you will about sustainability, but Harden has shredded the league – including some of the very best teams the NBA has to offer – while leading the Rockets back to first place in the Southwest Division.
That includes impressive performances in wins over the Golden State Warriors, the Boston Celtics, and the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Those wins have come during a nasty 8-2 stretch during Houston’s last ten games, as Harden has been the driving force behind a total turn-around.
He is their identity, and everyone else is simply fitting in as needed. If CP3 and Gordon can appropriately do the same upon healthy returns, the Rockets could quickly turn into one of the best teams in basketball.
The scary part is that they might already be there. So, should NBA bettors be taking advantage?
Houston is a solid 22-16 at the time of this writing, and that mark is all the more impressive considering it’s been largely a one-man show and the Rockets dug themselves such a huge hole early on.
Harden has propelled them to the top of the division, but Houston being the best team in the Southwest is old news. Late start aside, it never felt like the top NBA betting sites were overly concerned about them failing to secure the top spot.
The Rockets have always been favorites to snag their division, but their early-season struggles did lower their price a bit. You won’t find staggering value, but Houston remains the favorite at -300 over at Bovada, and I’m not sure you’ll see a better price the rest of the year.
Here’s how the division looks right now in terms of odds.
Betting on Houston to win the division isn’t making a huge leap and obviously won’t bring back much profit, either. That being said, nobody else really stands out here.
The Spurs are presently Houston’s biggest threat inside the division, but their trademark defense has eroded for the most part, and they’ve been abysmal on the road.
Nobody else in the division is even in play at the moment, as they’re all below .500.
You could take a flier on the Spurs at +620 or bet on anyone here, but that’d require Harden hitting a wall and the Rockets falling apart again. As things stand, Houston is back, and they may only be getting better. They’re the easy call here, and at -300, you can go hard at them while the price is still palatable.
The other big betting play concerning the Rockets is whether or not they can parlay their recent success into a deep playoff run. This was the best overall team in the league a year ago, so the odds still feel decent if they can get healthy and swing a trade to improve their roster.
I don’t really know what that trade would look like at this point, but the Rockets have worked magic in the past, and I wouldn’t put it past them to snatch a big asset before the NBA trade deadline arrives.
Even if they don’t, however, a team very similar to the one they presently have still got to the Western Conference Finals last year and took the Golden State Warriors to seven games.
The top NBA sportsbooks don’t seem all that threatened by Houston’s upside, however.
The Rockets hold middling +1400 NBA Finals odds at Bovada and +1000 at SportsBetting.ag. They also hold +600 odds at SportsBetting.ag just to sneak past the Dubs and get to the Finals.
That’s a viable bet just because the Eastern Conference feels a bit stronger than it has in years past. Still, if you actually believe this rendition of the Rockets can run the table when it’s all said and done, you should aim high, and you clearly should do so at Bovada.
While the Rockets are very much in play to win the title, I still can’t get off the Warriors and Raptors. Toronto feels like the best team in basketball right now, and by the end of the year, it’s still quite possible that Golden State (-200) will be an elite value to win a third straight championship.
Houston is worth a flier bet at +1400, but I still prefer to bet on the Raptors, especially at SportsBetting.ag where they carry a sweet +800 price.
I’m personally not picking Houston to win the NBA Finals this year, but they’re 100% on the table for bettors. They are probably locks to win their division again, and if things break just right, they could battle for a top-three seed and make some serious noise come postseason play.
Houston is battle-tested, they can collect three-pointers as quickly as anyone, and their one-man show often beats the best collections of talent. That, and the Rockets are bound to get healthier and make a move to enhance their current roster.
They’re a completely valid flier bet to win it all, but I find myself gravitating toward the Raptors and Warriors for a bet that extreme.
Still, Houston is not just trending in a positive direction; they’ve put themselves back on the map as a high-level team bettors can trust again.