The NBA can return to the forefront of basketball viewing, as March Madness won’t resume until Thursday. Each game is increasingly important as the playoffs approach, especially for the Golden State Warriors, who will be in Houston tonight to take on the Rockets. We’ll preview the game before going over why I’ll be targeting a first-half bet in this one.
As we begin another week of NBA action, the Golden State Warriors currently sit in 7th place in the Western Conference, and since the return from the All-Star break, they have gone 7-7. The Warriors came out of the break strong and looked primed to shoot up the standings, but they have since cooled down and lost six of their last eight games.
In their 14 games following the break, Golden State has managed a NET rating of .6, which is the 12th-best rating in the league in that span. Staying around the top ten in NET rating, even with a .500 record, is impressive, especially since they are in the midst of a three-game losing streak and allowed 127 or more points in each of those three games.
Even with their current losing streak, their defensive efficiency rating ranks higher than their offensive efficiency rating. Golden State is 15th in offensive rating in the second half of the season, which is three spots behind where they ranked in the first half of the season. The good news for them, however, is they will go from taking on the Grizzlies, who are second in defensive efficiency since the break, to the Rockets, who are 28th.
Due to the Rockets' defensive shortcomings, their NET rating since the break is 27th, while their overall record in the second half of the season is 5-8. Houston will enter tonight off a loss to the Pelicans, which snapped a three-game winning streak and was the first game they scored under 111 points in since March 7th.
The Warriors are listed as (+10.5) point road favorites tonight, but for my play in this one, I’ll be targeting the Rockets' first-half spread of (+6.5). On the season, Houston has been the third most profitable team when playing at home in the first half. The Rockets are 23-14 ATS this season in the first half, which means they are up +7.60 units. Conversely, the Warriors are 15-20-1 ATS in the 1H of road games this season.
Over the past ten games, the Warriors are 26th in the league in 1H NET rating at -8.1, while Houston is 19th in that span with a NET rating of -1.5. Golden State has been getting off to slow starts on the offensive end recently, leading to them ranking 25th in offensive efficiency over the past ten games. However, Houston has not had the term “slow start” in their vocabulary lately, as they rank 10th in 1H offensive rating.
In their most recent loss, the Golden State Warriors allowed the Grizzlies to score 38 points alone in just the second quarter. This has become a common occurrence, at least over the last ten games, as the Warriors are 28th in opponent's field goals made per game in the first half.
Houston Rockets 1H (+6.5)