The Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets meet for the second time this season at the Toyota Center in Texas. It’s time to continue our NBA odds series and make a Blazers-Rockets prediction and pick.
The Blazers hold a record of 9-7 overall but they are only 6-10 against the spread. Portland is coming off a loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The Rockets have identical overall and against the spread records, standing at 7-9. In the Rockets’ most recent game, they blew out the Washington Wizards in Russell Westbrook’s return to Houston.
Here’s how sportsbooks have set the opening Blazers-Rockets odds.
NBA Odds: Blazers-Rockets Odds
Portland Trail Blazers +5 (-111)
Houston Rockets -5 (-109)
Over 228.5 Points (-110)
Under 228.5 Points (-110)
Why The Blazers Could Cover The Spread
All year, Portland has leaned on their offense to carry them to wins.
The benchmark for the Blazers has been the 110-point mark. When Portland scores 110+, they are 9-2. Anything less than that and they are 0-5.
Essentially, Portland isn’t stopping anybody. They need to score the ball at a high rate to have a chance.
This matchup with the Rockets has its pros and cons for the Blazers’ scorers.
Houston has been solid defensively, but they play at a very high pace, sixth fastest in the league. The Blazers will have to embrace that and amp up the tempo to get more shots for Damian Lillard and Carmelo Anthony. The best shot at an upset is to overwhelm a Houston defense with volume and hope role players drain their open looks.
Another promising sign for Portland is the fact that they have played very well on the road.
The Blazers have been woeful at covering in the Moda Center, with a 2-8 against the spread record at home.
Lillard and company are 4-2 against the spread on the road, embracing the role of spoiler.
If the Blazers hope to continue the positive record, they’ll have to come out hot or risk being overwhelmed early.
Why The Rockets Could Cover The Spread
The Rockets are on an impressive hot streak right now. Houston has won and covered three games in a row, including an impressive blowout win of Dallas.
The most impressive aspect of the wins hasn’t been the Rockets’ scoring, but their defense.
Houston’s defense has held their opponent below their scoring average in each matchup, including holding the Wizards to 88 points, 27 below their season average.
Surprisingly, the Rockets defense is top ten in the league in limiting both opponent field-goal percentage and three-point percentage.
Against a team that is running low on options on the offensive end, Houston’s D could lock up its fourth straight opponent.
On the flip side, Portland’s defense has been atrocious through the early stage of the season.
The Blazers allow the fifth-most points in the league and hold the second-worst defensive rating, only ahead of the woeful Sacramento Kings.
Adding to Portland’s defensive woes, Robert Covington will miss this matchup with a concussion.
This leaves Derrick Jones Jr., Anthony, and Lillard as the Blazers’ front line on the perimeter. Jones is a solid defender, but the Rockets offense should get plenty of good looks tonight against that lineup.
Barring an explosive effort from Lillard, this game could get out of hand quickly as the Rockets will run up the point total.
Final Blazers-Rockets Prediction & Pick
The Blazers are too injury-ridden for me to back them right now. It would require a Herculean effort from Lillard on the offensive end to lift this team up in Houston, and I don’t see that happening tonight against a solid Rockets defense. When McCollum and Nurkic return to the lineup this will be a much closer matchup, but I’ll ride with Houston tonight. Rockets by double digits.
FINAL SCORE PREDICTION: HOU 126, POR 112 (HOU -5)