A Western Conference showdown will be on tap between a pair of youthful squads as the Oklahoma City Thunder battle it out in the Lone Star State against the Houston Rockets. It is time to take an exclusive sneak peek at our NBA odds series, where our Thunder-Rockets prediction and pick will be revealed.

Entering play with an 8-11 record, the Thunder showcased their young talent and overall grit by prevailing in a big way with an overtime win over the Bulls by a score of 123-119. After compiling a porous 22-50 record a season ago which was the second-worst mark in the west, OKC is more than a third of the way there of generating more victories than they did all of last year.

The one team that happened to have a worse record than the Thunder a year ago was in fact a Houston Rockets squad that served as a doormat to the rest of the NBA. In fact, Houston finished up their 82-game campaign during the 2021-2022 season by finishing it with not only the worst record in the Western Conference but in all of the NBA at 17-55. Now, with a 4-14 record and hoping to show any sort of improvement in year three of head coach Stephen Silas, these are the type of games that Houston has to have.

Here are the Thunder-Rockets NBA odds, courtesy of FanDuel

NBA Odds: Thunder-Rockets Odds

Oklahoma City Thunder: -2 (-110)

Houston Rockets: +2 (-110)

Over: 231.5 (-110)

Under: 231.5 (-110)

Why The Thunder Could Cover The Spread

Without a doubt, OKC’s championship window passed when the Thunder were forced to move on from their dynamic duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook a few years back and have been stuck in rebuild mode ever since. However, there is plenty of room to be encouraged if you are an OKC fan.

Although their overall record might not show it, it is becoming quite clear that Oklahoma City is trending in the right direction and is passing the eye test in doing so. Clearly, Oklahoma City is slowly but surely putting the pieces together to be a threat in this league in the years to come.

Tasked with a surplus of young talent and already possessing a breakout superstar in this league by the name of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Thunder could cover the spread simply because Thunder possesses the best player overall. Against the Bulls, Alexander popped off for 31 points and found a way to make it to the free-throw line by connecting on 14 of his 15 free-throw attempts.

As a whole, Oklahoma City played an aggressive brand of basketball that resulted in making it to the charity stripe 32 times in the win over Chicago. If OKC can take it to the hole more often than not and not settle for jump shots, then the Thunder will have a tremendous chance to cover.

Why The Rockets Could Cover The Spread

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On paper, the Rockets have a disadvantage in most categories when facing off with the Thunder, but the one thing that Houston has going for them is the fact that they have played a majority of their games away from home and will be continuing on a home stand that recently saw them defeat the Atlanta Hawks in impressive fashion yesterday. In the triumphant victory, the Rockets excelled at eliminating second-chance opportunities for the Hawks in out-rebounding them by a whopping margin of 59-28.

Throughout their 18 games played, the Rockets can also tend to get hot from beyond the arc. Yes, the saying is that teams do live or die by the three, but when it comes to Houston, it may be worth firing up as many open three-point attempts as possible given the fact that they are shooting a respectable 35% from deep which is a far cry from their overall field goal percentage which sits at a dreadful 44%. At the moment, that is currently the worst field-goal percentage in the entire league.

Nevertheless, the Rockets are hoping they can continue their momentum from last night and receive another stellar performance from Jalen Green who tallied a team-high 30 points in the win. Getting production from the second-overall pick a year ago would be a good place to start, as someone on this roster is going to have to step up to keep up with the scoring machine himself in Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. Whether it’s Green or someone else, who is going to come up clutch when it matters most?

Final Thunder-Rockets Prediction & Pick

There’s nothing quite like a matchup between two of the lesser teams from a season ago! While both sides have shown improvement in the early stages of this season, it will be the Thunder that takes advantage of a Rockets roster that isn’t quite developing at a swift pace like Oklahoma City’s has. Hammer OKC to get their second win in just as many games.

Final Thunder-Rockets Prediction & Pick: Thunder -2 (-110)