Rockets, Warriors look like solid first-half plays

We had four Game 5s in the NBA on Tuesday night, and saw all four home teams win, three of them to close out their first-round series’. The Raptors, Sixers and Nuggets won in blowouts, covering with ease.

The Blazers were a different story. They gave us one of the best games of the year in the NBA, but the three-point victory over Oklahoma City was a push or loss for most that bet the spread.

Favorites are now 24-12 ATS in the first-round, and I think we’ll see that trend continue with blowout wins for the Rockets and Warriors to finish off these series’ before meeting in the second round. We’ll see underdogs make a comeback ATS once we cut some of the poor teams out of the postseason in this first round. However, while I’d lean towards Houston and Golden State both covering, they’re laying pretty large numbers. I’m going to look to avoid a backdoor cover by playing some first-half lines (odds provided by Bovada).

Houston Rockets -4.5 1H vs. Utah Jazz

Houston ranked second in the NBA in 1H margin at +4.3 points per game, and that number jumps all the way to +5.9 at home. While the Rockets struggled a bit in Utah, they’ve had tremendous energy at home in this series, and that should be more prominent in a potential closeout game.

Mike D’Antoni’s team took a 15-point lead into the locker room in Game 1, and then had a 26-point halftime lead in Game 2. Utah’s going to have to be a completely different team in Houston to stay in this game early.

Donovan Mitchell was the X-factor during the two games in Utah, scoring 65 points on 20-for-53 from the field, 7-for-19 from downtown, and 18-of-23 from the free-throw line. Those totals during the two games in Houston were just 30 points on 12-for-37 from the field, 4-for-15 from deep, and 2-for-5 from the charity stripe. All Houston has to do is limit Mitchell when he’s away from home and it can run away with this one.

Golden State Warriors -9 1H vs. Los Angeles Clippers

Golden State ranks fourth in the NBA in 1H margin, while the Clippers rank just 17th. The Warriors have held halftime leads of 13, 23, 21 and eight in the first four games of this series, respectively.

We know the Clippers aren’t afraid to play in Oakland; we saw them erase a 31-point lead in Game 2. But that comeback is what sways this one in favor of the home team for me.

The Game 2 loss was a wakeup call for the Warriors, telling them that they need to keep their foot on the gas, something they did in both games in Los Angeles. Klay Thompson has come out and said they basically owe the home fans a show after letting them down in Game 2. Given the Game 5 stompings we’ve seen across the NBA, I love this spot for the Warriors to come out hot, especially if Houston wins and is already waiting for them in the second round. Winning the first half by double digits hasn’t been an issue all series, and that shouldn’t change in the biggest game on their home floor. 

Julian’s NBA Playoffs record: 0-2 ATS

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