Thunder vs. Rockets Game 1 Predictions, Odds, Preview

NBA Video Picks
Tuesday, August 18, 2020

  • August 17, 2020
  • By Kevin Rogers

Betting Resources

Betting Odds - Thunder vs. Rockets

Point-Spread Odds

  • Thunder -1.5
  • Rockets +1.5

Money-Line Odds

  • Thunder -125 (Bet $100 to win $80)
  • Rockets +105 (Bet $100 to win $105)

Total Odds

  • Over 225.5
  • Under 225.5

Series Odds

  • Rockets -155
  • Thunder +135

The Thunder are favored in Game 1 but Oklahoma City is listed as an underdog to win the series. (AP)

Inside the Betting Stats

(Straight Up - SU, Against the Spread - ATS)


  • Oklahoma City: 44-28 SU, 44-28 ATS
  • Houston: 48-28 SU, 33-39 ATS


  • Oklahoma City: 4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS
  • Houston: 4-4 SU, 4-4 ATS

The Rockets and Thunder finished with the same exact record on the season, although Houston is listed as the fourth seed. It's no surprise that the Rockets were a top-four seed in the Western Conference, but the Thunder entered the season with a win total of 32 after the departures of Russell Westbrook and Paul George in the offseason.

However, Chris Paul reignited his career after getting traded from Houston to Oklahoma City for Westbrook and will see his former team in the opening round of the playoffs. The Thunder also put together the best ATS record in the league at 44-28, which included 26 covers away from Oklahoma City. Inside the bubble, the Thunder won three games by double-digits, including an impressive blowouts of the Lakers and Jazz. Also, OKC lost two games in overtime to the Nuggets and Clippers, as the Thunder finished 1.5 games behind Denver for the third seed in the West.

Houston has advanced past the first round of the playoffs in each of the last three seasons, as the Rockets are seeded in the top four of the West for the fourth straight season. Westbrook is sidelined with a quad injury for at least the series opener against his old squad and is questionable for Game 2. The combination of Westbrook and James Harden put up over 60 points per game, which is the highest among any scoring duo in the league. Harden led the NBA in scoring at 34.3 ppg for the third consecutive season, while topping the 40-point mark twice in the bubble. The Rockets began the bubble with wins in four of their first five games, but dropped their final three contests, including the final two without Westbrook.


Over-Under Total Notes

Totals Report


  • Oklahoma City: 34-37-1 O/U
  • Houston: 30-42 O/U


  • Oklahoma City: 4-4 O/U
  • Houston: 2-6 O/U

The Thunder allowed 94 points to the Jazz and 86 points to the Lakers, resulting in an early 2-1 mark to the 'under.' OKC gave up 121 points or more in three of the eight bubble games, including losing two games by 25 points or more to the Suns and Grizzlies. Amazingly, the Thunder had the rare 'under' in an overtime contest in the season finale loss to the Clippers in a 107-103 setback on a 225 total.

The Rockets deal with high totals all the time due to their living and dying by the three-point attempt. Houston cashed the 'under' in three games with totals of 239 points or more, while only one contest sailed 'over' the total in regulation, coming against Sacramento in a 129-112 win on a 235 total. The Rockets also hit an 'over' in the bubble opener against the Mavericks in a 153-149 overtime triumph, but that game was easily on an 'over' pace as Dallas led, 85-75 at halftime.

Thunder vs. Rockets Head-to-Head

2019-20 Regular Season

Jan. 20, 2020: Oklahoma City (+7.5) 112 at Houston 107, Under 230.5
Jan. 9, 2020: Oklahoma City (+3.5) 113 vs. Houston 92, Under 227.5
Oct. 28, 2019: Houston (-10) 116 vs. Oklahoma City 112, Over 227.5

The Thunder cashed in all three regular season matchups with the Rockets, including two outright victories in the underdog role. Houston's lone win over Oklahoma City came in the opening meeting in late October, 116-112 at Toyota Center. The Thunder jumped out to a 13-point advantage after one quarter and a 10-point halftime edge, but the Rockets took over in the third quarter by outscoring OKC, 39-18. OKC grabbed the cover as 10-point 'dogs, in spite of Harden scoring 40 points for the Rockets, 21 of which came at the foul line.

Oklahoma City rolled past Houston in the second matchup in early January, 113-92 as 3.5-point home 'dogs behind a 37-21 lead after the first quarter. Harden struggled from the floor by shooting 5-of-17 and scored 17 points, but Westbrook put up a solid showing in his return to Oklahoma City with 34 points. Paul scored 18 points for the Thunder, while Danilo Gallinari paced OKC with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

The Thunder picked up the season series victory less than two weeks later by holding off Houston, 112-107 at Toyota Center as 7.5-point 'dogs. The Rockets were cruising along by holding a 16-point lead heading to the fourth quarter before OKC rallied back to outscore Houston, 41-20 in the final 12 minutes as Paul put together a 28-point effort in the win. Harden scored 29 points, but misfired on 16-of-17 three-point attempts, while Westbrook posted a triple-double in the loss (32 points, 11 rebounds, 12 assists).

Key Injuries

Oklahoma City

  • None


  • Russell Westbrook: Quad - Out

The loss of Westbrook for at least Game 1 definitely puts a damper on this series with the former MVP unable to face his old team early on. Westbrook sustained the quad injury against the Blazers on August 4 and missed the following two game, a pair of blowout wins over the Lakers and Kings. The Rockets' guard played 28 minutes in a loss to the Spurs and sat out the final two games of the restart. Eric Gordon will likely start in Westbrook's place for Game 1, while early indications are Westbrook's earliest return will be Saturday for Game 3.

Game 1 Best Bet Pick

The Thunder opening as a favorite here after being listed as an underdog in the first three meetings against the Rockets says a lot. Harden can't carry the Rockets all by himself and he struggled from the floor in all three matchups. Paul knows the Rockets very well and his Thunder supporting cast is strong and has proven it can cover numbers all season.

Prediction: Thunder 115, Rockets 111