Game 5 Predictions & Odds: Thunder vs. Rockets

  • August 28, 2020
  • By Michael Crosson

After the pair was expected to play on Wednesday evening, the short break from the players halted action in the NBA Bubble. Despite the two-day hiatus, the NBA Playoffs will get back into gear on Saturday Aug. 29 nd all eyes will be on the 4-5 matchup in the Western Conference between Houston and Oklahoma City.

The Rockets captured the first two games in the series by double-digit margins but the Thunder have rallied for back-to-back victories, one coming in overtime and the other decided by just three points.

Betting Resources

  • Matchup: Western Conference Game 5
  • First Round Series: Series tied 2-2
  • Expert Picks: Vegas Insiders
  • Venue: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex
  • Location: Orlando, Florida
  • Date: Saturday, Aug. 29, 2020
  • Time: 6:30 p.m. ET
  • TV: TNT
  • Bet: BetMGM | BetRivers | FanDuel | PointsBet | All

Oklahoma City has matched the small-ball style of Houston and that has helped the club capture victories in the last two games. (AP)

Betting Odds - Thunder vs. Rockets

Line Movements

Despite losing two straight games to the Thunder, the Rockets still opened as two and a half-point favorites for Game 5, and we are seeing that number climb up to three and a half points at most books with the majority of the early action backing Houston to bounce back. As of Saturday morning, the Rockets are up to -5 at most betting shops.

We have seen the peak ‘over-under’ for this contest climb to 226.5 for Game 2 and stoop down to 223 for its lowest point in Game 3, but the total finally returns to what it opened at in Game 1 following consecutive ‘overs’, which is a healthy line of OU 225. Similar to money on Houston, the 'over' got some cash and the number is up to 227.5 for the evening tip-off.

Good value on the money line coming up in the Game 5 contest as the Thunder have managed to knock off Houston in consecutive games, but still cash as +126 underdogs despite the ambiguity regarding Russell Westbrook’s availability for the fourth seed.

Game 4 Recap

The Rockets looked like the far better team in the first two contests of this Western Conference first round series, but the last two contests of this seven game set tightened up, and we saw Oklahoma City emerge as victors in both games that contained “clutch” moments in them.

Oklahoma City was only able to muster up an average of 103 points in the first two games of this series, but seem to have figured out how to get through the center-less Houston defense by now, scoring 119 and 117 in its last two contests.

A big part of those scoring outbursts are thanks to Thunder sixth-man Dennis Schroeder, who went for 30 points in Game 5, pacing his team in scoring.

It takes a lot to knock off James Harden in a playoff series, but if OKC continues to muster up offensive performances similar to their previous two games, there is no doubt they have a shot of being the team that advances from this series.

Game 4 Betting Results

It was a great Game 4 for bettors taking the 'over' as the pair combined for 62 points in the first quarter and 120 by halftime. The pace slowed down and the Thunder did just enough to pull away for the victory as a three-point underdog.

Outcome: Thunder 117 Rockets 114

  • Game: Thunder Win, Thunder Cover (+3), Over 223.5
  • First Quarter: Rockets Win (37-35), Rockets Cover (-1), Over 58
  • First-Half: Tied (60-60), Thunder Cover (-1.5), Over 117.5
  • Second-Half: Thunder Win (57-54), Thunder Cover (+2), Under 115

Thunder vs. Rockets
How to Handicap Game 5

(SU-Straight Up, ATS - Against the Spread, OU - Over-Under)

Thunder Betting Outlook

Inside the Stats

  • Overall: 46-30 SU, 46-30 ATS, 38-37-1 O/U
  • Bubble: 6-6 SU, 6-6 ATS, 7-5 O/U

A team that was originally supposed to be in the middle of a rebuild and expected to deal players at the trade deadline now has the series knotted up 2-2 with a potential title-contender, and heads into Game 5 with a boat-load of confidence following consecutive victories in this Western Conference opening round.

Oklahoma City has the best record in the NBA in the clutch this season (31-15), and much of that can be chalked up to Chris Paul being the league leader in “clutch points,” racking up over 120 points in crunch-time during the regular season.

This Thunder team is loaded with guys who thrive on taking big shots, and are going to make a really tough out for the Rockets, especially if they continue to play without Westbrook. We saw emotions flare up between old teammates all over the court in Game 4, I expect this contest to be a doozie as well.

Rockets Betting Outlook

Inside the Stats

  • Overall: 46-30 SU, 35-40-1 ATS, 32-43-1 O/U
  • Bubble: 6-6 SU, 6-6 ATS, 5-7 O/U

The Rockets broke their own NBA record of most 3-point field goals attempted in a playoff game, jacking up 58 3-pointers in their 117-114 Game 4 loss on Saturday.

When Westbrook sits out for Houston, the offense tends to become one-dimensional, relying on the three-ball for the majority of its points, and we are seeing a glaring example of that demonstrated by their inconsistency over the first four contests in this series.


Houston came out of the break banging eight straight long balls in the third stanza, but finished the half under 40% behind a 3 for 18 cold-spell, ultimately losing them the contest.

The Rockets are still capable of beating anybody without Westbrook, it just becomes more like rolling dice, as you never know how Houston is going to come out and shoot from deep and can feel like riding a literal roller coaster at times during games.

I think the Rockets are by far the better team in this series and should ultimately win it, but I am personally electing to stay away from siding with Houston until Russ is back on the floor and looks healthy.

Key Injuries

Oklahoma City

  • SG Deonte Burton: Illness - Game Time Decision


  • SF Luc Mbah a Moute: Knee - Game Time Decision
  • PG Russell Westbrook: Quadriceps - Probable

The Rockets were hoping to get Westbrook back for Game 4 but opted to play it safe and sit him out as they still owned a 2-1 heading into Monday.

If Russ is physically able to play, I expect him to suit up for Game 5 with the series now knotted up; him being listed as a 'probable' should be a positive indication of his status moving forward.

Game 5 Best Picks

These teams have cashed ‘over’ tickets in three out of four contests in this series, and one of those ‘overs’ came in a contest in which Oklahoma City scored just 108 points. The Thunder have averaged 118 points in their last two contests with Houston, and I think we get more of that on Tuesday night.

But not necessarily a third straight OKC victory. Give me the ‘over’ here as I expect these teams to soar over 225 total points for a third straight contest.

Score Prediction: Rockets 119, Thunder 117