After a blowout victory in Game 5, the Houston Rockets will aim to secure a Western Conference first-round series win over the Oklahoma City Thunder in Game 6 on Monday. James Harden leads the way for the Rockets, with Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander serving as the focal points for the Thunder. The injury report is relatively clean for both teams, with only Luc Mbah a Moute (knee) listed as out for Houston.

Tip-off for this 2020 NBA Playoffs matchup is at 9 p.m. ET in Orlando. William Hill lists Houston as a 5.5-point favorite in the Rockets vs. Thunder odds, while the over-under for total points scored is 225.5. Before making any Thunder vs. Rockets picks, be sure to see the NBA predictions from SportsLine’s proven computer model.

The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and it’s already returned over $4,700 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks this season. It entered last week on a blistering 59-33 run on top-rated NBA spread picks, returning almost $2,300 on those picks alone. It’s also 7-2 on top-rated picks since the NBA’s restart in July. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.

Now, the model has set its sights on Rockets vs. Thunder. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the NBA odds from William Hill and trends for Thunder vs. Rockets:

  • Rockets vs. Thunder spread: Rockets -5.5
  • Rockets vs. Thunder over-under: 225.5 points
  • Rockets vs. Thunder money line: Rockets -245, Thunder +205
  • HOU: The Rockets are 5-5 against the spread in the last 10 games
  • OKC: The Thunder are 5-5 against the spread in the last 10 games

Why the Rockets can cover

Though Houston is largely viewed as an offense-first team, it is defense that is carrying the Rockets to this point in the series. Mike D’Antoni’s team leads the 2020 NBA Playoffs in defensive rating, allowing 101.8 points per 100 possessions, and Houston’s switch-heavy scheme has been effective against the Thunder. Part of that overall effectiveness is Houston’s ability to maintain a reasonable level on the defensive glass, allowing only a 25.5 percent offensive rebound rate, and the Rockets also rank No. 4 in the playoffs in forcing a turnover on 15.2 percent of possessions. 

Offensively, Houston still deploys a high-powered unit, with Harden, Russell Westbrook and Eric Gordon serving as an intriguing, three-headed monster of shot creation. The Rockets lead the playoffs in turnover rate, giving the ball away on only 10.8 percent of possessions, and Houston also leads the way in 3-point volume, attempting 52.8 shots per game from beyond the arc. 

Why the Thunder can cover 

The Thunder are comfortable playing in high-leverage situations, leading to optimism in a must-win scenario. Oklahoma City led the NBA in what the league defines as clutch situations during the regular season, outscoring opponents by a mind-blowing 24.4 points per 100 possessions. That mark comes with elite metrics on both offense and defense and, when combined with Paul’s reputation as an elite closer, the Thunder should be in a strong position if they can keep things close. 

Defensively, the Thunder rank as a top-10 team in the NBA for the full season, with encouraging metrics against the Rockets in this series. Oklahoma City leads the NBA Playoffs 2020 in defensive rebounding and, if they can provide resistance against Houston’s shot creators, the Thunder should be in a favorable spot. However, the Thunder must improve in terms of offensive output, including a return to the team’s top-10 turnover rate in the regular season, instead of a faulty bottom-five ranking in the playoffs. 

How to make Rockets vs. Thunder picks

SportsLine’s model is leaning under on the total, with only one player projected to hit the 20-point mark in this matchup. The model also says one side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations. You can only get the pick at SportsLine. 

So who wins Thunder vs. Rockets? And which side of the spread cashes well over 50 percent of the time? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Rockets vs. Thunder spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up over $4,700 on its top-rated NBA picks this season, and find out.


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