The Houston Rockets, fresh off a Game 7 victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday, take on the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference Semifinals on Friday evening. James Harden and Russell Westbrook lead the way for Houston, with LeBron James and Anthony Davis starring for Los Angeles. James (groin), Davis (finger) and Rajon Rondo (back) are listed as probable for the Lakers, with the Rockets entering the series with no key injury concerns.

Tip-off is at 9 p.m. ET in Orlando. William Hill lists the Lakers as 6.5-point favorites, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 224 in the latest Lakers vs. Rockets odds. Before you make any Rockets vs. Lakers 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 $5,000 in profit on its top-rated NBA picks this season. It entered the week on a blistering 60-33 run on top-rated NBA spread picks, returning almost $2,400 on those picks alone. It’s also a sizzling 10-2 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. Lakers. You can visit SportsLine now to see the picks. Here are the NBA odds from William Hill and trends for Lakers vs. Rockets:

  • Lakers vs. Rockets spread: Lakers -6.5
  • Lakers vs. Rockets over-under: 224 points
  • Lakers vs. Rockets money line: Lakers -280, Rockets +240
  • LAL: The Lakers are 3-7 against the spread in the last 10 games
  • HOU: The Rockets are 3-7 against the spread in the last 10 games

Why the Lakers can cover

The Lakers earned the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference with a dominant regular season and, after a brief hiccup in Game 1 against the Blazers, Los Angeles cruised to the second round. James, averaging 27.4 points, 10.2 rebounds and 10.2 assists per game in the postseason, is still perhaps the game’s best player, and Davis, averaging 29.8 points and 9.4 rebounds per game, is also among the NBA’s elite. Together, the duo helps to fuel one of the most potent two-way teams in the NBA, ranking in the top eight in both offense and defense in the regular season. 

Los Angeles has a significant advantage with size and physicality in this series and, in addition, the Lakers are the well-rested team after an extensive break in the action. The Rockets needed to expend considerable energy to sneak past the Thunder, and the Lakers will be well-prepared as a result.

Why the Rockets can cover 

This series presents a fascinating contrast in style, with the Rockets using a small-ball approach against a larger, more physical opponent. Houston features a dynamic offense, led by Harden, and the former NBA MVP is averaging 29.7 points and 8.0 assists per game in the postseason. The Rockets surround Harden and Westbrook with shooting, including Robert Covington, who converted 50 percent of his three-point attempts against the Thunder in round one. 

Defensively, Houston has been quite effective, leading the NBA Playoffs in defensive rating and finishing with a top-five turnover rate in the regular season. The Rockets will need to increase the variance associated with a bevy of three-point attempts but, if they can convert, the math swings in their favor against a Lakers team with perimeter shooting challenges.

How to make Lakers vs. Rockets picks

SportsLine’s model is leaning under on the total, with Kyle Kuzma and Westbrook projected to fall short of their season-long scoring averages. The model also says one side of the spread hits well over 50 percent of the time. You can only get the pick at SportsLine. 

So who wins Rockets vs. Lakers? And which side of the spread hits in well over 50 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Lakers vs. Rockets spread to jump on, all from the advanced model that is up over $5,000 on its top-rated NBA picks this season, and find out.

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