NBA Betting – Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers Game 1

Written by:
Phil Simon
Published on:

The Houston Rockets don’t have a lot of time to enjoy their opening series win. Just two days after ousting Oklahoma City in a grueling seventh game, the Rockets are right back in the fire taking on a rested LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 1 of the Western Conference semifinals on Friday. Having a few extra days off probably doesn’t mean much since the Lakers and everyone else had plenty of time to recuperate during the lockdown. The fatigue factor could hinder the Rockets, who need to get the offense going against a stingy Lakers defense. Opening lines saw the Lakers positioned as a 6.5-point favorite after they rattled off four straight wins to oust Portland in the first round.  Bookmaker.eu is offering a generous welcome bonus (max bonus $1600)

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Houston Rockets vs. Los Angeles Lakers 

Date and Time: Friday, September 4, 2020, 9 p.m. ET 

Location: ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, Lake Buena Vista, FL 

Opening NBA Odds: Lakers -6.5 / OU (check back later) 

Rockets vs. Lakers TV Coverage: ESPN

Odds Analysis

If the opening line of Lakers -6.5 holds it will be the biggest in favor of LA against Houston since the 2012 season. There were some lean times for the club in between so it only makes sense. Oddsmakers and backers are hoping an extended amount of rest benefits the Lakers. When they tipoff on Friday it will be five full days between games. There are different ways to look at it, however. Some players like to keep running to stay sharp while others enjoy the down time. James could use the break since his days of competing for championships are numbered. The rest also gave him time to work on his social justice crusade. 

After accomplishing their goal of securing the No. 1 seed in the West early in their bubble stay, the Lakers tiptoed through the seeding games. They were favored in all eight games going 3-5 SU and 1-7 ATS. After losing the playoff opener to Portland the Lakers rattled off four straight wins going 3-1 ATS. The Rockets squeaked by OKC in the opening round but they went just 1-4 ATS over the last five games. Betting the UNDER on the Rockets has been a profitable endeavor. They fell below the total in the last three games with OKC and the UNDER is 10-5 inside the bubble.

Houston Rockets

It’s hard to imagine the Rockets winning with defense, but that’s exactly how they escaped their opening round series. “Offensively I played like shit,” James Harden said about his Game 7 performance against OKC. It’s hard to argue with his assessment after the Beard was 4 of 15 from the field and 1 of 9 from three-point range for 17 points. Instead of sulking due to his lack of offense, Harden turned in the biggest play of the game – on defense. 

Up by two with just seconds left, Harden blocked a potential go-ahead three-pointer by Lu Dort that turned out to be the decisive play. It’s great that the defense stepped up at a big moment, but the Rockets will need to score more and shoot the ball better against the Lakers. And that’s going to be a difficult challenge. Houston took two of three from LA during the regular season, including a 113-97 win inside the bubble when Harden scored 39. The outcome is misleading since the Lakers let up after securing the top-seed, and they sat James in that one.

Los Angeles Lakers

Just how much will the down time affect the Lakers in the opener? It looked like they were just starting to hit their stride with four dominant wins over the Blazers to close out that series then all of a sudden, bam. The season is on hold again. Not four months like the COVID lockdown, but a full five days off in the NBA is an eternity. The ultimate goal was to win the series, but James wanted to see his club improve from the dismal seeding games and the upset in the opener. 

“We got better throughout the course of the series. We knew we were playing a hot Portland team. We wanted to get better and better as the games went on and I believe we did that,” said James, who had a 36 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists in the clincher. The Lakers also got 43 points from Anthony Davis. The two combined hit 28 of 37 overall from the field and 8 of 13 threes. 

Bet Rockets vs. Lakers at BookMaker.eu

Houston’s small-ball approach has given the Lakers fits this season. The Rockets won at Staples back in February employing the unusual lineup for the first time and they won again a few weeks ago inside the bubble. Don’t get too ecstatic, though. The Lakers are hitting their stride and Houston is coming off an exhausting series with OKC, which has me leaning toward LA.

NBA Score Prediction: Lakers 115, Rockets 108

Access live betting lines from your mobile device at BookMaker sportsbook! Real-time spreads, totals, props and money line are all available so start betting with BookMaker today.

- Phil Simon, Gambling911.com

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