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Thunder Rockets Betting Tips – Harden, Rockets Look To Show More Life In Rematch Versus Thunder

Posted by Craig Parsons on 12/27/2012 6:05:54 PM

The Oklahoma City Thunder failed to capitalize on their shot against the defending NBA Champion Miami Heat on Christmas Day. While they may not be ready for the biggest stage just yet, Oklahoma City look like the sports betting favorites to represent the west this season. The Thunder are back on the road this weekend for a showdown against a Western Conference rival, set to go up against a very familiar face opposite James Harden and the Houston Rockets. Oklahoma City had no trouble taking the first meeting between these teams with a 22-point win back in late November, but this time it’s in Houston.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Houston Rockets
Saturday December 28, 2012 – 8:00 PM ET
Toyota Center, Houston, Texas
NBA Sportsbook Line: Oklahoma City Thunder – 4.5

Harden and his teammates have to be hoping that home court advantage and a more focused effort will work in their favor this time around. Harden scored just 17 points on 3 of 16 shooting from the field in his return to Oklahoma City, and will need much better production this time around.

NBA Betting Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder

The first time these teams met, Kevin Durant went off for 37 points, while Serge Ibaka chipped in with 23 points, six blocks, and nine rebounds. Russell Westbrook finished with 14 and 9 but was largely overlooked thanks to Durant and Ibaka dominating. Kevin Martin scored 17 off the bench to match Harden’s total for the game even despite playing fewer minutes and taking lesser shots, and that only added to the argument that the Thunder won that Harden trade. Oklahoma City has proven it can take on the best from its own conference, now it’s about working hard to get to that next level for the chance to take out the defending NBA champions.

NBA Betting Preview: Houston Rockets

Harden’s inconsistencies have hurt his overall value, as he has definitely slowed down following a tear to open the season. Patrick Patterson led the way with 27 points in the initial meeting and while Houston will need more of the same from its big men, they can’t afford for Harden and Jeremy Lin not to be their best player on every night. Lin managed just six points and was a minus-12 in that loss to the Thunder, and it will be on that tandem to step up and prove they were worth the investment as they clash against the best that the conference has to offer.

NBA Betting Preview: Outlook & Pick

Harden and Lin have undoubtedly had their moments this season and are a big reason the Rockets are contending for a playoff spot. However, basketball fans in Houston want to see this duo that the franchise to that next level, and that is something they aren’t ready to do just yet. Oklahoma City is too strong and has too many weapons to attack with at both ends of the floor, and the online betting spotlight created by the Harden trade will only give them that much more reason to show up with another big performance.

NBA Betting Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder

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