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NBA Betting: Houston will show Golden State their Championship credentials by seeing off Toronto

NBA Betting: Houston will show Golden State their Championship credentials by seeing off Toronto

The Rockets' impressive win streak has provoked talk of title contention - time for Harden & co to back that up, starting with the Raptors

POP quiz: the top team in the NBA’s Western Conference is…?

Not the Golden State Warriors. Remarkable when the reigning champions have lost just one of their last ten games and are on pace for another 65-win campaign. But they have been usurped by the Houston Rockets who extended their victory streak to 17 with Wednesday’s defeat of the Milwaukee Bucks.

One which moved them one win ahead of the Dubs – and improved their average points differential to +8.9 per game, 0.3 better than their now-presumed title rivals. And there’s been no soft schedule for Houston with their vanquished foes including the likes of Oklahoma City, Boston, Minnesota and Cleveland.

While James Harden is scoring a league-high 30.9 points per game, there’s been a wide contribution that’s elevated the Rockets to second in scoring overall at 114.0 per night while ranking 12th in defence.

What’s impressed most – and what might, at the very least, have Golden State concerned – is how Chris Paul has belatedly settled following his stop-start beginning. The point guard is averaging 18.8 points, just above his career average, while proving a smooth fit alongside Harden in the backcourt.

Come the Western Conference Finals, should the Warriors be waiting, that will provide a deliciously intriguing scrap – even if Houston remains 4.00 for that prize and GSW remaining a cut price 1.35.

But Friday night is one to watch when the Rockets visit the Toronto Raptors, currently leading the East and on a six-game streak. With both full of confidence, look over 225.5 total points. Beyond now though, all will be all building to the playoffs, Paul admitted.

"This is a veteran team. We don't even talk about the streak, we hoop, we just keep trying to build game by game. You see us during the game, sometimes we get on each other and all that stuff like that, but we don't get on the plane and not talk to each other, you know what I mean? We understand that it's big picture and we're just hoopin'."

Yet 5.50 on Houston for the championship is not bad value at all. Within the Warriors camp, there is an admission that the gulf between them and the rest. Not as dominant. Not as consistent off the bench. A little older.

It’s still hard to pick against Golden State. But if they slip, no doubt the Rockets are ready for lift off.

Best bet: Take Houston over Toronto by - 3.5








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Mark Woods
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