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Superstar Backcourts Highlight Portland-Houston Showdown

Portland vs Houston Betting Odds

James Harden is torching the NBA right now, and up next is a Portland team that gives up the most points per game to opposing backcourts but also boasts its own superstar guard in Damian Lillard. With two high-octane offenses, this matchup has the makings of a classic shootout.

Matchup Information
  • Portland Trail Blazers vs Houston Rockets (Matchup Report)
  • Date/Time: November 18, 8 p.m. ET
  • TV Coverage: TSN 2, NBC Sports Northwest, AT&T Sportsnet Southwest
  • Opening Odds: Houston -6.5 | O/U 231.5 (Line History

Opening Odds Analysis

The Rockets opened as 6.5-point home favorites, which seems a little low considering how well they have played recently, while Portland has really struggled of late. With both clubs heavily powered by their backcourts, and both teams also struggling to guard opposing backcourts, the total opened on the higher end at 231.5 points.

Portland News & Notes

The Blazers got a much-needed win Saturday against San Antonio, but seeing as it was only their second victory in their past eight games, Portland is still mired in a disappointing start to the season.

The Blazers go into Monday’s game sitting last in the Northwest Division at 5-8, and a lack of healthy frontcourt players is a key reason why. Four of Portland’s top five scorers are guards, as Jusuf Nurkic, Zach Collins and Pau Gasol are all injured — draining it of its depth.

The injuries have forced Portland to sign veteran free agent Carmelo Anthony to hopefully provide some depth scoring from the frontcourt. He isn’t expected to debut until Tuesday at the earliest, however, so we will likely see more of the Damian Lillard/CJ McCollum show for Monday’s showdown against Houston’s vaunted backcourt.

Houston News & Notes

Houston is as hot as any team right now, having won seven straight games, while there is nobody as hot as James Harden right now … this season or possibly ever.

Harden torched Minnesota for 49 points in a 125-105 win on Saturday. It was his third straight game eclipsing the 40-point mark, and he’s now up to 39.5 points per game on the season. Harden also chucked 41 shots in that game, the most in the NBA this season and his career high, which plays right into his NBA-high 41.4 percent usage rate.

Despite all the attention and action for Harden, Russell Westbrook — Houston’s other superstar guard — is also quietly having another all-around great season. He didn’t play Saturday due to a rest game, but he’s averaging 21 points, 8.0 rebounds and 6.8 assists per game.

Both Westbrook and Harden will look to keep things rolling against a Portland defense that yields an NBA-worst 84.9 points per game to guards.

Betting Pick: OVER 231.5

These are arguably two of the best backcourts in the NBA, and both teams struggle to stop opposing guards. Harden, Lillard, Westbrook and McCollum should all dominate … and that means lots of points getting scored.

Shark Bites
  • Portland is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games.
  • Houston is 4-1 SU in its last 5 home games vs Portland.
  • The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Houston’s last 5 games vs Portland.