10 Fun Over/Under Bets for Rockets-Thunder

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We're hours away from what some are calling the most compelling 1st round series of the 2017 NBA Playoffs. With that, comes a lot of intrigue and excitement for what should be an entertaining series.

What also comes with that is a lot of fun little bets that you can play with your friends and family as you watch this series. Let's take a look at what to watch out for.

  1. How quickly the word 'MVP' gets mentioned in the first broadcast

Over/Under line set at 1 minute into the game

The single biggest reason this series is grabbing a lot of intrigue and why it was given the primetime 8:00 PM TNT time slot (Central) is the duel between leading MVP candidates James Harden and Russell Westbrook. This is without a doubt going to be mentioned on the broadcast, but the real question is, how soon? We're setting the over/under line at one minute here because there's a good chance that the broadcasters have some restraint and avoid the subject until a later time in the game, and there's a good chance restraint gets thrown out the window. We'll let you decide.

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2. The number of 3s Ryan Anderson makes in the 1st Quarter of the first game

Over/Under line set at 2.5 threes

Ryan Anderson's been known for starting off the game either really hot or really cold, so this bet could be a lot of fun. James Harden and the Rockets make it an effort to go to him early in the game. Now whether or not he makes the threes early or later in the game is a real hit-or-miss. We're going to set the line at a simple 2.5 threes and let you gamble on that.

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3. Number of assists James Harden gets in the 1st half of the first game

Over/Under line set at 5.5 assists

James Harden likes to get his teammates involved early in games. We've seen very early on in the season that he could rack up anywhere from 4-9 assists in that opening half. A lot of this really depends on if the Rockets hit a lot of their early 3s or if James decides he's going to take advantage of a mismatch early on and get his. Capela being able to take advantage of a Thunder team that knows he likes to feed off of those lob passes from James is also something to worry about. Have the Thunder properly game planned for that? Will the Rockets get hot early? Will James look to score early? Again, you decide.

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4. How long does it take Patrick Beverley to piss Russell Westbrook off?

Over/Under line set at 24 Patrick Beverley minutes

There's going to be a point in this series where Patrick Beverley pisses Russell Westbrook off. There just is. It's inevitable. It will almost assuredly happen. These guys have a very real history including the time Patrick Beverley may have inadvertently tore Westbrook's meniscus. The real question is, how soon? We set the line at the first 24 minutes Patrick Beverley plays in this series and what that's really saying is "Do you think that happens in the first game or does Westbrook tolerate his stinginess past that point?". If you bet the over, it could also mean, "I think it happens in the first game, but later on in the game.". The interpretation and decision is really up to you.

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5. How many fights/scuffles in this series?

Over/Under line set at 3.5 fights

This one's an interesting one, because it could really go either way. Patrick Beverley, Russell Westbrook, Steven Adams, and Nene Hilario are all a threat to get into a scuffle at some point in this series. Beverley is a pesky defender that likes to get into the grill of point guards like Russell Westbrook. Steven Adams is an irritant down-low that gets away with a lot of sneaky stuff with his body (as does Beverley). This number could be underselling the potential altercations that could come up in this series and it could also be doing the opposite as the officials could adjust to tensions and control the series.

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6. How quickly do we get the "The Thunder are X-Y when Russell Westbrook records a triple double" line?

Over/Under line set at the 1st half of Game 1

This is a statistic that has been cited into the ground as a defense against the criticism that Russell Westbrook chases triple doubles (spoiler: he does.). There is no doubt in my mind that this stat will be read at some point in the series. The question you have to ask yourself is, "Can they hold off until halftime or not?"

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7. When do we get a mention of Oscar Robertson in the broadcast?

Over/Under line set at three minutes into the game.

Russell Westbrook accomplished a historic feat this season. There's no doubt about that and nobody can or will refute it. Westbrook is the first person since Oscar Robertson in 1961-62 to average a triple double. Robertson also recently endorsed Russell Westbrook for MVP. Combined with the fact that James Harden is also averaging numbers the NBA hasn't seen since Oscar Robertson, there's a 400% chance his name gets mentioned in the first broadcast. We're setting the line at the first three minutes of the game and what you're really gambling on here is how much restraint is shown to mention his name. Good luck.

8. How many triple doubles get recorded in this series?

Over/Under line set at 5.5 triple doubles

James Harden and Russell Westbrook accounted for a combined 64 triple doubles this season. The rest of the league had 53 total. This one's interesting because there are so many factors going into it. Will this be a long series? Will James and Russ chase triple doubles if they're close? How many minutes will each guy log? I think this will be one of the more fun ones to watch out for.

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9. How many 3s will the Rockets make in this series?

Over/Under line set at 75.5

The Rockets like to shoot a lot of 3s and they tend to make a lot of them now that they have rebooted their roster up countless gunners. For some context, the Houston Rockets attempted 40.3 threes per game in the regular season and made 14.4 of them. Questions you have to ask yourself are:

A) How long will this series last?

B) Will the Rockets up their 3-PT attempts in the playoffs?

C) How well does OKC chase Houston off the line?

This is by far my favorite bet on the table, because I genuinely don't know how this goes myself.

10. How many games does this series last?

Over/Under line set at 5.5 games

This is probably the most serious bet on the table. There's a lot of variance in how this series goes down. It could either be short (which is how many projection models expect it will go) or it could go long, which wouldn't be a surprise at all considering 3 out of the 4 regular season matchups were decided by small margins. If the Rockets make their 3s and keep the pace up, there's just no way the Thunder can keep up given their limited offensive firepower. However, if the Thunder grind the games down, muck it up, and stay aggressive on the glass, the Thunder have definite upset potential or at least the potential to make this a long series.

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