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Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets Predictions, Picks and Preview – 2015 NBA Playoffs, Western Conference First Round Game 1 – April 18, 2015

Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets Predictions, Picks and Preview – 2015 NBA Playoffs, Western Conference First Round Game 1 – April 18, 2015

The Houston Rockets nabbed the second seed in the West on the final day of the regular season. The Rockets beat an overmatched Utah Jazz team, 117-91, while also benefitting from New Orleans’ upset of the San Antonio Spurs. But can Houston manage to get past the first round after back-to-back early exits over the past two seasons? The Rockets have a date with the tough Dallas Mavericks to sort it all out.

Read on for everything you need to know heading into this matchup of two of the league’s best offenses. There’s plenty more intriguing matchups in the NBA playoffs. Check out our complete preview for the Spurs vs. Clippers and Warriors vs. Pelicans.

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Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets Preview

Series Scores & Schedule

Game 1- April 18, 9:30 PM ET, Dallas Mavericks (+5.5) at Houston Rockets (-5.5); total: 210.0 – view all NBA lines

Game 2 – April 21, 9:30 PM ET, Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets

Game 3 – April 24, 7:00 PM ET, Houston Rockets at Dallas Mavericks

Game 4 – April 26, 9:30 PM ET, Houston Rockets at Dallas Mavericks

Game 5 – April 28, TBD, Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets

Game 6 – April 30, TBD, Houston Rockets at Dallas Mavericks

Game 7 – May 2, TBD, Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets

Betting on the Dallas Mavericks

There’s plenty going on in this Mavericks-Rockets first round matchup. For one, there’s Dirk Nowitzki and Tyson Chandler facing their former teammates Corey Brewer and Jason Terry in the 2011 NBA Championship-clinching squad. But the spotlight will also be on Chandler Parsons in this series. Parsons spent his first three seasons at Houston before signing an offer the Rockets wouldn’t match last summer.

[sc:NBA240banner ]Parsons hasn’t had the best of performances against his former team. He’s averaging just 13.3 points on 45 percent shooting (39 percent from three-point range) in four games against Houston this season. On the season, he’s averaged just 15.7 points per game, almost a point less than his final year as a Rocket.

But Parsons’ decrease in production may be attributed to how Dallas spreads out its offense among its stars. Nowitzki is averaging 17.3 points per game this season, while Chandler chips in 10.1 points per game. They’re led by the excellent play of swing man Monta Ellis who leads the team with 19 points per game.

Here’s where Rajon Rondo comes in. The former Celtics star has plenty of weapons at his disposal in the Mavs’ loaded roster. He’s averaging 7.9 assists per game this season. But his passing skills don’t seem to translate that well at Dallas. He’s averaging just 6.5 assists per game with the Mavs compared to 10.8 with the Celtics earlier in the season.

Lingering injuries may also limit Ellis and Parsons from the best of their abilities. Parsons has missed the last five games of the regular season due to a knee injury, while Ellis has been bothered by a banged up hip. Ellis averaged just 11.6 points over the last five games.

The Mavs are 3-1 SU/ATS in their last four on the road.

Betting on the Houston Rockets

James Harden just barely missed the regular season scoring title this season. The Houston star finished with 27.5 points per game, good for second in the league. The Rockets live and die by Harden’s play, which was of an MVP-caliber this season. He leads the Rockets in points, assists (6.9) and minutes (36.9) per game.

The Rockets will need Harden to be playing at an MVP-level throughout the series, especially with both Patrick Beverley and Donatas Montiejunas out for the playoffs. But Harden will also need help from the finally healthy Dwight Howard in the paint. Howard is averaging 15.8 points and 10.6 rebounds per game in just 41 games this season. He should help the Rockets match up against Dallas’ frontcourt heavy roster.

Having the Mavs focus on containing Howard inside should leave plenty of room for their three-ball-heavy approach. The Rockets are making a league-best 11.4 three-pointers per game this season. Dallas has one of the worst three-point defenses this season (37 percent, 27th in the league), so the Rockets should be able to light up the scoreboard from deep. Houston has averaged 13 three-pointers in four regular season games against Dallas.

Houston has plenty of players such as Harden, Trevor Ariza and Jason Terry who could shoot some timely threes. Harden and Ariza are making more than two three-point field goals per game against Dallas this season, while Terry has been a steady shooter all-season long (39 percent from downtown).

The Rockets are 4-1 ATS in their last five games against Dallas.

Writer’s Prediction

The Rockets take Game 1. Create a betting account now and brace for an explosive NBA postseason.

Series: Houston in seven games.

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Written by Kevin

Sports Betting Tips, News, and Analysis