The NBA season has just passed its halfway point with most teams have played 41 games or more. Bookmakers have released the futures for the NBA Championship again this week.
One team that has fallen short of expectations set during the preseason is the Houston Rockets. The Houston Rockets with a record of 29-17 straight up and 22-22-2 against the spread were on top of the world during the offseason after they swooped in and signed Dwight Howard.
The signing of Howard prompted many sportsbooks, including Bovada to price the Rockets at 10 to 1 to win the NBA title in the 2013-14 season.
While the Rockets are still positioned well to make the postseason currently in fifth place in the Western Conference standings they are 7 games behind first place Oklahoma City.
However, the Rockets are far from being a dominate force in the league and the team is currently 20 to 1 on topbet and betonline. That has them in the second tier of possible title winners beside teams on sportsbook.com such as Golden State at 12 to 1, the Los Angeles Clippers at 15 to 1 and the Portland Trail Blazers at 15 to 1.
Houston however did not sign the most coveted big man and defensive specialist in the NBA to be just a second tier playoff club. Houston is three spots higher in the playoff race for the Western Conference than last year when they finished No. 8, but for the team and its fans, No. 5 seems a bit below par.
Offensively, the Rockets do not have problems. Houston is fifth in the NBA in scoring, averaging 105 points per game and ninth in rebounding with an average of just fewer 45 per game. However, the club is giving up 101 points per game.
The players on the roster appear to be good enough to give Houston an opportunity to make a strong run in the post season. James Harden is averaging 23 points and 5 assists per game and teammate Chandler Parsons is scoring at a rate of 17 per game on the outside.
Howard is working hard on the inside and scores 18 per game, while pulling down over 12 rebounds per game and blocking nearly 2 shots each game.
Certain teams are better when playing a seven-game series like in the playoffs and not individual games each night versus a different opponent. That is still up in the air with regard to Houston.
Houston plays at home on Tuesday versus San Antonio, a team with injuries that have slowed their pace toward the postseason. The Spurs are just a combined 1-10 versus the Clippers, Heat, Pacers, Rockets, Trail Blazers and Thunder, but 32-1 against the rest of the league.
Top 10 NBA Championship Futures
Miami Heat 3 to 2
Indiana Pacers 9 to 4
Oklahoma City Thunder 9 to 2
San Antonio Spurs 10 to 1
Golden State Warriors 12 to 1
Los Angeles Clippers 15 to 1
Portland Trail Blazers 15 to 1
Houston Rockets 20 to 1
Memphis Grizzlies 50 to 1
Minnesota Timberwolves 50 to 1