Cris Carter on Rockets: ‘I’m surprised Houston is not more of a favorite than Golden State’

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Reflecting on Vegas giving the Rockets and the Warriors the same odds to win the 2018 NBA championship, Cris Carter explains to Nick Wight and Jenna Wolfe why he believes Harden and CP3's Rockets should be more favored than Golden State.

NICK WRIGHT: And right now the Rockets are better than them. Right? Just listen, right now the Rockets played 41 games with their best three players, Harden, CP3, and Clint Capela. They are 39 and 2 in those games.

To beat the Rockets in a series, you're going to have to beat them four times. Assuming those top three guys are playing, you're going to have to do something in a 7-game stretch that has not been done-- even it's been done half as many times in a 41-game stretch. But what this tells me, because this was shocking to me that I saw that the general Vegas sports book consensus now is Rockets, Warriors even odds. But depending on where you shop the line, it could be a little different. But basically even odds.

What this tells me is Vegas thinks what Chris Broussard thinks is the case, what Chris Carter thinks is the case, and what I have dismissed as a possibility, that the Warriors could possibly get got in the first round. They are baking that into the number that the Warriors without Steph Curry in the first round, that the Rockets might not have to beat them. Because what the doctors are telling that Steph should be fully healthy come round three of the playoffs.

We know that Durant and Klay and Draymond Green, those injuries are not ones you're worried about a month from now. I don't even think they're really worried about those injuries right now. Klay is back. I mean, their guys are back. What this is telling me is-- because I do think if the Rockets and the Warriors face in the Western Conference finals, Vegas would say the Warriors are favorites, whether they should be or not.

Vegas thinks, the public thinks that the Warriors are vulnerable in round one, that a series for them without Steph Curry, even with the healthy Kevin Durant, even with the rest of the roster, that they could lose in round one. And they don't think that about Houston. And that's fascinating to me.

CRIS CARTER: I'm surprised for a different reason. I'm surprised that Houston is not the favorite more so than Golden State. I don't think that they should be even money. I know that Vegas is giving the respect to the Warriors. But Houston has been more consistent.

Steph is out with an MCL. This is week number two. And he could be out as much as six weeks. So for me, even if he does come back-- I know he's not going to be 100%.

Now when doctor tells you to come back between two and six weeks, he talking about for a normal person. A normal person, two to six weeks. He's not saying for you to be playing championship basketball, to be in a highly contested sporting event.

No, that is not baked in there. So I think Houston should be the favorite over Golden State. I don't think there odds should be even.

NICK WRIGHT: CC, you think that Steph, whenever he comes back, that he's not going to be back to 100% this season. Is that correct?

CRIS CARTER: There's no one else we've seen with a MCL. KD talked about it. Steph, when he had it last time, that first week to 10 days, they are not healthy. Like, they are struggling. We talking about the competition, the intensity of playoff basketball. Let's not lose sight of that.

KD was out six weeks and they'll tell you they did not come back healthy. Why we think Steph will come back healthy? Like, this is not a matter of oh, this guys a fast healer. We talking about a ligament to your knee, the MCL. So I do believe he will be hampered throughout the playoffs.