Cover Photo: Bob Levey/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets came into 2018 looking to finally unseat the Warriors as the top team in the West after coming so close in the Western Conference Finals last year. However, the start to the season hasn't exactly gone as planned. 

The team's big offseason signing of Carmelo Anthony backfired spectacularly and they sputtered to a 4-7 start before parting ways with Anthony and ripping off five straight wins. But as much as the Rockets wish that was the end of the story it's not. 

After getting to 9-7, Houston has now lost four straight and are 13th in the West. Meanwhile, a startling trend has emerged in their games which bettors can take advatage of. 

Both Paul and Harden have struggled with hamstring issues at different times this season and the roster just isn't deep enough to support losing either of them. Losing Trevor Ariza wound up really hurting the team's depth, especially after Carmelo was unable to step in and replace him.

If the Rockets can have both Paul and Harden playing at the same time they should be able to drag themselves back to the pack in the West, but even then it won't be easy. The West nearly goes 13 teams deep this year and a lot of good teams are going to miss out. 

But just remember going forward, if you see Paul or Harden are out, maybe take a look at that day's Rockets game and betting line and look at the team their playing. 

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Ian McCafferty is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Ian McCafferty also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username itmccaff. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.