The Houston Rockets (22-11) will have their hands full against the NBA’s top scoring defense when they meet the Denver Nuggets (23-9) at Toyota Center. The game starts at 7 p.m. ET on Tuesday, December 31, 2019, and will air on NBATV.
Denver Nuggets at Houston Rockets Free Prediction
The last time the Nuggets played, they topped the Sacramento Kings, 120-115, but they were unable to cover as 8-point favorites. The total points for the game (235) finished well over the projected point total of 207. The Nuggets made 28 of their 31 free throws (90.3 percent) and had an offensive rebounding percentage of 27.8 (above their season average of 24.6). Denver was led by Will Barton, who had 19 points and five assists.
The Rockets were beaten by the New Orleans Pelicans in their last game, 127-112. They were not able to cover as 5-point underdogs. The game’s total points (239) were well over the O/U total of 223. New Orleans’ 7.7 turnover percentage was their biggest advantage over Houston, who had a rate of 15.9. The Pelicans’ mark was better than their season average of 13.1, while the Rockets’ was above their season average of 12.4. Houston’s Isaiah Hartenstein recorded 19 points and nine rebounds in the game.
This will be the second game of the season between these two teams. James Harden had 27 points, seven rebounds and seven assists in the first matchup, in which the Rockets lost 105-95, unable to cover as 1.5-point underdogs. The game finished with a total of 200 points, which was 21.5 points below the projected point total of 221.5 points. The Nuggets had a much better turnover percentage (12.2 vs. 18.7) and had a much better offensive rebounding percentage (30.6 vs. 21.4).
Denver is 23-9 straight up (SU), but they have a hard time covering the spread (11-16-5 against the spread (ATS)). Of the Nuggets’ 32 games, 20 have finished under the O/U total.
Meanwhile, Houston is 22-11 SU and 17-16 ATS. Similarly to Denver, Rockets games also tend to finish under the total (57.6 percent).
It will be a matchup of conflicting tempos as the up-tempo Rockets (ranked second in the NBA in possessions per game) will look to push the more half-court-oriented Nuggets (27th in possessions per game).
Denver Nuggets vs. Houston Rockets Odds Pick
NBA Tip: ATS Winner – Nuggets, O/U – Under
Denver is 5-6-2 ATS on the road with 8 unders and 5 overs.
Houston is 7-8 ATS at home with 8 unders and 7 overs.
In games where they hold opponents below 100 points, Houston is 3-0 and Denver is 10-1.
The Nuggets are 21-5 when they reach the century mark, while the Rockets are 22-10.
Denver ranks fourth in fast break points allowed per game (11.8) while Houston ranks last (16.5).
The Nuggets average 26.6 assists per game, which ranks fourth in the league. The Rockets rank 28th in assists allowed per game (26.0).
Houston ranks first in three pointers attempted per game (44.9) while Denver ranks 24th (30.3).
The Nuggets rank first in points off turnovers allowed per game (14.2) while the Rockets rank 24th (18.5).
Denver ranks eighth in points in the paint per game (48.8) while Houston ranks 23rd in points allowed in the paint per game (50.4).
The Nuggets rank fourth in second chance points allowed per game (11.8) while the Rockets rank 16th (13.2).
Houston ranks fifth in rebounds per game (47.3) while Denver ranks 16th (45.3).
The Nuggets rank 11th in steals per game (8.0) while the Rockets rank 18th in steals allowed per game (7.9).
Over its last five contests, Denver is 1-3-1 ATS with 4 overs and 1 under.
Houston is 3-2 ATS with 3 unders and 2 overs over its last five games.
The Nuggets’ average margin of victory in their last five games has been 5.6, up from 5.2 for the season.
During their last five games, the Rockets have scored an average of 115.2 points per game (3.9 below their season average) and allowed an average of 114.0 points per game (0.3 below their season average).