For the second time this season, the Denver Nuggets square off against the Houston Rockets, so I’ve prepared the best betting pick and odds for their Western Conference showdown at Toyota Center in Houston on Friday night.
Back in December, the Nuggets outlasted the Rockets as 6.5-point home favorites, 124-111. This time, Denver is an 8.5-point road fave on William Hill Sportsbook, while the totals sit at 224.5 points. The Nuggets are without Jamal Murray who’s done for the season due to a knee injury. On the other side, the Rockets are without six players including Sterling Brown, Eric Gordon, and Danuel House.
The Nuggets smashed Miami to stop a two-game slide
The Denver Nuggets (35-20; 27-28 ATS) are coming off a 123-106 victory to the Miami Heat this past Wednesday, easily covering a 5.5-point spread to stop a two-game losing streak. Nikola Jokic put on a show once more and posted a triple-double of 17 points, 10 rebounds, and 11 assists, while Michael Porter Jr. added 25 points and 10 boards.
In their first game without Jamal Murray, the Nuggets looked sharp offensively, making 53.9% of their field goals and 47.2% of their 3-pointers. Also, Denver dished out 32 assists while turning the ball over just 11 times.
The Nuggets remain the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference, three games behind the third-seeded LA Clippers and only one game ahead of the fifth-seeded LA Lakers. Denver desperately needs a home-court advantage in the first round of the playoffs, as Murray’s injury was a massive kick in the teeth.
The Rockets’ free fall continues
The Houston Rockets (14-41; 18-37 ATS) are on a four-game losing streak following a 132-124 defeat to the Indiana Pacers this past Wednesday. They failed to cover a 3.5-point spread, so the Rockets are now only 1-9 straight up and 4-6 ATS in their last ten games overall.
Houston failed to cope with the Pacers on both sides of the ball. The Rockets shot 46.2% from the field and 29.4% from downtown while allowing their opponents to make 53.2% of their field goals and 41.7% of their triples.
John Wall (20.9 PPG, 6.9 APG) and Christian Wood (21.2 PPG, 9.6 RPG) continue to lead the way for the Rockets, while Kelly Olynyk has averaged 17.8 points and 8.5 boards per game over his last ten outings. The Rockets are half a game ahead of the worst team in the league and will look to develop their young players for the rest of the season.
- 7-4 ATS in the last 11 games overall
- 6-13 ATS in the last 19 games overall
- 3-16 ATS in the last 19 games at home
The Rockets will try their best to upset the odds, but I’m expecting the Nuggets to cruise despite Jamal Murray’s absence. Denver needs to show mental strength and continue to work hard on both sides of the ball. The Nuggets possess great depth and love to share the ball, so they should easily beat this Houston team.
Denver is 4-2 ATS in its last six outings as a fave of 8.5 or more points. The Nuggets failed to cover in their previous six visits to Toyota Center, and this is an excellent opportunity for Mike Malone’s boys to snap that skid.
Pick: Take Denver Nuggets -8.5 at -110
The total has gone over in six of the Rockets’ last seven outings including the previous four. Furthermore, in six of the Rockets’ previous seven outings, they’ve surrendered 122 or more points, so I have to go with the over in this one.
While Houston plays at the fifth-fastest pace in the league (101.2 possessions per 48 minutes), Denver’s pace is the second-slowest (96.7). The Nuggets won’t mind pushing the ball in transition against the Rockets who’s been yielding the most fast-break points per game this season.
Pick: Go over 224.5 points at -110