Jordan’s NBA Picks: 26-13
Monday, 8 p.m. EST
Free NBA Pick: UNDER
Best Line Offered: BetOnline
While a lot has been made of the Rockets’ recent turnaround, the Nuggets have been playing well all season despite some serious injuries to their high-value players. Will this underrated nature come into play for the Nuggets on the road in Houston on Monday evening?
Nuggets’ Growing Prowess
Even though the Nuggets just got through a pretty cupcake part of their schedule, they have still been putting up impressive numbers along the way, regardless of their opponent. After losing two in a row sandwiching Christmas, the Nuggets have won their last five games SU. They are only 2-3 ATS during that stretch, but heading into a game where they are dogs makes this a lot different game to handicap.
The Nuggets are 6-4 ATS this season when playing as underdogs and they are a solid 4-4 ATS as road underdogs. Compare that to Houston who has also been great in their current spot. The Rockets are 11-6-1 ATS playing at home and 9-6-1 ATS playing as a home favorite.
With all things considered for both teams and their current spots, the spread is probably a no play at this point. With both teams playing well, it’s hard to tell which one will have the value coming in with such a small spread. My heart says the Nuggets are the play, but with James Harden playing like he is, I’m laying off the spread and going with a play on the total.
The Sharp Pick
Even though the Nuggets have gone on an over cashing spree as of late, I don’t really trust it at this point. They were playing against four lottery teams and with that in mind they probably relaxed some on defense and used their superior offense to win those games.
However, they will not be able to play that way on Monday against the Rockets. Denver will need to bring out their best defensive effort and I think they will. Denver has cashed the under at 13-8-1 against conference opponents and they have the league’s fourth-best defensive rating of 106.4 in conference games.
Coincidently, when the Rockets play against Western Conference opponents this season, they drop down in pace pretty considerably to just under 97 possessions per game.
If the Nuggets and Rockets make this a half court affair without a lot of fast breaks, the under is going to have some value. Houston doesn’t play a lot of defense, if any, but they held Denver to 99 points the last time they played them.
Denver is a lot healthier now than they were in mid-November and I see that only helping their defense by replenishing their depth. Look for a slower paced game than conventional wisdom suggest. I see the Nuggets holding this hot Rockets team to under 115 points.
Final Score Prediction: Nuggets 108 – Rockets 111