NBA Pick on Denver Nuggets to Cover vs. Houston Rockets

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, March 19, 2015 6:10 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 19, 2015 6:10 PM UTC

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay side that has a better chance of cashing than its spread, offering long term value. Here is their Side Value Play for Thursday.


It could be a closer game than the point spread implies in the Lone Star State Thursday night when those Denver Nuggets (26-42, 10-23 away) pay a visit to the Houston Rockets (45-22, 25-8 home) at the Toyota Center in Houston, TX at 8:05 ET in a game available on ROOT - Southwest.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Denver as a road underdog for this contest with the current line at +7 with odds of -108.

Rockets Shooting for Second Seed in West
The Rockets have now moved up to the third seed in the powerful Western Conference after a big road win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday followed up by a home win over the Orlando Magic on Tuesday. This has allowed Houston to pull to within 1½ games of the Memphis Grizzles for both first place in the Southwest Division, a division that has a chance to send all five teams to the playoffs, and for second place in the conference.

The Nuggets are not going to the playoffs this season for the second straight year after hardly ever missing the playoffs under former coach George Karl, who was fired and replaced by Brian Shaw before the start of last season. However, Denver underperformed badly as NBA picks under Shaw with a 36-46 record last season and it was sitting at 20-39 this year when Shaw himself got the axe and was replaced by interim coach Melvin Hunt.

Coaching Change Helped Spur Nuggets On
The problem with Shaw was he was trying to force a system predicated on half-court offense and defense, which ran counter to how the Nuggets used to play under Karl and clashed with the personnel on the team. Well, Hunt has basically let the team loose since taking over and with positive results as Denver is 6-3 straight up and 7-2 ATS since the coaching change, in fact currently riding a five-game ATS winning streak.

And the Nuggets are doing this vs. stiff competition too as this streak includes outright upset wins over the Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks, who happen to be the top seeds right now in their respective conferences, and even in a 92-81 loss to the Grizzlies on Monday, Denver still covered the 12½-point spread despite Ty Lawson, Kenneth Faried and Danilo Gallinari all sitting the game out.

The latest word is that the Nuggets will play with a full roster tonight though with no players getting any rest, and that loss to Memphis marked the first time in the nine games under Hunt that the Nuggets did not reach 100 points, which does not figure to repeat itself tonight with Denver having its full allotment of players.

Rare Off Night for Harden
The Rockets were victorious to open this home stand despite the leading scorer in the NBA James Harden not having a typical night vs. the Magic. Harden is averaging 26.7 points but he had only 17 points on 4-for-14 shooting from the field in the victory. Fortunately Harden did not need to carry the load that night as Houston had six players in double-figures, led by 23 points from Donatas Motiejunas, just the fourth time this year that he has topped 20 points.

Neither Harden’s off night or the big night by Motiejunas figure to be repeated here, so those two factors should wash each other out. Also, Houston is a perfect 3-0 both straight up and ATS vs. the Nuggets this year, but that may work against the Rockets in this spot now that Denver is finally starting to play up to its full potential under Hunt and that could make it a dangerous team in triple revenge mode.

Besides, it is not as if the Nuggets have to win this game on the court for us to cash this ticket, and their current form suggests that they are certainly capable of taking this game down to the wire now at full strength.

Denver Had Dominated Series ATS
Finally, the Nuggets had been 9-1 ATS in the previous 10 meetings overall and 5-1 ATS in the last six meetings here in Houston prior to this season, and perhaps Denver is now ready to resume that ATS dominance with the not so well-liked Shaw out of the picture.

With all of this in mind, we recommend taking the points with the Denver Nuggets when they visit Houston on Thursday.

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NBA Pick: Nuggets +7 (-108)

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