NBA Picks: Rockets vs. Nuggets

Steven Suarez

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 4:33 PM GMT

James Harden aims to lead the Houston Rockets to a big road win over the Denver Nuggets tonight. What are the NBA odds looking like and which avenue should we take with our NBA picks?

Odds Overview

The Nuggets are favored by four points at a majority of the NBA odds shops and their backers will hope they can improve on their 26-20 ATS overall mark this season. Houston will come in with a 24-22-1 ATS record.

As two of the elite offensive teams in the league, the O/U of 217.5 shouldn't come as too much of a surprise to you. Keep in mind though that the UNDER has gone 3-0-1 in the past four head-to-head meetings between these teams. Does that mean that a play on the total is in order tonight?

[gameodds]5/157393/43/us[/gameodds]

Houston Rockets

Following a rough patch earlier this month, the Rockets have responded to win four of their last five games, three of which were by at least 13 points or mo.

Three of those four victories also came on the road, including Monday night's 125-80 annihilation of Utah. The Rockets shot 52.8 percent overall and made 16 threes, building up such a large lead by the third quarter that they were allowed the luxury to rest their starters.

Despite playing just under 28 minutes, James Harden ended up with 25 points on 8-of-15 shooting, while Jeremy Lin, Chandler Parsons, Patrick Patterson, Carlos Delfino and Marcus Morris all hit double figures too. Omer Asik was a monster on the glass, hauling down 19 rebounds in just 26 minutes of work.

It's about time Houston started covering some spreads. The Rockets have now cashed in three straight, but are still just 3-9 ATS over their last 12 matchups overall. They're also a miserable 2-7 ATS in their previous nine road affairs.

One thing we know is tonight's game versus Denver will be far more challenging than what the short-handed Jazz offered up the other night.

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets are on a nice little run of their own, having won four straight (3-1 ATS) coming into tonight.

For the most part, the competition has been tough too. Denver topped Oklahoma City (121-118) and Indiana (102-101) at home and then beat Houston on the road just one week ago.

The win over the Pacers came on Monday and was about as close as you can get. Paul George fouled Andre Iguodala with one second left and Iggy was able to knock down one of his free throws to give the Nuggets a one-point win.

Iguodala finished with 13 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists, but Danilo Gallinari and Ty Lawson were equally, if not more impressive. Gallinari hit 9-of-16 shots for a game-high 27 points, while Lawson contributed 18 points, seven dimes, four boards and five steals.

Looking at Denver's home record, you have to like their chances of pleasing their backers against Houston. So far this season George Karl's team has gone a rock-solid 18-3 SU inside the Pepsi Center.

NBA Pick

The Nuggets have had Houston's number this season, winning each of the two meetings both straight up and against the spread.

Are we looking at another Denver W tonight?

We believe so. The Nuggets are one of the few teams in the NBA that have the athleticism on the perimeter to at least contend with Harden. Plus, too many times we've seen a disappearing act out of Jeremy Lin, and that kind of uncertainty is scaring us off a little.

Lin and Harden make up one of the worst defensive backcourts around, so we fully expect Lawson to have a field day out there tonight. The Nuggets are also likely to have Wilson Chandler available, who had been providing instant offense for the team before going down with a groin injury.

The fact Denver has gone 13-8 ATS at home this season, with Houston at 10-13-1 ATS on the road, is icing on the cake. We're laying the points and backing the Nuggets. Good luck!

NBA Pick: Denver Nuggets -4