Upset special for Thursday is in Houston as I am taking the Denver Nuggets to beat the Houston Rockets. Read more to see why I think the much recently improved Nuggets have a real shot at winning this game.
Last matchup, since the break, recently
In their last matchup just a couple weeks ago the Rockets handled the Nuggets pretty convincingly with a 14 point win in Denver. Both teams were coming off a back to back, Houston hosted the struggling Pistons while Denver was at San Antonio. I think it is safe to say Denver had the tougher trip out of the two and probably came back a little sluggish. The Nuggets just did not shoot the ball well at 41% for the game and let it get away from them in the 2nd and 3rd quarters. Even at home, where Houston is very good, I don’t see Denver coming in sluggish this time. Their starters are rested and they should be good to go to enact some kind of revenge. Since the break neither team is shooting particularly well with Houston at 43.5% per game and Denver at just below 42%. More recently though in the last three games Denver is shooting the ball better at 44% compared to the Rockets at 43% from the field. Also, in the last three games beyond the arc the Nuggets are also better shooting almost 40% while Houston couldn’t hit the broad side of a barn shooting only 28% from distance (ranked fifth worst is this time frame).
Defensively Denver has been better as well, at least recently. In the last three games the Nuggets are allowing opponents to shoot 43.5% from the field, Houston is allowing just below 45% in that same time frame. From beyond the arc defensively in the last three games the Nuggets have been better as well allowing just 32% compared to the Rockets at 36% from distance. That is actually pretty surprising, and probably surprising to anyone reading this… the Nuggets are playing defense? Well recently yes, and actually over the last month they have simply been a different team.
I kind of liked Brian Shaw, but when the difference is this apparent the move to let him go was the right one. In March the Nuggets are 6-4, their losses… to New Orleans at home (which they avenged the other night in New Orleans), at San Antonio, Houston at home, and at Memphis where they rested three starters. The Rockets are 5-4 for this month, their losses have all been respectable, and they have had a great overall year with arguably the best MVP candidate in Harden. But I think we have the NBA Odds makers in a tough spot for this game having to make Houston a solid home favorite when recent trends indicate this game should be A LOT closer than people think.
I mean of course the Houston Rockets have to be the favorite at home in this spot. They are getting primed for the playoffs while Denver is just trying to finish the season in respectable fashion. It is pretty easy to see the Nuggets are not in any kind of tank mode and I expect them to give Rockets a real run in this game and come out of Houston with a win. Don’t worry about the pretty big line by the NBA odds makers, the value here is with a solid playing Denver team right now that should come in for a little revenge. Recently they are playing as well as anyone, and statistically overall they are playing better than the Rockets, shooting better, playing better defense and causing more turnovers in the last three games. Go ahead and take the big road dog with confidence on the plus money line for your NBA picks.
NBA Pick: Denver plus money line at BetOnline