Houston Rockets vs. Denver Nuggets: Spread, Line, Odds, Predictions, Picks and Betting Preview
HOUSTON ROCKETS VS. DENVER NUGGETS GAME INFORMATION
Time: 9 p.m. ET
Venue: Ball Arena
TV Coverage: NBA League Pass
HOUSTON ROCKETS VS. DENVER NUGGETS MONEYLINE, SPREAD, TOTAL, AND ODDS
Moneyline: Rockets +260 | Nuggets -320
Spread: Nuggets -7.5
NBA Championship Odds: Nuggets +1600 | Rockets +8500
Odds courtesy of Fanduel Sportsbook. Sign up for FanDuel Sportsbook today and get your first bet risk free for up to $1,000!
HOUSTON ROCKETS VS. DENVER NUGGETS NEWS AND NOTES
The Nuggets enter this contest at essentially full strength. JaMychal Green is still out after injuring his calf during the preseason. Green is expected to see some minutes off the bench when healthy, but his absence has virtually no impact.
On the other side, it’s almost easier to say who the Rockets will have available for this contest. They are still dealing with a host of absences due to COVID-19 and COVID-19 contact tracing, and they’ll be without John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Eric Gordon, Ben McLemore, Kenyon Martin Jr., and Mason Jones vs. the Nuggets. They had just nine available players in their first game of the season, and they will have a very similar rotation in this contest.
The absences for Houston are all of varying degrees of importance. Wall, Cousins, and Gordon were expected to serve as some of the Rockets’ top options offensively, while McLemore averaged 22.8 minutes per game off the bench last season. All of those absences mean that James Harden and Christian Wood will likely have to carry the load offensively, while role players like Jae’Sean Tate and David Nwaba will also be forced into larger roles in the rotation.
HOUSTON ROCKETS VS. DENVER NUGGETS PREVIEW AND PICK
The Rockets were seriously outmanned in their first game of the season, but they still managed to keep that game competitive. They ultimately lost by just two points to the Blazers in a game that went to overtime. They actually led by one with just 15 seconds left, but C.J. McCollum hit a 3-pointer to end the game.
Their offense was carried by Harden and Wood, with both players combining for 75 points, 20 assists, and three rebounds. Both players were ultra-efficient as well, combining to shoot 26 for 44 from the field.
Even though the Rockets are shorthanded, they should continue to be competitive as long as Harden is in the lineup. He is basically a one-man offense with the way he plays basketball. He finished ninth in the league in touches per game last season, and he averaged 0.41 points per touch. No other high-volume player in basketball even came close to that number.
Harden is capable of picking apart defenses in multiple ways. He can beat you with his scoring – no one in the league is as good at getting to the free-throw line and generating open 3-pointers – and he can beat you by setting up his teammates for easy buckets. He posted an assist rate of 68.7% and a usage rate of 34.6% in his first game of the year, but he can take on more volume as a scorer if needed.
The Rockets have also been excellent as underdogs since the start of the 2018 season. They’ve gone 19-13 against the spread in that situation, including a ridiculous 9-1 when getting at least five points.
Add it all up, and I think the Rockets are getting too many points here. The Nuggets are a good team – particularly at home – but they’re not as good as the current spread suggests.
The Pick: Rockets +7.5