NBA Game for Monday: Denver Nuggets at Houston Rockets
From the opening tip-off this NBA Season, the Western Conference has been a whole lot tighter than anyone really expected. Given how things went down there last season, the expectation was that it would once again be the Houston Rockets and the Golden State Warriors battling it out for a top spot, but that has not been how things have played out.
The Warriors are in that mix, but after a terribly slow start to the season, the Rockets are still sitting off the pace. The good news for Houston fans, though, is that the Rockets seem to have finally rediscovered their mojo and are now back above the playoff line and going after the teams at the top. The team that they need to run down right now are the Denver Nuggets, who are somewhat surprisingly maintaining the lead in the conference. The Nuggets currently own a 4 ½ game lead over the Rockets, and while they are on a positive winning streak heading into this one, they are on the road to a Rockets team running hot right now. Houston are favored by 1½ points, with the O/U set at 215½.
Why bet on the Denver Nuggets?
It is certainly a little surprising to see the Denver Nuggets atop the Western Conference, but they have reached a point now where they have convinced the skeptics that they might be there to stay. The Nuggets are now a game and a half clear at the top, and they are showing no signs of slowing down, winning each of their last 5 games. They are now winners of 8 of their last 10 games, although this is a team that has been a whole lot better at home than they have on the road. That said, the Nuggets do still have a winning record away from home, going 10-8 to this point in the season. The big concern here for the Nuggets is that they have struggled in recent seasons against Houston, losing each of the last 8 meetings, including a 109-99 defeat earlier this season.
Why bet on the Houston Rockets?
The Rockets appear to be finally coming to life, although they are still 4½ games out of first place after getting off to a poor start to the season. They are coming into the new week off a loss, but they are still a very respectable 8-2 in their last 10 games. Despite their early season struggles, the Rockets have remained very steady at home, going 13-5 in their own building. We have already talked about the domination that the Rockets have had over the Nuggets in recent season, but they have been particularly dominant at home, as you need to go all the way back to 2015 to find the last time that Houston lost to Denver at home.
Expert Pick and Final Score Prediction
This game is not going to have a huge impact on the standings, but Houston can edge a little bit closer to the top with a win here. Given the recent meetings between these two, it really is tough to see the Rockets losing this one.
Predicted Score: Denver Nuggets 107 | Houston Rockets 110
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