Houston and Denver should be very familiar with each other heading into the January 26th NBA betting pick as they just met up on Wednesday. The Rockets prevailed 121-105 in that contest as -10.5 favorites at the Toyota Center. It was the 6th straight game in the series that the home team has won – and all by double digits. Is that enough for a Denver -1.5 wager on Sunday?
Houston Aims for Consistency
The Rockets seem to be turning things back around after an unprecedented 4-game losing streak, but it’s still a bit too early to throw trust completely back on Mike D’Antoni’s team. Houston scored a 131-124 win in Minnesota on Friday and dominated the Nuggets by 16 on Wednesday to post two straight wins.
The Houston back court dominated in the win over Denver last week as Russell Westbrook (28), James Harden (27), and Eric Gordon (25) had over half the team’s total points. Denver has gotten starting SG Gary Harris back last game, but are still missing PG Jamal Murray. The Nuggets are also a bit banged up in the front court so a big afternoon from Clint Capela should be forthcoming.
There are a couple reasons to like Denver in the January 26th NBA betting free pick. The first being they are at home, where the Nuggets have gone 17-6 this season and the host has won 6 straight in this series. The other lean towards Denver comes from the fact that Harden could miss Sunday’s meeting after suffering a thigh injury on Friday. Houston goes to Utah on Monday so resting Harden for the back-to-back may be the plan.
Nuggets Fighting Through Injuries
Denver is getting healthier in the back court with Harris’ return, but injuries to Paul Millsap (knee) and Mason Plumlee (foot) have left them a bit thin in the post. The Rockets held a 53-40 rebounding advantage in Wednesday’s meeting as a result.
Despite the Nuggets’ rash of injuries, they have held their own with a 7-3 record over the last 10 and have a 2.5 game lead over the Rockets for 4th place in the Western Conference. A possible ailment to Harden could even up the playing field for Sunday as well.
Then again, Harden has struggled shooting lately, making just 33.3% of his shots over the last 5 which includes 6 of 44 from three point range. The last thing Denver might want is more usage from Westbrook, who has gone for 30+ in 6 of the last 7 including 42 points Friday against the T’Wolves. One big boost Denver should see on Sunday is Michael Porter, Jr. in the lineup. He missed the last meeting with Houston but has 20/14 and 15/10 off the bench the last two.
January 26th NBA Betting Pick
A slight edge goes to Denver (52%) from public betting, thanks in part to the injury to Harden and the fact the game is at the Pepsi Center. The Nuggets are just 2-6-2 ATS their last 10 home games though and Houston has covered in 8 of 10 meetings. Even if Harden is out, Westbrook has been an animal over the last two weeks and Eric Gordon has 25 and 27 points the last two.
Pick: Houston Rockets +1.5