Prediction, Preview, and Odds
#519 Houston Rockets 225 vs.
#520 Denver Nuggets -1
Wednesday, November 20, 2019 at 9:05pm EST
Pepsi Center, Denver
Written by Nick Raffoul

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W/L
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#519 Houston
#520 Denver
11-3
9-3
47-43-3
49-47
43-46-4
44-52
113
110
108
106

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The Denver Nuggets will host James Harden and the Houston Rockets at the Pepsi Center on Wednesday night as they try to push their current winning streak to three games.

The Rockets (11-3) have quieted the skeptics by winning eight in a row following a 3-3 start to come into this matchup in second place in the Western Conference standings. Houston has yet to lose a game against a Western Conference opponent (8-0) and they are 5-2 on the road in seven games away from the Toyota Center. Meanwhile, Denver enters Wednesday’s game in third place with a 9-3 overall record through 12 games. Can the Nuggets stop the red-hot Rockets at home on Wednesday?

Harden putting offensive arsenal on display

Houston pushed its current winning streak to eight games on Tuesday, taking down the Portland Trail Blazers 132-108. James Harden finished with 36 points while Russell Westbrook had 28 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists for the Rockets, who have not lost since Nov. 3.

Through 13 games, the combination of Westbrook and Harden has been enough to mask Houston’s flaws. Harden, who is in the midst of one of the best offensive seasons in the last 60 years, has put fear in opponents with his sheer scoring ability. Through 14 games, the Rockets’ star is scoring 39.2 points per game, shaking off a slow start from the field to enter with respectable shooting percentages. Harden comes into this matchup missing more 3-pointers per game (9.4) than any other player in the league has attempted. He’s averaging a league-high 14.3 attempts from deep per contest, which is going to be scary for the league once his shooting percentages regress back towards his career averages. In 10 November games, Harden is scoring 40.2 points while shooting 44.2 percent from the floor and 38.4 percent from 3-point range.

The Rockets waived veteran forward Ryan Anderson on Monday after he appeared in only two of the team’s first 14 games. The 31-year-old was a key starter for the Rockets from 2016-2018 but he’s struggled to rekindle his stroke from long-range since leaving the franchise. He shot just 22.5 percent from deep with the Phoenix Suns and Miami Heat in 2018-19 and that number was down to just 20 percent in two games with the Rockets this year.

Houston comes into Wednesday’s matchup ranked as the NBA’s best offensive team with an offensive rating of 112.7 through 14 contests. They also rank fifth in the league in net rating at +5.5 so far this year.

Barton turning into a star in Denver

Jamal Murray exploded for 39 points in a 131-114 victory over the Memphis Grizzlies on Sunday night to help the Nuggets win for the sixth time in their last seven games. Paul Milsap added 23 points for Denver, which shot 18-for-32 from long-range and got 46 points from its bench in the win. Murray was fresh off a 1-for-11 performance against Brooklyn but bounced back with a big game, finishing with a season-high in points to go along with eight assists and zero turnovers in three quarters of action. He did not play in the fourth with Denver hanging on to a comfortable 28-point lead.

Through 12 games, Will Barton has been arguably the Nuggets’ most important player. The 3-and-D swingman has taken hold of the starting small forward job in Denver by scoring 14.8 points and averaging 7.4 rebounds per game while shooting 46.2 percent from 3-point range.

While Barton has taken a step forward in his development, fellow backcourt mate Gary Harris has seen his scoring average dip for the second straight season. Once considered one of the best two-way guards in the NBA, Harris is averaging just 10.7 points on 41.3 percent shooting from the field, both of which are his lowest marks since his rookie season in 2014-15.

Best Bets for this Game

Full-Game Side Bet

Insiders Status:

Rating:

The Rockets have covered the spread in six of the last seven meetings in this series and four of their last five trips to the Pepsi Center. Harden has been heating up and he’s scoring 42.7 points per game on the road this year. Houston has won eight in a row while the Nuggets have been underwhelming despite getting out to a 9-3 start. Jokic hasn’t been the dominant force NBA fans have become accustomed to and the Nuggets come into this game playing at the slowest pace in the NBA.  Take the Rockets to cover the number on the road in this matchup between Western Conference contenders on Wednesday night.

Prediction: Houston Rockets +2

Full-Game Total Pick

Insiders Status:

Rating:

These teams are pegged for 223 points, which seems a bit high considering how slow the Nuggets have been playing this season. Houston and Denver rank No. 3 and No. 30 in pace, respectively, so expect this game to be played at more of an average tempo. As long as Jokic is on the floor, the Nuggets are going to try to slow the game down and Denver has enough athletic defenders to throw at Harden and Westbrook in this game. That has me leaning towards the under in this Western Conference battle on Wednesday night.

Prediction: Under 223
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Written By Nick Raffoul

Shortly after graduating with an Honors in Business Administration, Nick turned his attention from traditional stocks and bonds to investing in the performance of sports teams. And has now joined our team here at Winners & Whiners. Nick uses a combination of advanced stats and historical data to create sports investment models to identify value and generate consistent profits. Let Nick win for you.