Sunday, December 1

Sacramento Kings vs Denver Nuggets, 9 am
Kings +4.5

The Kings have rebounded after a very rough start, now sitting 9th in the West with a 7-10 record. Denver continue to be one of the NBA frontrunners, entering this clash with a very strong 13-3 record.

The Nuggets opened as 4.5-point favourites in this one and have received two thirds of the early action. I like the Kings as a home underdog in this spot and will look to fade the public once more.

I think this is simply a case of the market undervaluing the Kings. Their start was incredibly poor, although a lot of this was due to the struggles associated with their pre-season trip to India.

Their numbers have been significantly better of late and I think this holds significantly more weight. Buddy Hield has begun to take control of the offence, while their 5-out style could give Denver’s defence some trouble. They also appear to be getting healthier, with only Trevor Ariza joining De’Aaron Fox on the sidelines for this one.

Similarly, Denver isn’t the same team on the road as they are at home. They do have a 5-1 road record this season, although only one win was against an above .500 team.

This is the only game of their road trip at an early start time in a tough arena to play in, an almost perfect recipe for a letdown game. I expect Sacramento to keep this one fairly tight and especially like them with the insurance of 4.5 points.

Houston Rockets vs Atlanta Hawks, 12 pm
Rockets -13.5

Houston haven’t really passed the eye test this season, yet they still sport a respectable 12-6 record. Atlanta barely resemble an NBA team with all their injuries and they enter this clash at 4-14.

The Rockets opened this one as 13.5-point favourites, getting 67% of the early action. I’m going to agree with the public in this spot and lay this gaudy number with Houston.

This is primarily due to Atlanta’s atrocious defence, primarily on the perimeter. A quick look at their starting lineup would tell you that none of these guys are NBA-calibre defenders.

This is extremely problematic against a side like Houston, where Harden and Westbrook should both enjoy field days. Clint Capela likely won’t go here, but this could actually lead to more small lineups for Houston that run Atlanta off the court.

The Rockets also enter this one with a fair bit of rest, with this clash being their only one over a 6-day period. Atlanta likely enter this one very fatigued after a gruelling OT loss in Indiana last night, with most key players getting 40+ minutes.

I don’t see how they compete with the high-scoring Rockets here, especially if Harden and Westbrook look to put on a show. 13.5 points seems like a lot, but this is the type of game that could be over relatively quickly.