James Harden, Russell Westbrook and the Houston Rockets (39-20) will visit Madison Square Garden on Monday evening in a cross-conference battle against the New York Knicks (18-42). The visiting Rockets will look to build on positive recent performances, with the Knicks aiming to play spoiler. New York will be without Dennis Smith (concussion) for this game, with Reggie Bullock (illness) listed as questionable.
Tip-off is at 7 p.m. ET at Madison Square Garden. Sportsbooks list Houston as a 9.5-point road favorite, holding steady from the opener, while the over-under, or total number of points Vegas thinks will be scored, is 230.5 in the latest Rockets vs. Knicks odds. Before making any Knicks vs. Rockets picks or NBA predictions, see what SportsLine's advanced computer model has to say.
The SportsLine Projection Model simulates every NBA game 10,000 times, and last season it returned a whopping $4,280 on its top-rated spread and money line picks. It's already returned well over $3,000 in profit on all top-rated NBA picks during the 2019-20 season and entered Week 19 a blistering 47-30 on all top-rated spread picks this season. Anybody who has followed it has seen huge returns.
- Rockets vs. Knicks spread: Rockets -9.5
- Rockets vs. Knicks over-under: 230.5 points
- Rockets vs. Knicks money line: Rockets -483, Knicks +371
- HOU: The Rockets are 4-1-1 against the spread in the last six games
- NYK: The Knicks are 2-4 against the spread in the last six games
Why the Rockets can cover
The model has factored in that the presence of Harden and Westbrook flips things in Houston's favor. Harden is averaging 34.9 points, 7.3 assists and 6.4 rebounds per game, operating as one of the game's best offensive players. Westbrook is playing tremendous basketball in his own right, averaging 27.6 points, 7.9 rebounds and 7.2 assists per game.
All told, Houston's offense ranks in the top 10 in shooting efficiency, turnover avoidance and free-throw rate, with even better marks since the trade deadline. Defensively, the Rockets aren't quite as potent, but Houston does have strengths, and New York enters Monday's tilt with one of the NBA's worst team-wide offensive profiles.
Why the Knicks can cover
Even so, Houston isn't a lock to cover the Rockets vs. Knicks spread. The model has also considered that New York is a better home team than it is on the road, performing at a clip of 3.2 points per 100 possessions better at Madison Square Garden than away from home. The Knicks are an elite offensive rebounding team and, against a Rockets team that is playing small and vulnerable on the defensive glass, that could be a tremendous edge.
New York is also a top-10 defensive rebounding team, which should help to limit extra opportunities for the Rockets. Julius Randle leads the Knicks in scoring, averaging 19.3 points and 9.6 rebounds per game, and his physicality and size could present issues for a Houston team is willingly giving up bulk for versatility.
How to make Rockets vs. Knicks picks
SportsLine's model is leaning under on the total, with Harden and Kevin Knox projected to underperform their scoring averages. The model also says one side of the spread hits in almost 70 percent of simulations.
So who wins Rockets vs. Knicks? And which side of the spread hits in almost 70 percent of simulations? Visit SportsLine now to see which side of the Knicks vs. Rockets spread you need to jump on Monday, all from the model that has crushed its NBA picks, and find out.