Knicks vs. Rockets prediction and odds for Saturday, December 31 (Can Houston pull off upset?)

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The New York Knicks have been struggling mightily as of late, losing five straight games, including back-to-back games without two of the best players in Jalen Brunson and RJ Barrett.

New York has fallen to the No. 8 spot in the Eastern Conference as a result, undoing some of the good it created from an eight-game winning streak earlier this month.

With the New Year approaching, the Knicks are hoping to end their Texas road trip with a win over the Houston Rockets, who come into this game in dead last in the Western Conference.

The Knicks have found new ways to lose games on this trip, falling to Dallas in overtime and struggling to defend against the San Antonio Spurs on Thursday night.

Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau has gone with a short rotation despite Brunson and Barrett being out, and the Knicks looked to have some seriously tired legs on Thursday. Evan Fournier did play against the Spurs, but Thibodeau may need to look for even more bench help if Brunson (hip, questionable) can’t go for the third straight game.

Houston ranks in the bottom four in offensive, defensive and net rating this season, but it has gone 6-10 straight up at home compared to 4-15 on the road.

Can the Knicks enter the New Year on a high note, or does Houston play spoiler like the other Texas squads?

Here are the latest odds for Saturday’s matchup:

Knicks vs. Rockets odds, spread and total

Knicks vs. Rockets prediction and pick

The Knicks have gotten big games from Immanuel Quickley, Quentin Grimes and Julius Randle early in this trip, but it hasn’t mattered with the lack of scoring depth on the roster when Barrett and Brunson are out.

Barrett (finger) won’t play in this game, which means New York is already behind the 8-ball against a Houston team that does have a lot of young scoring talent (Kevin Porter Jr., Jalen Green, Jabari Smith Jr.).

I’m going to get bold with this pick and take the Rockets to win outright at home here. Houston has gone 6-8 straight up as a home dog this season, and I don’t think this Knicks team is nearly as good as this line suggests if Brunson sits.

Sure, the Rockets haven’t profiled as a good team all season long, but the Knicks have really struggled with five straight losses.

Waiting for Brunson’s status before betting on Houston is a good strategy, but I’d still lean with the Rockets, who have been far better at home this season.

Find Peter Dewey’s full betting record here.

Game odds refresh periodically and are subject to change.

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