(0-0, 0-0 ATS)
Oklahoma City Thunder
(0-0, 0-0 ATS)
The 2010 NBA betting campaign gets started for the Chicago Bulls and the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night, as two of the youngest, bright teams in the league will meet to kick it all off.
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The Bulls have covered nine of their last 11 road games and are 6-2 ATS in their last eight overall, but this is a totally different challenge this year. Though this is a team that many think can win the Eastern Conference this year, there are clearly some deficiencies. G Keith Bogans is going to be starting the year as the shooting guard for this team, which is going to be the big question mark on the team. We already know that G Derrick Rose has the potential to be a real superstar in this league. Rose averaged 20.8 points per game last season to go with 6.0 assists per game, and he has been even stronger against the Thunder. In four career games, the former Memphis Tiger is averaging 21.5 points per game. F Carlos Boozer was the big pickup for the offseason, but he is going to be missing at least the first month of the season. C Joakim Noah has the flu, but no one is expecting him to be out of the lineup on Wednesday.
There are some question marks on Wednesday for the Thunder, but in all likelihood, both C Nenad Krstic and F Nick Collison are going to be ready to go by the time the ball is thrown into the air. As always, the man to watch when you’re talking about the Thunder is F Kevin Durant. The NBA’s leading scorer from last year averaged 30.2 points per game, and after improving by roughly five points per game in each of his first three seasons in the NBA, the potential is there to absolutely blow the NBA to bits. He has played well in six games against the Bulls in his career, shooting 47.5 percent from the field with a scoring average of 24.2 points per game. Still, this isn’t a one man band in Oklahoma City. The Thunder can rely on G Russell Westbrook, F Jeff Green, and G James Harden to pick up the slack when the Texas Longhorn is on the bench. Westbrook took a major step in the right direction in his second year in the NBA, as he improved to 16.1 points and 8.0 assists per game against just 3.3 turnovers per game on the season in 2009-10.
The Thunder are laying a lot of points in this game, and we aren’t ones to go against Chicago in this situation. Oklahoma City knows that it is going to have the NBA odds stacked against it all season long by the oddsmakers, as this is the trendy pick to win the championship. However, we know that these two teams are a heck of a lot more even than the oddsmakers are implying here. Run with the Bulls in NBA betting action on Wednesday and hope for at least a close call.
NBA Free Pick: Chicago Bulls +6