Oklahoma City Thunder
(23-13, 18-18 ATS)
(26-8, 20-12-2 ATS)
Two of the elite teams in the Western Conference get ready to duke it out in the first of a pair of TNT NBA betting battles on Thursday night, as the Oklahoma City Thunder head down to the Lone Star State, where they will duke it out with the Dallas Mavericks.
The Thunder’s hot streak came to an end a few nights ago with a crippling 101-74 loss to the San Antonio Spurs that was followed up by a bad 110-105 loss to the Memphis Grizzlies. Now, it’s back to Texas to end this road trip, and the hope is that Kevin Durant and company can salvage at least the third of these games. If you’re looking for the top scoring duo in the NBA, this is where you have to come to find it. Durant is averaging 27.9 points per game this year, while his partner in crime, Russell Westbrook, is having a career year at 22.1 points per game. Westbrook had a triple-double back on New Year’s Eve against the Atlanta Hawks, and he had 28 against the Grizz on Tuesday, but he was also held to just eight points by the Spurs and has been wildly inconsistent all year long. It has been five games since Jeff Green scored more than ten points in a game, something that has to be a real concern to NBA betting fans in Oklahoma City, but at least James Harden has put together 12 straight double digit scoring performances.
Dallas is reeling right now without the services of Dirk Nowitzki, though there is a chance that he will be back in the lineup on Thursday night. The bigger, longer term blow to this lineup came when Caron Butler had to undergo surgery that will likely keep him out for the entire season including the playoffs. If neither Jason Kidd nor Tyson Chandler can really step up as a double digit point scorer, the options are going to be severely limited for the Mavs for the rest of this season. Jason Terry has really failed when called upon of late, as he has only averaged 12.8 points per game since Nowitzki left the lineup. Needless to say, when you take your first and third leading scorers out of the fold and your second leading scorer is putting up three points per game below his scoring average, good things aren’t going to be coming your way. The Mavericks know that they have to win this one in ugly fashion if they are going to win it, especially if Nowitzki doesn’t play, just like they did against the Portland Trail Blazers in their most recent win, an 84-81 triumph.
Oklahoma City is good enough to win this game outright, and knowing that it is going to be catching points in this one if the German national player is in the fold, we love getting whatever we can get. If Nowitzki doesn’t play, laying a few points shouldn’t be an issue either.
NBA Free Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder