NBA Odds: Thunder Ready To Come Down on Bulls Thursday Night
The Oklahoma City Thunder would probably love to have a “Big Three,” but they lost scoring guard James Harden before last season and Kevin Martin before this one. Nonetheless, they keep moving along, beating the NBA odds, and are tied for the second best record in the league (at 20-4) heading into a Thursday night game against the Chicago Bulls, scheduled to begin at 8 PM ET.
The Bulls, of course, are going without Derrick Rose, who really crushed this team’s hopes when he went down with an injury on November 22. They haven’t impressed too many people without him, and only the fact that there were just three teams over the .500 mark in the Eastern Conference (going into Wednesday’s action) keeps Chicago’s hopes of a playoff spot realistic.
In many ways this is exactly the wrong team for the Bulls to be running into right now. While Chicago has been largely impotent on offense, Oklahoma City has been a pretty explosive team on offense, especially at the Chesapeake Energy Arena, where they have averaged 105 points per game They will be laying quite a few points in the basketball lines posted at BetAnySports for good reason.
The Thunder is the hottest team in the NBA right now, having won 15 of their last 16 games. They have also covered six of their last seven in the NBA odds.
NBA bettors are well aware of where the success starts. Kevin Durant stands at 28.6 points, 8.2 rebounds and 4.8 assists per game, and may be ready to regain the scoring title from Carmelo Anthony (he won three straight NBA scoring crowns before Anthony overtook him last season). Even though Durant’s string, in many ways his 2012-13 campaign was his best, as he posted career highs in field goal percentage, free throw percentage, assists, steals and blocked shots. He’s not far off those numbers this season.
BetAnySports patrons know that it helps to have a big star as a running mate. Guard Russell Westbrook came back earlier than anticipated this year, after suffering a knee injury that knocked him out of action in Game 2 of the playoff series against Houston. he had two surgeries, one of which happened in late September. He wasn’t expected to be available for at least four weeks, but only missed two games. He’s put together some numbers that are decent, though they are down from last year. Westbrook has been averaging 21 points and 6.7 assists per contest.
It was said by many NBA bettors that Serge Ibaka was the guy who could really elevate the Thunder by taking an additional role in the offense. He’s certainly taking more shots, and his scoring average is up to 14.6 points per game. He’s also the team’s leading rebounder (9.5 per game). Of course, his greatest value may be as an intimidator when opposing players get in the paint, and the paint is exactly where Chicago is going to need to operate with such little power on the perimeter. .
As far as the technical side is concerned, the Thunder is 32-18 against the NBA odds in their last 50 games as a home favorite.
The Bulls are part of a trio of teams (with Charlotte and Milwaukee) at the bottom of league in shooting percentage, as they have connected on just 41.7% of their shots. And they are hardly a threat from three-point range either, hitting 32%. They have made a little more than half the treys that Portland has made.
It is clear that coach Tom Thibodeau, who is generally regarded as a defensive guru, is trying to uncover some ways to get some points out of his current roster, or his team’s management is going to have some very important decisions to make before the NBA’s trading deadline. They were conspicuously inactive on that front last season, which, rumor has it, drew the ire of Rose, but they may not be able to afford to stand pat this time around.
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