Denver Nuggets (48-30 SU, 41-33-4 ATS) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (52-26 SU, 40-37-1 ATS)
NBA Betting Favorite: Thunder -4
Oklahoma City went to Denver and upset the Nuggets earlier this week, which pretty much sealed up the fourth spot in the Western Conference standings. Still, this is a preview of what should be the first-round matchup in the playoffs. These are two teams who are playing very good basketball right now. Expect both teams to give full effort in this one.
The Denver Nuggets are now 17-3-1 ATS since they traded away Carmelo Anthony. The books have struggled to catch up with just how good the Nuggets are playing. What has been the difference in the Nuggets amazing streak over the last few weeks? The biggest difference on the offensive end is the constant movement of the ball. There is a very little one-on-one offense; instead they are looking for the open teammate and pushing the basketball at every opportunity. Denver has also stepped it up in a big way on the defensive end. The Nuggets are only allowing 95 points per game defensively since Anthony was traded away. It seems that George Karl is really getting this team to buy into his system. Danilo Gallinari, Raymond Felton, and Wilson Chandler have been huge acquisitions for the Nuggets.
The Thunder have been one of the hottest teams in the NBA over the past month. For a while earlier this year, many people believed this team was underachieving, but they aren’t now. Kendrick Perkins has given this team a whole new attitude on the defensive end, which is the single biggest reason they will be an even tougher out this year in the playoffs. Kevin Durant has scored at least 20 points in each of the team’s last last ten games. Russell Westbrook is having a real breakout season, which takes some pressure off Durant on the offensive end. While it gets overlooked by many experts, the Thunder have shot the ball extremely well from the free-throw line this year. Oklahoma City shoots 82.3% as a team, which is easily the best in the NBA.
The Denver Nuggets have turned it up on the defensive end, and Oklahoma City is a different team with Perkins’ defensive presence. I think the under is the best play on the board in this one.
NBA Free Pick: Nuggets/Thunder under 203.5
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