(25-13, 17-21 ATS)
Oklahoma City Thunder
(26-13, 21-18 ATS)
Two teams that have been on absolutely fire in recent weeks are going to do NBA betting battle on Thursday night, as the Orlando Magic will take on the Oklahoma City Thunder.
For the Magic, they had their nine game winning streak snapped last night with an OT loss against the New Orleans Hornets. Dwight Howard led the way with 29 points and 20 boards, but it just wasn’t enough, as it was really the first time in a number of weeks in which this newly assembled team let Howard and Head Coach Stan Van Gundy down. When you look at the contributions that the new men have brought to Mickey Mouse’s house so far through a dozen games, you know that there is no doubt who got the better end of that deal with the Phoenix Suns. Jason Richardson is averaging 14.5 points and 4.2 boards per game, while Hedo Turkoglu has put together 12.2 points, 5.1 boards, and 6.3 assists per game, including a 17 assist performance just a few nights ago. Brandon Bass is having a breakout year, while JJ Reddick, Jameer Nelson, and the aforementioned Howard just keep doing their thing as well. The defense is still great for Orlando at 93.3 points per game as well, and things are just looking fantastic for the Magic at this point.
The Thunder put together a hard fought 118-112 ‘W’ at the Houston Rockets on Wednesday night, and they, too know that they have a short turnaround time for this nationally televised duel. Oklahoma City is 22-9 over the course of its last 31 games, one of the best such marks in the NBA in that stretch, and its offense has really been the key. Trying to stop the combination of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook has been virtually impossible for everyone that has given it a shot. The two combined for a ho hum 53 points once again versus the Rockets, and they are now up to 28.3 and 21.9 points per game respectively. Westbrook is also getting the job done as the point guard of the bunch, averaging 5.0 boards, 8.2 assists, and 1.9 steals per game, and he is only turning it over 3.8 times per game to boot. The Thunder will make you pay for fouling them as well, as they have the best free throw shooting percentage in the league at 83.2 percent this year. This is why they are averaging 103.5 points per game, ranking No. 7 in NBA betting action.
This is one of these games that is just cut so closely on the NBA odds that it is tough to make a call. Orlando is getting the slight nod here by just a point, and knowing that these two teams have very similar turnarounds, we have to back the Magic. Van Gundy just feels like he has gotten this team to gel, and this one loss isn’t going to be a setback for the rest of the season.
NBA Free Pick: Orlando Magic -1