5* graded play on the Oklahoma City Thunder as they take on the Portland Trailblazers set to start at 10:00 PM ET. Can Kevin Durant lead his team to victory, or will Gerald Walace be able to keep the star in check as he did earlier in the season?

The Thunder have the best record in the Western Conference at 18-5, but have not played solid defense recently and they have a formidable foe tonight in Portland to defeat. Despite being four games over .500, the Trailblazers are in the fourth place in the Northwest, trailing the the Thunder by 4 ½ games. This is a key game for both teams and I think the significance of the game will get the Thunder refocused to play their best tonight. 

Simulator Projections

Oklahoma City ThunderMy proprietary sports betting simulator and statistical database shows a high probability that Oklahoma City will win this game by three or more points. The simulator shows several key projections that have historically been quite favorable for the Thunder to cover the NBA odds spread.

The simulator shows a high probability exceeding 85% that they will attempt fewer than 76 shots in this game. In past games they are a solid 23-12 ATS in slower style played games when they have attempted 76 or fewer shots in a game spanning the past two seasons. 

Three-point Thunder defense will be strong as the simulator shows that Portland will hit less than 31% of their three points shot attempts. In past games, the Thunder have posted a 32-18 ATS mark when they have held their opponents to 25 to 31% shooting from beyond the arc. Portland has gone just 98-145 ATS when they have hit between 25 and 31% of their three points shot attempts. 

Turnovers favor the Thunder, with the simulator showing that Portland will have between 13 and 17 turnovers in this game. Now, this is not an ugly number by NBA standards, but it has worked in favor of the Thunder and against Portland in their past games respectively. Portland is a weak 25-41 ATS when the commit 13 to 17 turnovers in a game spanning the past three seasons. The Thunder are a solid 30-15 ATS when they have forced opponents into 13 to 17 turnovers spanning the past three seasons. 

Supporting Systems

Supporting this graded NBA pick is a system that has produced an 80-43 ATS mark 65% winners since 2006. Play against dogs that are off an home win scoring 110 or more points and is a tired team playing eight or more games in 14 days. Of the 123 plays made based on the criteria of this system, 42 of them or 33% covered the spread by seven or more points.

Revenge

These teams last played in Oklahoma City where the Trailblazers handed the Thunder their only home loss of the season. The Trailblazers won that game 103-93 and were installed as 4.5 point dogs. Oklahoma City is a near perfect 14-2 ATS in road games revenging a loss where opponent scored 100 or more points over the last two seasons.

My Pick: Take the Thunder as a 5* graded play.