The Oklahoma City Thunder goes for its fourth straight victory when they visit Portland who will be playing its seventh game under interim coach Kaleb Canales. Game time
is set for 10:00 PM ET from the Rose Garden. Where have we decided to place our NBA picks in this matchup?
NBA betting shops have released their NBA odds with the Oklahoma City Thunder favored by -4.5 and the total set at 198.5. While the total for this matchup remains unchanged, a large number of sports picks on the Thunder has caused the spread to increase to 5 at most shops.
Will this number continue to increase, and how far are we willing to follow it before we change our NBA picks?
While OKC will be looking to extend its
modest winning streak, Portland will be after a split of the four-game season
series. The Trailblazers took the first meeting of the year on January 3,
winning 103-93 as a +4.5 point road underdog. Since then, the Thunder have
prevailed by margins of 111-107 (OT) and 111-95 and have won the ATS battle on
Oklahoma City (37-12 SU, 27-22 ATS) is among the league leaders in scoring.
They’re second in the NBA (103.6 points per game) and second in shooting (47.6
percent). However during the winning streak they’ve exceeded those averages and
then some averaging 122.0 points and 53.2 percent shooting per game. The
Thunder’s last victory was possibly their most impressive one of the season.
In Sunday’s 103-87 rout of Miami, Kevin
Durant scored 28 points and pulled down nine rebounds while Serge Ibaka and
James Harden chipped in with 19 points apiece. However the OKC defense stole
the show in more ways than one. The Thunder had a season-high 13 steals giving
them 31 swipes and 19 blocked shots in their last three outings.
The 12th-place Trail Blazers (23-26 SU,
23-25-1 ATS) haven’t won two straight since late January but thanks to a 90-87 win
over Golden State on Sunday, they’ve got a chance to do it tonight. The Blazers
are 3-3 since Canales replaced the fired Nate McMillan.
To be determined
The Western Conference leading Thunder have their sights set on the
league’s best record and home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. Their
next stretch of games against the Lakers, Bulls, Grizzlies, Heat and Pacers will
likely determine if they’re successful.
Keep an eye on…
Serge Ibaka who is averaging 14.0 points
per game with 9.0 boards and 3.0 blocks during the winning streak and Kendrick
Perkins who has 28 points and 11 rebounds in the last two contests.
Durant always needs to be accounted for.
During the winning streak, he’s averaging 33.3 points, 11.7 rebounds and 6.0
assists. Both he and Russell Westbrook are tied with a team-best 78 points
versus Portland this season.
Nate McMillan went 266-269 as Portland's
coach, making the playoffs the past three seasons. The Blazers never got past
the first round, however, and as the losses began piling up this season, it
became pretty obvious that McMillan was not going to be the guy to get this
team over the hump. If you needed proof, look no further than that 42-point
loss to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Still McMillan went out with class
even taking out a full-paged ad in The Oregonian newspaper thanking the
fans for their support. It was Mac who took the ‘Jailblazers’ and turned
them back into the Trailblazers, a team the city could be proud of. Maybe there
should be another full page ad –bought and paid for by the team—thanking
Harvey’s Take: The Thunder should easily cover right?
They’ve got the superior talent, much better record and more to play for. The
number is reasonable but I caution you that were talking about the NBA where
the obvious doesn’t always happen (or cash). No side for me but I’ll take a
healthy serving of the ‘over’.