NBA Picks: Spurs at Thunder Game 6 Odds and Betting Predictions
by Alan Matthews - 6/6/2012
So I wonder if the good folks of Seattle will be rooting for or against the Oklahoma City Thunder in Wednesday night’s Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals against San Antonio. I’m sure it will be a bittersweet night for many residents of the Emerald City if the Thunder finish off a stunning rally from down 2-0 in this series to reach the franchise’s first NBA Finals since Seattle’s SuperSonics lost to Michael Jordan’s Bulls in the 1996 Finals.
It sure seems like the Thunder now have San Antonio’s number and will become the 15th team in NBA history to rally from a 2-0 deficit to win a playoff series. OKC has simply been the vastly better team in winning the past three games. The Spurs, who saw their incredible 20-game winning streak end in Game 3, have now failed to cover in five of their past six games overall and are on their first three-game skid of the season. Monday’s 108-103 loss was only San Antonio’s second home loss since March 9, nearly three months ago.
Spurs at Thunder Betting Story Lines
How rare was the Thunder’s 108-103 road win in Game 5? The NBA’s Final Four, entering Tuesday’s Boston at Miami Game 5 in the East, is now 28-3 at home in this postseason. The Thunder (7-0) are the only remaining team that hasn’t lost at home in this year’s playoffs. And they would have home-court advantage in the NBA Finals because they had a better record than both the Heat and Celtics. They’ll also have a chance to be the first team since MJ’s Bulls in ‘96 (10-0) to win a championship without losing a game at home.
This series changed when Thunder Coach Scott Brooks decided to stick 6-foot-7 Thabo Sefolosha on Spurs point guard Tony Parker in Game 3. Yes, Parker had 20 points in Game 5 but was 5-for-14 from the field and had more turnovers (five) than assists (four). He scored 34 points in the Spurs’ Game 2 win and didn’t break 30 combined in Games 3 and 4 in Oklahoma City. Overall he is 16-for-41 with 11 turnovers in San Antonio’s three-game skid; he made 16 shots in Game 2 alone. The Thunder big men are also doing a nice job of switching on Parker when he comes off screens.
The Spurs had 21 turnovers Monday, leading to 28 Thunder points. During the regular season the Spurs had the fifth fewest turnovers in the league, averaging 13.2 a game. They had eight in the first quarter and that led to a deficit that eventually reached 14 points in the second quarter.
Because Parker and the Spurs offense is struggling, Coach Gregg Popovich started Manu Ginobili in Game 5 over Danny Green (who played only four minutes). Manu was great with 34 points (although he missed the potential tying three-pointer), seven assists and six rebounds. But his starting made the bench much weaker and the Thunder reserves outscored the Spurs’ 40-22, led by James Harden’s 20 points and huge late fourth-quarter three-pointer that essentially clinched the game. In the 35 minutes with Harden on the court, the Thunder outscored the Spurs by 24 points and shot 55 percent from the field. In the 13 minutes he was off the court, OKC was outscored 37-18. It seemed a panic move to start Manu in a way as the Spurs were out of sync in the first half and it was Ginobili’s first start since March 23.
Ironically, foul trouble by OKC big men Kendrick Perkins and Serge Ibaka might have been the best thing that could have happened to the Thunder. Because of the fouls, Brooks used a small lineup for 26:17 of the game, and it outscored the Spurs 75-51. The game totally turned when the small lineup of Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, Perkins and either Sefolosha or Derek Fisher outscored the Spurs 25-10 in the final seven minutes of the third quarter. Meanwhile, the big lineups were outscored 52-33 by San Antonio overall.
Spurs at Thunder Betting Odds and Key Trends
OKC opened as a five-point favorite with the total at 201.5 on NBA odds. It’s the biggest number at which the Spurs have been underdogs since a March 16 game at OKC in which they were also at +5. The Spurs are 2-4 ATS on the road in these playoffs and 2-4 on the ‘over/under’. The Thunder are 4-3 ATS at home and 5-2 O/U.
The Spurs are 4-0 ATS in their past four games as a road dog of at least five points. San Antonio is 0-4 ATS in its past four games when its opponent scored at least 100 points in the previous game. The Thunder are 4-0-1 ATS in their past five after a win. They are 5-0 ATS in their past five games after scoring at least 100 points in their previous game. The over is 5-1 in San Antonio’s past six games after an ATS loss. The over is 7-2 in the past nine meetings.
NBA Picks: Spurs at Thunder Betting Predictions
I picked the Thunder to win this series before it started and that’s looking good now considering the winner of Game 5 in a series that was tied 2-2 has gone on to take the series 83.5 percent of the time. In the Tim Duncan era, the Spurs are just 2-5 in road Game 6 contests. When they did win on the road in Game 6, they came back and lost Game 7 at home — the last time against Dallas in the 2006 Western Conference semifinals.
I do think the Thunder finish the deal at home but that San Antonio plays its best since Game 2, so the Spurs cover in a close loss. Also take the over.
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