I've obviously never played professional sports, but I feel like that even if I hated a teammate and assuming the money was equal, I would want to stay where I'm comfortable and have a chance to win a championship. I bring this up because of Thursday's epic showdown between Oklahoma City and Golden State. It's now pretty clear that Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant weren't exactly best pals in the wake of Durant leaving for the Warriors. You never heard they didn't like each other while playing together -- unlike Shaq and Kobe with the Lakers, for example; most teammates hated Michael Jordan -- but their comments since the move have been pretty clear about their true feelings for one another. I absolutely can't wait for their first meeting as opponents. It won't be quite as dramatic as when Durant returns to Oklahoma City after the New Year, but it's must-see TV because Westbrook is going to play like a psychopath, and I mean that in a good way, to stick it to his former superstar teammate. Quadruple-double for Russ coming?
Free $60 in Member NBA Picks No Obligation Click Here
Kings at Magic (-3, 203)
Sacramento lost a second straight game Tuesday, 108-96 in overtime at Miami in the second of a back-to-back. Somehow, DeMarcus Cousins entered the fourth quarter without a foul but got sixth of them in the fourth to foul out. Thus, the Kings were then dominated in the extra session without him. Cousins finished with 30 points and seven rebounds, while Rudy Gay also had 30. Orlando got its first win of the season Tuesday, 103-101 in Philadelphia. Serge Ibaka's two free throws with 1.4 seconds to go won it as the Magic rallied from an 18-point hole. Orlando has won three of the last four meetings with the Kings but has split the past 12 at home.
Key trends: The Kings are 4-1 against the spread in the past five trips to Orlando. The "over/under" is 4-1 in those five.
Early lean: Kings and over.
Pacers at Bucks (+3, 207)
Indiana ended a two-game losing streak with a 115-108 home win over the Lakers on Tuesday. Paul George had 30 points, including his team's final 12. But new addition Jeff Teague continues to struggle from the field as he was just 4-for-15 and is hitting only 22 percent overall. Milwaukee won at New Orleans 117-113 on Tuesday. Giannis Antetokounmpo had 24 points and 10 rebounds. Tony Snell came out of nowhere with 13 points and 10 rebounds. The Pacers took three of the four regular-season matchups over the Bucks last season, including both meetings in Milwaukee. Since the beginning of the 2013-14 regular season, Indiana holds a 9-3 record over Milwaukee.
Key trends: The road team is 8-2 ATS in the past 10 meetings. The under is 6-1 in Indiana's past seven after a win.
Early lean: Pacers and under.
Nuggets at Timberwolves (-4, 205)
Minnesota point guard Ricky Rubio left Saturday's game at Sacramento in the fourth quarter with a sprained right elbow and is out indefinitely. That hugely boosts Kris Dunn's Rookie of the Year chances. The Wolves got their first win Tuesday, 116-80 over visiting Memphis. Zach LaVine had 31 points. Dunn had 10 points, six assists and five steals in his first career start. Denver lost 105-102 in Toronto on Monday. Jusuf Nurkic had 13 points and a career-high 18 rebounds in the loss. Will Barton hurt his ankle in the game and had to leave. He's not likely to play here. Barton has been starting with Gary Harris out. Denver claimed last year's series 3-1 and has won its past four visits to Target Center.
Key trends: The underdog is 5-1 ATS in the past six meetings. The over is 7-3 in the previous 10 in Minnesota.
Early lean: Wolves and under.
Celtics at Cavaliers (TBA)
Pretty darn good TNT opener between most likely the two best teams in the East, although I believe there's still quite a gap that Boston has to close. It's the second of a back-to-back for Boston as it hosted Chicago on Wednesday. Al Horford was a surprise scratch with a concussion and not expected to play here, either. Truly came out of nowhere. The Cavs improved to 4-0 with a 128-120 home win over Houston on Tuesday. Kyrie Irving had a season-high 32 points and LeBron James 19 points and 13 rebounds. Then most of the Cavs went to the Indians game. Cleveland won two of three meetings last year but lost one at home on an Avery Bradley 3-point buzzer-beater.
Key trends: The Celtics are 1-4 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 5-1 in the past six.
Early lean: TBA for Horford and a few Celtics apparently battling an illness.
Thunder at Warriors (-10.5, 223)
The second TNT game and obviously a rematch of last season's terrific Western Conference Finals. I still say that if OKC finishes things off in Game 6 at home as it nearly did, then Durant is still a member of the Thunder. Oklahoma City is in the second of a back-to-back after visiting the Clippers on Wednesday. That's a shame really. Maybe Billy Donovan rests Westbrook here? Yeah, don't think so. Golden State played its best game of the early season with a 127-104 victory in Portland on Tuesday. Steph Curry had 28 points and Durant 20. The Warriors swept the 2015-16 regular-season series against the Thunder (3-0) for the first time in franchise history.
Key trends: The Thunder are 1-7 ATS in the past eight at Golden State. The under is 6-2 in the previous eight meetings.
Early lean: Warriors and over.
Get your $60 worth of member's picks absolutely free - no obligation, no sales people - you don't even have to enter credit card information. You can use this $60 credit any way you please on any of our top NBA handicappers. Get free picks now. Also, for a limited time only get three top NBA handicappers for the price of one! Click Here.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
Most Recent NBA Handicapping Articles
- NBA Betting Impact of Chris Paul to Houston Rockets Trade
- NBA Betting Props: Where will LeBron James play in 2018?
- NBA Betting Advice: Jimmy Butler Trade Impact
- 2017 BIG3 Basketball Betting Preview and Wagering Advice
- Betting on the 2017 NBA Draft: Props Odds and Expert Wagering Picks
- NBA Draft Betting Odds: Player Props with Expert Betting Predictions
- 2018 NBA Futures and Championship Odds with Expert Betting Predictions
- Expert NBA Handicapping: Can Anyone Beat the Golden State Warriors?
- 2017 NBA Finals Series Picks: Odds and Expert Betting Predictions
- NBA Finals Expert Picks and Betting Predictions Cleveland vs. Golden State