Free NBA Picks: Thunder at Blazers Odds
by Aaron Smith - 12/3/2013
Oklahoma City has been considered the team to beat in the Western Conference since the season started. The Thunder have great overall team balance, and they got to the NBA Finals two years ago when their team was completely healthy. Portland was seen as a team that might fight for one of the final playoff spots in the Western Conference.
Oklahoma City is doing what everyone expected them to do. The Portland Trail Blazers have been the biggest surprise in the NBA. Portland comes into this one with an impressive 15-3 record on the year. The Blazers have the same amount of losses as the Thunder, Spurs, and Heat.
Most are buying into the Blazers newfound success, but there are still a few people out there who believe this team is a fraud. This game provides the Blazers with another terrific chance to show those detractors what they are made of against the best in the West.
Thunder vs. Blazers Betting Story Lines
What has made the Blazers go from a team that finished well below .500 last year to a team with the best record in the West so far this season? There are a couple key reasons. First, the Blazers front office did a tremendous job addressing their needs in the offseason. Portland had the worst bench in the NBA by a mile last year. Bringing in guys like Mo Williams, Thomas Robinson, and Dorrell Wright has helped the bench in a big way. Now, there isn’t nearly as much pressure on the starters to log huge minutes every game. The second key reason that the Blazers are a much-improved team is the maturation of Damian Lillard. Lillard was the NBA Rookie of the Year last season, but he has improved this year when it comes to making the rest of the team around him better.
Obviously, the NBA season is a very long one, and the Blazers are going to hit a slump at some point, but this Blazers team looks like a team that should be a top four seed in the Western Conference Playoffs. The team is working much harder on the defensive end now, and if they can continue to improve on that end, there is no clear cut weakness for this team.
Oklahoma City has won seven games in a row. It’s no coincidence that the Thunder’s run comes right as Russell Westbrook gets healthy. Westbrook gives this team a freak of an athlete who provides mismatches on just about every guy who attempts to guard him. He may not be a prototypical point guard, but he is one of the most talented players in the league, and his team badly needs him in the game.
Oklahoma City is an efficient offensive team to start with, and right now they are leading the league in offensive rebounds. Serge Ibaka has never averaged more than 7.7 boards per game in his career, but he is currently at 10.2 rebounds per game this season. Steven Adams gives this team improved depth in the frontcourt, and he averages five boards per game in very limited playing time. The Thunder became an elite team when they started playing quality defense. Oklahoma City allows opponents to shoot just 42.8 percent from the floor, which is fourth best in the NBA.
Thunder at Blazers NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
The oddsmakers couldn’t decide who to make the favorite in this marquee matchup. BetOnline released the odds on this one at "pick’em". The posted total is set at 205 points. To say that Oklahoma City has dominated the recent meetings between these two teams is an understatement. Oklahoma City has won seven straight meetings between these teams, and they are 6-0-1 ATS in those seven matchups. The “under” is also 4-0 in the last four games between these teams.
Free NBA Picks: Thunder at Blazers Betting Predictions
It would be easy to call for a letdown spot here for the Blazers after picking up a huge win over Indiana on Monday, but I can’t do it. Portland has been proving everyone wrong all year long, and they know this is a great opportunity to win a game that everyone is watching and make a statement. The Thunder must play on Tuesday night, while Portland has the day off. The Blazers are young, and they will be fresh and ready to go for this one. There aren’t many arenas in the NBA that give the home team a bigger advantage than the Rose Garden. Look for Portland to keep their hot streak going and pick up another big win against a top team from the Western Conference.
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