Free NBA Picks: Thunder at Clippers Odds
by Aaron Smith - 11/12/2013
The Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers will do battle Wednesday night in Los Angeles, and ESPN will carry this game nationally. The Thunder are once again at full strength, while the Clippers have a new-and-improved look this year. These are two of the favorites to come out of the Western Conference. This could be a preview of a playoff series that means a lot in the spring!
Oklahoma City comes into this game with a 5-1 record so far in 2013. The Clippers are 5-3 on the season. Oklahoma City is 2-1 on the road, while the Clippers are a perfect 3-0 at home this season.
Expectations are extremely high for both of these franchises this year. These teams are built to win right now. Who will get the upper hand in the first meeting of the year between these two teams? Let’s take a closer look at this matchup.
Thunder at Clippers Betting Story Lines
Oklahoma City wasn’t in the playoffs nearly as long as everyone expected last season, but Russell Westbrook’s injury was clearly the reason for that. As soon as Westbrook went down, the Thunder struggled. They fought their way past Houston, but they weren’t able to get past the Grizzlies in the second round. Those who hadn’t understood before should definitely see now that the Thunder absolutely need Westbrook on the floor to be a true title contender. He may not be the prototypical point guard, but he is a beast of athlete, and he creates tons of mismatches all over the floor.
Kevin Durant is the top scorer for the Thunder, and he is averaging an impressive 30.2 points per game so far this season. Serge Ibaka is the team’s best low-post player, and when he is at his best this team is really tough to beat. Ibaka’s shot-blocking prowess around the rim makes this defense elite. Oklahoma City has turned into one of the best defenses in the league in the past couple years, and that is one of the main reasons this team is seen as the favorite in the West.
Keep an eye on second-year player Jeremy Lamb, who has really picked up his production this year for the Thunder. Lamb is averaging almost 10 points per game, and he’s shooting 40 percent from behind the three-point line. If he continues to produce from the outside, it will make this team even more dangerous.
The Clippers brought in Doc Rivers to lead the team this year. While the team won the Pacific Division last year, their loss in the first round of the playoffs wasn’t enough to keep Vinny Del Negro around. Rivers has proven his worth as a coach in the NBA, and I liked the move of bringing him in to lead this ultra-talented team.
Los Angeles also brought in J.J. Redick, Jared Dudley, Daren Collison, and Byron Mullens during the offseason to make this team even deeper. Redick is averaging 16.2 points per game this year, and his outside shooting makes this team much tougher to defend. It is more difficult to pack the paint against Blake Griffin and Chris Paul now that Redick and Dudley are sitting on the outside knocking down long-range shots.
The Clippers lead the NBA in points scored per game so far this year at 109.9 points per contest. Surprisingly, the Clippers defense has been abysmal so far this year. Opponents are averaging 106.4 points per game. Rivers’ teams generally work hard on the defensive end, so you have to assume this team will get better on that end. If they don’t, they won’t get far in the playoffs.
Thunder at Clippers NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
BetOnline lists the Clippers as a three-point favorite at home in this matchup. The posted total opened at 206 points. The Oklahoma City Thunder are 0-8 ATS in their last eight games against a team with a winning percentage above 60 percent. The Clippers are 7-3 ATS in their last 10 home games. The “over” is 7-1 in the last eight meetings between these two teams. The underdog is 11-5 ATS in their last 16 meetings.
Free NBA Picks: Thunder at Clippers Betting Predictions
This game means more to the Clippers than it does to the Thunder. The Thunder know they are capable of getting to the NBA Finals, while this game is more of a measuring stick for the Clippers. Expect the Clippers to be geared up for this contest. Successful regular season betting in the NBA has as much to do with finding motivational edges as anything. This is a spot where the Clippers have the edge.
Look for Los Angeles to cover the spread here. The posted total looks too low with too high-scoring offenses squaring off as well. I like the Clippers and the over.
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