Thunder at Spurs Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Trevor Whenham - 3/11/2013
We have a clash of the titans here to brighten an otherwise dreary post-Daylight Savings Time Monday. The Spurs have the top record in the Western Conference, are on the verge of clinching an inevitable playoff spot, and are looking to secure home-court advantage throughout the playoffs. The Thunder sit just a game behind the Spurs — a gap they can close with a win here. It doesn’t ultimately matter who is leading the conference in March — and given that the Spurs had the home-court advantage last year when the Thunder eliminated them from the playoffs, it isn’t crucial at all — but this is a good confidence builder for both teams and an important measuring stick.
Thunder at Spurs Betting Storylines
There’s a chance that this game won’t be a fair fight. This is just the fourth game that the Spurs have been forced to play without Tony Parker and by far the biggest test they have faced without him. There is a chance that Parker’s ankle injury could keep him out into the playoffs, so the team really needs to get a sense of where they are at and whether they can compete with the top level of teams in the league.
If the last game the Spurs played is any indication, then things could really be rough without Parker. They passed the first two tests — against the Pistons and Bulls. On Friday night, though, they imploded at home against Portland. They not only lost by 30 points, but the 136 they gave up was the most an opponent has ever scored in regulation in San Antonio. It was as bad as a team can play. They looked confused and disoriented. The offense runs through Parker, and he’s the moderating force on the team, so it’s not surprising that there are some issues. They shouldn’t be this significant, though — and if they struggle against the Thunder then this could get ugly. Coach Gregg Popovich isn’t panicking about things, though. He gave the team a rare day off on Sunday, so he seems confident that they will find their way.
While the Spurs are coming off an ugly defensive showing, the Thunder aren’t exactly poised to exploit the Spurs offensively — at least not based on their last game. They beat Boston 91-79 on Sunday night — their third-lowest offensive output of the year. They don’t have much time to find their mojo again, though, because they have to play two nights in a row — and travel in between. They are a solid 7-3 on the second half of back-to-back games, though they are just 2-3 in their last five after winning their first five chances.
The Thunder have gone 8-1 in their last nine games. Kevin Durant has been solid as always, but the driving force for the recent success has been Russell Westbrook. He’s averaging 26.8 points per game over the stretch, and has had 29 or more in five of the games. He’s a streaky player, so his added confidence in this one could be a big factor — especially since he’s not matched up against Tony Parker.
Thunder at Spurs NBA Odds and Betting Trends
The teams have each won their home game in this series so far this year. The Spurs only won by two — a push — while the Thunder cruised to a 14-point win. The Thunder are 1-5 ATS in their last six against teams with a winning home record. San Antonio rebounds from setbacks well — they are 7-0-1 ATS in their last eight following a game in which they gave up at least 100 points. The Thunder are 5-0-1 ATS in the last six meetings between the teams.
Thunder at Spurs Picks and Betting Predictions
I’ll keep this one simple — the Thunder are at full strength while the Spurs aren’t, and the Thunder are playing better ball overall right now. That means that they are attractive since you get points. The Thunder are the pick.
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