Thunder at Warriors Picks and NBA Betting Odds
by Alan Matthews - 4/11/2013
I am writing this preview of Thursday night's TNT nightcap -- the final TNT Thursday doubleheader of the regular season -- between the Thunder and Warriors before the result of San Antonio's game in Denver on Wednesday night. However, I am going to assume the short-handed Spurs lose against the short-handed Nuggets because Denver is the NBA's best home team.
Assuming that is the case, the Spurs and Thunder would be tied atop the Western Conference. Since the teams split four regular-season meetings, the tiebreaker would be record inside the West, and the Thunder are going to win that. If the Spurs lost Wednesday, they would be 32-16 in the conference compared to 36-13 for OKC. Thus, if Oklahoma City can beat Golden State, it should all but punch its ticket for the West's top seed with a road game left at Portland on Friday and home games against Minnesota and Milwaukee to close the season; OKC should easily win all three. Even if the Spurs somehow won Wednesday, I expect them to lose Sunday at the Lakers as that game will mean everything to L.A.
As for Golden State, I will be curious to see how it shows up. The club no doubt was out celebrating into early Wednesday morning after beating Minnesota 105-89 in Oakland on Tuesday night to clinch the franchise's second playoff berth in 19 years and first in six. The only Warrior remaining from that 2007 squad is little-used center Andris Biedrins, a guy who makes Dwight Howard look like Rick Barry at the free-throw line.
The lone motivation left for Golden State is to finish sixth instead of seventh in the West as the Warriors lead Houston by a game entering Wednesday (Rockets hold tiebreaker). I might honestly rather finish No. 7 if I'm Golden State if that means a matchup with the Spurs, who could be missing Manu Ginobili into the playoffs and look a bit vulnerable. Finishing No. 6 likely is going to mean facing either the Nuggets or Grizzlies. Pick your poison, I guess, but I can guarantee you that the Warriors would rather face Denver than big, physical Memphis.
Thunder at Warriors Betting Story Lines
Oklahoma City bounced back from allowing 125 points in a home loss to the Knicks on Sunday with a 90-80 win at Utah on Tuesday that was a potentially big blow to Utah's hopes of winning the No. 8 spot in the West over the Lakers. Kevin Durant was great with 21 points, 12 rebounds and nine assists, but he's going to have to start filling it up if he wants to win a fourth straight scoring title. Carmelo Anthony plays against the Bulls earlier Thursday and now is ahead of KD by .3 points (28.6-23.3). While Melo has tied a Knicks record with at least 35 points in five straight games, Durant has scored at least 35 just twice since March 1. Bovada does offer a prop on who wins the title: Anthony is 4/5 and Durant 20/23.
Golden State's win over the Timberwolves was its fourth in five games. Second-year guard Klay Thompson blew up for 30 against Minnesota, his second highest-scoring game of the year. He's averaging 25.0 points in his past three compared to 6.0 in the previous three. Stephen Curry had 24 points against the Wolves and hit two more three-pointers. He now has made 249 from long range and, thus, will need to finish with a flurry in the final four games to break Ray Allen's single-season record of 269 set in 2005-06 while with the Sonics. Considering Curry only averages 2.4 per game, he's not going to do it. Curry did miss four games earlier this season due to injury. He and Thompson have set the NBA single-season mark for most made three-pointers by teammates.
The Thunder lead the season series 2-1. The loss was the lone game at Golden State, 104-99 on Jan. 23 in the second of a back-to-back for OKC and in the middle of a season-high six-game road trip for the Thunder. They won both home games against the Warriors by double-digits. Durant is averaging 27.7 points on 54.9 percent from the field against Golden State this year. Curry is averaging 22.3 on just 39.1 percent from the field.
Thunder at Warriors NBA Betting Odds and Key Trends
At BetOnline, OKC opened as a four-point favorite with the total at 205. The Thunder are 47-29-2 ATS (20-17-2 on road) and 36-40-2 “over/under” (15-23-1 on road). The Warriors are 39-38-1 ATS (22-17 at home) and 44-33-1 O/U (20-18-1 at home).
The Thunder are 5-0 ATS in their past five road games vs. teams with a winning home record. They are 5-2 ATS in their past seven road games overall. The Warriors are 4-1 ATS in their past five home games against teams with winning road games. The Warriors are 4-13 ATS in their past 17 overall against teams with a winning record. Golden State is 3-10 ATS in their past 13 after a win. The over has hit in eight of OKC's past 12 overall. The under is 7-0-2 in the Thunder's past nine against the West. The over is 5-2 in Golden State's past seven vs. teams with a winning record. The home team has covered in the past four meetings. The over has hit in the past seven.
Thunder at Warriors Picks and Betting Predictions
One problem with going for the top seed is no rest for Durant. He leads the NBA in having played 3,017 minutes this season. No player in the past nine seasons who has played at least 3,000 minutes has gone on to win the NBA title that same year.
The Warriors are a tough out at home, but the Thunder have won four straight away games, the last two in pretty tough places (Indiana, Utah). The Warriors have lost solidly at home to the Jazz and Kings in the past few weeks. I think this does mean more for the Thunder, and it's natural for the Warriors to have a bit of a hangover (pun intended). Take OKC and the over.
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