Kevin Durant and the Oklahoma City Thunder are looking like genuine contenders for the NBA title right now. Tonight they host a Memphis team that is gaining some momentum and looking for a third straight win.
Join me each day for even greater insight and discussion in the NBA with John Ryan Thread. I have produced an 18-17 ATS with NBA 5* plays and 4-1 ATS with 10* plays. Last night's winner was Memphis, who throttled the Hawks and we are on them again for this matchup against Oklahoma City. 

5* graded play on the Memphis Grizzlies as they take to the road to play the Oklahoma City Thunder set to start at 8:00 PM ET. The NBA odds makers have lined this one with the Thunder and Durant favored by 8.5 points with the total at 192.5.

The Grizzlies are at 12-10 and in third place, trailing San Antonio by just two games in the Southwest division of the Western conference. Oklahoma City sports the best record in the Western Conference at 17-4 and leads the upstart Denver Nuggets by 2.5 games in the Northwest division of the Western Conference

Memphis background

Memphis has steadily improved the strength of their game and have won the last two games stemming a four game slide that was against four of the elite teams in the NBA. They lost at Portland 97-84 installed as 6.5 point dogs, then lost at the Clippers 98-91 installed as 3.5 point dogs and then lost at Phoenix 86-84 and failed to cover as four point favorites. They completed the skid losing at home to San Antonio 100-97 and were installed as 1.5 point dogs. It is easy to see how any team could go winless in those four straight games. 

Zach RandolphThey then defeated Denver 100-97 in a revenge situation and were installed as 1.5 point dogs, and most recently defeated the Hawks on the road 95-77 installed as 4.5 point dogs last night. Memphis posted seven straight under results. 

Oklahoma City background

The Thunder have won five of the last six games and posted a 4-2 ATS mark. They have a day off after defeating Dallas on the road 95-86 in a pick-em lined game. 

Simulator projections

My proprietary simulator and statistical database show a high probability that Memphis will lose this game by eight or fewer points. 

The simulator shows a high probability, exceeding 80%, that Memphis will shoot between 43 and 47% from the field, will hit between 25 and 31% of their three points shot attempts, will have between 10 and 15 offensive rebounds, and will have a minimum of three to five fewer turnovers. 

In past games where Memphis has achieved these levels of performance they have posted a 28-13 ATS (+13.7 Units) when their opponents make 43% to 47% of their shots in a game over the last two seasons; 17-7 ATS when they make 25% to 31% of their three point attempts in a game over the last two seasons; 42-26 ATS when they grab 10 to 15 offensive rebounds in a game over the last two seasons; 22-7 ATS when they commit three to five fewer turnovers than their opponents over the last two seasons. 

Supporting system

Supporting this graded play is a system that has produced a 36-12 ATS mark for 75% winners since 1996. Play on road dogs of 3.5 to 9.5 points off a road win by 10 points or more and is an extremely tired team playing their fifth game in seven days. Of the 48 plays made and the 36 wins accumulated by the criteria of this system, 23 of them or 48% covered the spread by seven or more points. This under scores my strong belief that Memphis will make this a very close game and has a shot at pulling off the upset. 

Take Memphis as a 5* Titan