Battle for #2
Even though their battle for the #1 seed ended some time ago, the Thunder find themselves in need of a win at home tonight to ensure they hold onto the #2 seed. If they lost tonight, the Clippers could take over the #2 seed with a win. With that in mind, the NBA Odds have the Thunder as solid -13 ½ favorites tonight, with a total of 212 ½.
This means that the Thunder cannot really afford a loss tonight, but even though they are playing the Pistons, I can’t trust them to cover -13 ½. However I can’t trust Detroit either, but there is one area you can trust the Pistons on this season.
Detroit has been the best team to bet the over with this year, and it seems like no matter who they are playing, the over was a solid play. Going into Oklahoma City tonight is going to be no different. Even with Josh Smith banged up due to a knee issue, even if he doesn’t play, the Pistons will be able to score some on OKC tonight due to their size.
On the flip side, as long as the Thunder are engaged in this one, they should put up plenty of points against the poor Detroit defense. Although I doubt they take this game as seriously as they would in a normal game earlier in the season, the Thunder still need some tuning for the playoffs. I see them using this game for just that.
The Sharp Pick
Josh Smith did not play Sunday for the Pistons, and with all the money they owe him for the next few seasons, it would probably be wise for Detroit to sit him out again if he is truly injured. That could mean things could almost improve for the Detroit offense, and a total of 212 ½ looks like great over value because of it.
The Pistons have cashed the over a league-leading 54-27 this season, which is right a 67% on the year. Not only that, but they have cashed the over at 22-7 versus the Western Conference, which is almost 76% for the season.
Potentially not having Josh Smith tonight also means one less body the Thunder could throw at Kevin Durant for the amount of time he’s actually in the game. Even though Smith is not an amazing on ball defender on guys like Durant, he was at least the most qualified defender. Now the Pistons have no one that can matchup with Durant even a little bit, and it might lead to the Thunder scoring a ton.
Speaking of bad matchups, Brandon Jennings is a pretty bad defender himself, and trying to defend either Russell Westbrook, or Kevin Durant is not going to be pretty. It would not surprise me to see the Thunder with 80 or 85 points through three quarters tonight, and that would almost certainly mean the total will go over for our basketball picks.
NBA Pick: OVER 212 ½