Back Nets With Your NBA Picks To Cover Large Spread vs. Scorching Thunder

Jay Pryce

Sunday, January 24, 2016 2:50 PM UTC

Sunday, Jan. 24, 2016 2:50 PM UTC

The Nets, losers of 10 of their last 11, host the red-hot Thunder at the Barclays Center on Sunday. Can Brooklyn keep it within the double-digit spread and be one of our NBA picks?

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Free NBA Pick: Brooklyn +13.5
Best Line Offered: at William Hill


The Nets, losers of 10 of their last 11, host the red-hot Thunder at the Barclays Center on Sunday (3:30 p.m. ET). Can Brooklyn keep it competitive despite a double-digit spread on the NBA odds boards? We think so.


Oklahoma City Thunder (33-12 SU, 19-26 ATS)
OKC is one of the hottest teams in the NBA. Since December 1, only the Spurs (24) have more wins (22).

Last time we covered the Thunder, we discussed how they have been guilty of rolling over against poorer teams this season. When facing an opponent with a losing record on the road, OKC is 1-7 ATS, failing to cover the spread by an average of 3.5 points. In six of the eight games the defense allowed the home team to go OVER its projected total.

For the Thunder to cover the spread, a lot hinges on how well Durant shoots. He owns a 50.7 percent field goal percentage, 18th best in the NBA and tops among all small forwards. When Durant nets 56 percent or more on the night, OKC is 9-3 ATS versus 2-9 ATS when held to 45 percent or lower. Durant has lit up the Nets' current roster, going 16-of-28 from the field lifetime. Durant hit them for 30 points, six boards, five assists, and three blocks in their November meeting.

Starting center Steven Adams will miss the match-up after injuring his elbow in warmups prior to the Mavs game on Friday. Nick Collison will likely fill the void, splitting time with rising star Enes Kanter. OKC is deeper than its been in years.


Brooklyn Nets (11-33 SU, 21-23 ATS)
Brooklyn is in a free fall. It is operating without a General Manager and fired head coach Lionel Hollins two weeks ago to the day after starting a franchise-worst 10-27 SU on the year. Former assistant Tony Brown is in charge on a interim basis. In addition to losing 10 of their last 11 straight up, the Nets have let bettors down, too, going 1-10 ATS during the sink.

The Nets are awful offensively. Their 47.7 effective field goal percentage ranks 27th in the NBA. Less than a week ago, they hired Perfect Shots Basketball's David Nurse as a team shooting coach. Brooklyn hopes his teachings make an instant impact.

Most of Brooklyn's points come in the low post with center Brook Lopez (19.5 ppg) and power forward Thaddeus Young (15.3 ppg) leading the team in scoring. Young, in particular, seems to be the difference-maker on offense. When he scores 16 or more points on a night, the Nets post 98.6 points per game and are 15-6 ATS. When he puts up his season average (15) or less in a game, the team scores 91.9 a contest and are 6-17 versus the number. Young is scoring just 12.6 points per game in this last 10. For Lopez, meanwhile, OKC is one of four teams he has averaged 20+ ppg in his career (Lakers, Raptors, and Trailblazers).


Final Analysis
The Thunder allow 46.8 points from the paint per game, or 43.7 percent of opponent's scoring from the area. Despite the Nets' difficulties dropping points, they'll likely find themselves close enough to the rim to stay within the double-digit spread. Brooklyn +13.5 is the NBA pick.

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