There is a monster slate of games ahead of us on Friday. The matchup holding the most NBA betting value for tonight is found in Portland, as the OKC Thunder face the Trail Blazers.
OKC Thunder vs. Portland Trail Blazers Odds Overview
The Thunder, after a brutal overtime loss last night, now have to turn right around and take on the Trail Blazers tonight in what should be another great game.
And, as for the NBA odds, they show Portland favored by five points. Some books have a line of five and a half on the board, for those that think Oklahoma City is the right side and want the best possible number. The total is trading at 206.5, so another up-tempo matchup should be in store this evening.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The good times finally came to an end last night. The Thunder had won seven straight games heading into a road game against Phoenix, but they fell short in overtime, unable to make that streak move to eight. In the end, they lost 117-113 as the NBA odds-on favorites.
It wasn't the most efficient offensive display from Oklahoma City, who shot 38.6 percent from the floor (as opposed to Phoenix's 49.5 percent) in the loss. Russell Westbrook was 12-of-38 from the floor - yes, you read that ride: 38 shots! - and finished with 39 points, 14 rebounds, 11 assists and three steals. Enes Kanter, Serge Ibaka, Dion Waiters and D.J. Augustin all scored in double figures too, but it was still wasn't enough, as the Thunder defense wasn't able to stop Eric Bledsoe and Markieff Morris, who combined for 57 points.
So, here we are. Oklahoma City now plays its second game in as many nights and its third game in four nights. It's hard to imagine tiredness isn't going to be a factor, especially when it comes to Westbrook, who played 43 minutes of back-and-forth, breakneck speed basketball last night.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers have been off since Wednesday's dominant home win over the defending champion Spurs. They used an impressive second half, in which they outscored San Antonio 60-45, to win 111-95. As a team Portland shot 50.6 percent from the floor overall and an even 50.0 percent from beyond the arc.
It wasn't LaMarcus Aldridge or even Damian Lillard that saved the day for the Trail Blazers. No, it was Wesley Matthews, who went off for 31 points on 11-of-18 shooting (4-of-10 from three) - he also added five rebounds, three assists and three steals and didn't turn the ball over once. Aldridge posted a double double, while Lillard posted an 18/7/5 line.
The Trail Blazers are now 5-3 over their last eight games and are 37-19 overall, which puts them in the fourth seed in the Western Conference. It's a heated race, with the likes of Dallas, LA, San Antonio and Oklahoma City all vying for as high of a seed as possible, so Portland knows how important each and every game is from here on out. The Trail Blazers should be ready for the challenge tonight.
As good as Westbrook and the Thunder have been, even without KD out on the court, it's hard to see them covering tonight against a more rested Trail Blazers team on the road.
Sometimes the circumstances are a little too much to overcome, and that's what we think happens tonight. Portland has been excellent at home, going 24-6, and they have the luxury of playing against what has to be a tired OKC squad here.
With our NBA picks, we think a lot of people will jump on the idea of backing Westbrook and company at a nice underdog price, but we're going the other way. We think the rock-solid Trail Blazers will get it done on their home court and win by at least five points to cash as favorites.
NBA Pick: Portland Trail Blazers -5.5 at Pinnacle