Oklahoma City Thunder (21-4 SU, 14-11 ATS)
The Oklahoma City Thunder is tearing through the NBA, victorious in 16 of their last 17 contests and currently on an eight-game winning streak. None of that would be possible without Kevin Durant stepping up his game and shooting lights out from beyond the arc. Durant is leading the league in scoring with an average of 28.7 PPG and shooting a lethal 58.6% from three-point land during the current winning streak.
Thursday night was more of the same as the Thunder welcomed the Chicago Bulls to the Chesapeake Energy Center (yet another example of an awful name for a sports venue). Kevin Durant dropped 32 points on Chicago while fellow All-Star Russell Westbrook chipped in 20 points and 10 assists. It was their 13th victory in 13 tries at home but the 107-95 victory margin was not quite wide enough for those who put their faith in the Thunder to cash as a 13 ½ point favorite in NBA odds.
Oklahoma City is currently 8-4 straight up and 7-5 against the all-important number while on the road this season. However, it should be noted that Okie City is 4-0 ATS in their last four games on the highway. One of the areas of improvement has come in terms of ball distribution. During their current winning streak they have increased their assists per game by four total per contest which has generated better looks and more touches for everyone in a Thunder uniform.
San Antonio Spurs (21-5 SU, 14-12 ATS)
Head coach Gregg Popovich may not be making the league execs very happy when he sits out his star players to give them a breather during the grind of the NBA season but when his team wins despite the absence of said players, it's hard to criticize. This is exactly what happened on Thursday night when Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili sat out and watched the reserves pour in season highs to derail the Golden State Warriors 104-102 in a stunning victory in which the Spurs were listed as seven-point road dogs by online sportsbooks.
While all the fanfare and adulation goes to aging stars such as Duncan and Ginobili, with a fair amount of love reserved for the younger Tony Parker, the contributions of Marco Belinelli shouldn't go unnoticed or unappreciated. Belinelli stepped up big time in Thursday's game with the big boys sitting down and torched the Warriors for a team-high 28 points while adding another four treys to his impressive resume of outside shooting. Belinelli currently leads the NBA in three-point shooting percentage, dropping bombs at a 53.2% clip.
Free NBA Pick:
Pick your poison here boys. This one is going to be a dandy even if - dare I say it - you don't make a wager. The big question is - will Tony Parker will play? He is suffering from a bruised shin and his status is unknown as of this writing. Therefore, oddsmakers are not dealing a line on this game at this moment. Nevertheless, we can speculate that with Parker suited up the Spurs will be along the lines of 2-3 point favorites. Without Parker, this game may be reduced to a pick or even Oklahoma being tagged as the small chalk in NBA odds.
Oklahoma City is 7-1-1 against the spread in their last nine games against the Spurs. However, they are only 6-13-2 ATS in their last 21 meetings when in San Antonio. I am looking for a refreshed Spurs team to derail the rolling Thunder in this one, I'll be adding the Spurs to our NBA picks for this Western Conference clash.
Play the Spurs in your NBA picks at Bet365.com or WilliamHill.com.