The Oklahoma City Thunder might be getting at least one of their superstars back in the lineup on Friday night and there’s an outside possibility that they might get two. That’s why they’re a 6.5-point favorite on the NBA betting lines.
Why The Knicks Will Cover
They played well in their most recent game on Wednesday night in Dallas against the Mavericks, a team that is likely going to be in the Western Conference semifinals in the middle of the playoffs next May. The Knicks took Dallas to overtime on the road before falling, 109-102. The Knicks played that well with Carmelo Anthony sitting out. If the Knicks can be that competitive without their superstar, imagine what can happen with Anthony in the mix.
The other thing to realize when looking at this game is that while there’s a chance Oklahoma City might get either Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook into the lineup for this game, there are limits on what either player will be able to do. Take this into consideration when looking at the NBA odds, as one should not expect Westbrook or Durant to play more than 30 minutes. Their time on court should be managed as they work their way back into playing shape. In addition to that, the Thunder have not been accustomed to playing with Durant and Westbrook this season. They’ve had a one month interruption and will have to get back in rhythm once Durant and Westbrook do resume playing. That’s going to be an adjustment process, and you might see many players on the Oklahoma City roster struggle for a few days while the rotations and minutes are shifted to accommodate the new situation. All these things could work in the Knicks’ favor against an Oklahoma City team that’s 29th in the NBA in scoring offense. The Thunder being 3-7 in their last 10 games won’t hurt the Knicks’ cause, either.
Why The Thunder Will Cover
They're playing a team that’s quite possibly going to be without Carmelo Anthony. Back problems have sidelined the Knicks’ best player, and while New York played well in Dallas on Wednesday, there’s no guarantee that the Knicks will be able to play well again on Friday. New York is 25th in the NBA in offense and 26th in the league in rebounds. There’s no low-post presence for this team, and with the transition to a new offensive system under first-year coach Derek Fisher, the Knicks cannot depend on consistent offensive output this season. Losing Anthony should only make things a lot worse.
The Thunder should then be comforted by the possibility that either Kevin Durant or Russell Westbrook, and maybe both, will be able to play in this game. Even without extended minutes, the Thunder should benefit from getting a few bodies back, so that their overworked bench players can settle into more comfortable workloads. This could give Oklahoma City enough resources to win this game and become a steadier team going forward.
The Thunder might have one superstar back and the Knicks might be without theirs. As long as the Thunder do get someone back, take them in this spot with your NBA picks. The addition should be a huge boost both mentally and physically in this spot.
Free NBA Pick: Oklahoma City -6.5 at BetOnline