Take 'Under' While Bricks are Flying in Celtics-Thunder Matchup

Wednesday, October 24, 2018 5:31 PM UTC

Wednesday, Oct. 24, 2018 5:31 PM UTC

It has been a slow start for both the Boston Celtics and the Oklahoma City Thunder. That means it’s prime time to jump on the "under" for Thursday’s basketball picks.

Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Oct. 24: 2-1 ATS

Boston at Oklahoma CityThursday, 8 p.m. ET (TNT)Free NBA Pick: UnderBest Line Offered: BetOnline

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This was bound to happen. The "over" is 33-18 after the opening week of the 2018-19 NBA regular season; the new 14-second inbound rule has added more possessions per game, as has the emphasis for officials on allowing freedom of movement – which has also sent a parade of players to the foul line. Well done if you bagged some of this easy money with your early NBA picks.

Now we’re going to recommend the exact opposite play. The Boston Celtics visit the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday night in the opening game of the TNT doubleheader, and so far, neither of these teams has found their shooting stroke. The "under" is 3-1 for Boston and 2-1 for Oklahoma City. Enjoy it while it lasts, because eventually, at least one of these two clubs will figure out what ails them.

Below C Level

The Celtics are the more likely of the two to get it right. Folding both Gordon Hayward and Kyrie Irving back into the starting lineup after long injury layoffs has been a struggle thus far. So has finding a role for Jaylen Brown after his promising sophomore campaign. Boston currently sits at No. 28 overall in offensive efficiency, scoring 97.8 points per 100 possessions. Fortunately for them and for us, the C’s also leads the league in defensive efficiency at 95.9 points allowed/100. That’ll keep them in business while they get their sea legs.

Eventually, the Thunder will probably sort things out on their end. They’re last on the offensive charts (95.5 points/100), but that’s bound to improve once Russell Westbrook is fully functional – he missed the first two games with a sore right knee. OKC did blow out the posted total in Westbrook’s season debut, beating the Sacramento Kings 131-120 on Sunday as 11-point home faves (Over 224), but the former MVP shot 1-of-6 from downtown and 5-of-11 on free throws as part of his 32-point performance. That’s the kind of rust we want to see against the superior Celtics defense.

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Russell Westbrook sneaking in a snack pic.twitter.com/w33nS8s2Hr

— Steve Noah (@Steve_OS) October 17, 2018
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Speaking of defense, that’s not Oklahoma City’s strong suit – thanks in part to the absence of injured stopper Andre Roberson. The Thunder rank No. 19 at press time with 108.4 points allowed per 100 possessions. They’re also one of the faster teams in the league, sitting at No. 6 in pace (107.8 possessions per game). Not the ideal slow-dance partner for Boston (102.4, No. 27), so don’t bet the farm when you check out the NBA odds board for this matchup. You might also want to wait closer to tip-off for a higher total. Shop smart, and may the sphere be with you.

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