Durant's Absence Makes 'Under' the NBA Pick for Blazers/Thunder

Darin Zank

Tuesday, December 23, 2014 4:28 PM UTC

Tuesday, Dec. 23, 2014 4:28 PM UTC

What does Kevin Durant mean to OKC betting totals? Games he's played this season have averaged 18 more total points than games he's missed. KD is questionable again for tonight's game against Portland.

Blazers-Thunder Betting Odds
The NBA betting odds market waited to put out a line on this game Tuesday morning, because of the injury situations with OKC's Durant and Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge. When the line did come out most books were chalking the Thunder at -6 over the Blazers, with a total of 200.

Portland could also be gotten at +230 on the moneyline at BetDSI.


The Situation
Portland just had a five-game winning streak snapped by a 110-95 loss at Houston Monday night. But the Blazers played that game without Aldridge, as he deals with an illness. The Blazers fell down by 20 points at the half and never got closer than 14 from there, whiffing on the spread as five-point underdogs. Portland shot 45 percent from the floor, and allowed the Rockets to shoot 47 percent, but there's a lot of garbage time in those numbers.

Prior to that the Blazers had beaten Indiana, San Antonio twice, Milwaukee and New Orleans for a five-game run that included four covers.

At 22-7 the Blazers trail Golden State by 2.5 games in the race for the best record in the Western Conference.

Oklahoma City recently won seven in a row, but has lost two of its last three, after falling at home to New Orleans Sunday night 101-99. Playing without an injured Durant the Thunder led by five through three quarters, but went cold in the fourth, and lost outright as seven-point favorites.

OKC shot 46 percent from the field Sunday, but allowed the Pelicans to shoot 48 percent. Just prior to that defeat the Thunder had beaten the Lakers 104-103, also without Durant. At 13-15 Oklahoma City trails New Orleans and the Suns by a game and a half in the battle for the eight spot in the West.

Portland took the first meeting between these teams this season back in October 106-89, covering as a nine-point favorite. Aldridge tossed in 27 points, while Durant sat out on rehab. The Thunder led by five at the half, but the Blazers won the second half 57-35. Last season these teams split four games, with each team winning once at home and once on the road.


Blazers-Thunder Key Numbers
Portland only ranks 18th in FG shooting at 45.5 percent, but fifth in FT shooting at 78 percent and third in FG defense, holding foes to 43 percent shooting. The Blazers also rank fifth in rebounding at +2.5 per game, eighth in assists at 23 per game and 12th in turnovers at 13 per game.

OKC ranks just 22nd in FG shooting at 44 percent, but second in FG defense, limiting opponents to less than 43 percent shooting. The Thunder also rank second in rebounding at +3 per game, but last in assists at 19 per game, and ninth in turnovers at 14.5 per game.


Blazers-Thunder Betting Trends
OKC is a lopsided 8-20 on the totals this season, as Thunder games have averaged 192 points. Oklahoma City games have averaged 204 total points in games Durant has played, just 186 in games he's missed.

Portland is 12-17 on the totals, even as Blazers games have averaged 200 points.
OKC is 7-6 SU, 10-3 ATS at home this season.
Portland is 10-5 SU, 8-7 ATS on the road.


Injury Update
Aldridge has missed recent action with an illness, and Durant has missed recent action with a sprained ankle. Both are very questionable for Tuesday's game.


Blazers-Thunder Free Pick
The last four games in this series have all played UNDER on the totals, and Aldridge and/or Durant could miss this game. If one plays, that's probably the side to take for this NBA pick, because either of those guys would make the difference. But if both don't play, and that's what we're expecting, this looks like a nice spot for an UNDER.

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