Durant & Westbrook Give Thunder Betting Edge over Pistons

Darin Zank

Sunday, December 7, 2014 2:37 PM UTC

Sunday, Dec. 7, 2014 2:37 PM UTC

With its Big Two back in action Oklahoma City is 3-1 SU over its last four games, 3-2 ATS over its last five. The Thunder look to continue their recent good fortune when they visit Detroit Sunday evening. Here's our attempt at handicapping this contest, with a free NBA pick tossed in, for good measure.

Thunder-Pistons Betting Odds
Most of the NBA betting odds we sampled opened this game with OKC favored by 8.5 points, with the total proffered at right around 193. In the early betting most books bumped the Thunder to -9, and the total to 196. Those who believe Detroit might pull the upset in this spot could get a price of +420 on the moneyline at Sport Bet.


Thunder-Pistons: The Match-Up
OKC started this season without Kevin Durant, and lost five of its first seven games. It also lost Russell Westbrook along the way. Then, over the last half of last month, the Thunder lost six games in a row. But Westbrook returned to action last week, and Durant came back earlier this week, and suddenly OKC has won three of its last four games, after winning at Philadelphia Friday night 103-91.

The Thunder shot 49 percent from the field Friday night, held the Sixers to 38 percent shooting, and led at one point in the third quarter by 20 points, although ultimately they came up short in trying to cover as 14-point favorites. At 6-13 Oklahoma City is five games behind Phoenix in the battle for the eight spot in the Western Conference standings.

On the homey side of this match-up Detroit started this season 2-2, lost three in a row, beat the Thunder in Oklahoma City in overtime, but has since lost its last 11 games in a row, five in a row ATS. Last Wednesday the Pistons lost in overtime at Boston, and Saturday they lost at home in overtime to the 76ers 108-101. Detroit led Philly by seven points with seven minutes to go, but went cold, and scored just one point in the overtime period.

The Pistons shot just 39 percent from the floor Saturday night, made just six of 23 shots from beyond the arc, and lost outright as nine-point favorites. At 3-17 Detroit is now just a game ahead of Philadelphia in the battle to stay out of the basement in the Eastern Conference.

This is the second meeting between these teams this season; back in November the Pistons beat the Thunder 96-89 in overtime in OKC, winning outright as three-point dogs. But neither Westbrook or Durant played in that game. Last year the Thunder swept two games from Detroit by scores of 119-110 and 112-111; Durant and Westbrook both played in both those games.


Thunder-Pistons, By the Numbers
Oklahoma City ranks 27th in the league in FG shooting at less than 43 percent, 25th in 3-point shooting at 33 percent and 25th in FT shooting at 73 percent. But we would expect the Thunder to improve upon all those figures as they come to full strength.

At the other end of the court OKC ranks second in FG defense, holding foes to just 42 percent shooting, 10th in rebounding at +1 per game, but their 19/15 assist-to-turnover ratio also needs work.

Detroit ranks dead last in the league in FG shooting at 41 percent, 20th in 3-point shooting at 34 percent and 29th in FT shooting at 69 percent. The Pistons also rank 15th in FG defense at 45 percent, 16th in rebounding at -1 per game, and own a 19/14 A/TO ratio.


Thunder-Pistons Betting Trends
Detroit is 2-9 both SU and ATS at home this season.

OKC is 2-8 SU, 2-7-1 ATS on the road.
OKC has leaned toward the UNDERS by a 14-5 margin this season, as Thunder games have averaged just 186 points.

Detroit is 9-11 on the totals, as Pistons games have averaged 193 points. But Detroit has played four OVERS in its last six games, in part because it's allowed at least 104 points in each of its last six contests.


Injury Update
Not only are Durant and Westbrook back for OKC, but F Perry Jones, after missing a month with a sore knee, played six minutes Friday night. So the Thunder are as healthy right now as they've been all season.

Meanwhile, Detroit G Brandon Jennings is dealing with a sore thumb, and it's affecting his play – he's made just 10 of his last 50 shots.


Thunder-Pistons Free Pick
Detroit has problems throwing the ball in the hole, and OKC is pretty good at keeping opponents from doing so. So we like the Thunder as our NBA pick to win this game, with room enough for the cover.

Free NBA Pick: Oklahoma City at 5Dimes

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