Free NBA Picks: Back Thunder -1.5 as Short Favorite in Houston

Steven Suarez

Thursday, January 15, 2015 4:58 PM GMT

Injuries have gotten in the way for the OKC so far this season, but they should be able to start making up ground now that they're healthy again. We like them to cover the NBA betting lines tonight in Houston.

Odds Overview
At time of writing, sportsbooks had this game pegged as the closest of the day's three contests. It should be a tight affair, but right now the Rockets are favored by just 1.5 points at a majority of the sites we ran over.

Not only is this game expected to come down to the wire, but we should be seeing offense rule the day too. A very high total of 208 is on the NBA odds board for now, and there's still time for that number to grow even more.

 

Houston Rockets
The Rockets had won four straight games and seemed to be clicking, but then they went and lost to a shorthanded Orlando team on the road last night. The NBA is so unpredictable sometimes, which makes it very tricky to gain consistent returns in terms of handicapping. You've really got to pick your spots right.

With Houston favored by 8.5, few could have seen a straight up loss coming, especially since the Magic were without their most consistent player in Tobias Harris. However, the Rockets were awful defensively and let both Nikola Vucevic and Victor Oladipo have their way. You can't expect to ever win when you give up 120 points, especially to a team that's 15-27 this season.

Last night's performance has given us quite a reason for pause when considering the Rockets again tonight. It's even more difficult to trust them when you consider they're playing their second game in as many nights against one of the most talented teams in the entire NBA in Oklahoma City. A tough spot for Houston, no doubt, even at home.

 

Oklahoma City Thunder
Though they haven't been performing up their standards, the Thunder have plenty of time to make up ground in the loaded Western Conference. It's not going to be easy, but when you've got two of the best players in the NBA on the same team, it's a mere formality that Oklahoma City will find a way, barring an injury of course.

The Thunder were able to end a two-game skid by overcoming Utah 99-94 at home all the way back on Friday. Yes, they've been off for quite a while, so Oklahoma City should have no complaints about tired legs or anything of the like. We think the Thunder will be raring to go and start a run, beginning with a statement road win in Houston.

Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are back and seemingly restriction-free, as evident by their combined 57 points against Utah. Don't forget that the Thunder also have Dion Waiters around now, and he provides a nice scoring punch off the bench for a team that's been far too reliant on the production of just two guys for a while now. While others aren't sure how Waiters fits, I think he's a great addition for OKC.

 

NBA Pick
We have an inkling that the Thunder will come in and pick up the win, thus making them our preferred play with our NBA picks as short favorites.

Despite their shaky record, we all know what this Oklahoma City team is capable of when at full strength. We have no doubt the Thunder are going to go on a run: it's only a matter of when and not if.

With Houston playing last night and having to work a lot harder than they would have liked, we like this spot for the Thunder. They not only have motivation but also the fresher legs, having not played for almost a week, so we're feeling good about adding Durant, Westbrook and company to our NBA picks for Thursday night. Enjoy the game, and good luck!

Free NBA Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder -1.5 at 5Dimes

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