Free NBA Picks Take Thunder +12 vs. Clippers for Tonight

David Lawrence

Thursday, October 30, 2014 1:02 PM GMT

The NBA season is just getting going and on Thursday night, the Los Angeles Clippers play their first game in a much-anticipated 82-game schedule. It’s their first non-Donald Sterling game. That motivation is one reason why they’re a huge favorite on the NBA betting lines.

The Oklahoma City Thunder Can Win Because…
The Oklahoma City Thunder have Russell Westbrook in full flow. Westbrook knows he has to be the man for Oklahoma City’s offense with Kevin Durant out for a month with an injury. Westbrook is often accused by a lot of people of being selfish, but he’s selfish in a good way. Westbrook is so skilled with the basketball that he can create so many opportunities for teammates if the ball is in his hands. He is so quick that he can blow by a defender on the dribble and immediately cause the defense to react and scramble, leading to good things for the Thunder. Westbrook is a quality jump shooter, so if he drives to the hoop and the defense plays off him, Westbrook can pull up and get a clean 15-footer without anyone getting on his shooting hand. Westbrook is always so good in the open court that if the Clippers, playing in their first game of the season, are rusty and sloppy, Oklahoma City will make Los Angeles pay for its mistakes. There are limited options on the Thunder with Durant out, but Westbrook is the kind of player who can be on a limited team and yet still be great. Westbrook could score 40 points, grab 10 rebounds, and hand out 10 assists. If he is able to do that kind of thing, the Thunder could certainly win this game outright, not merely cover.

 

The Los Angeles Clippers Can Win Because…
They're deeper since Kevin Durant is out of the lineup for Oklahoma City. It’s not very hard to realize: With Durant and Westbrook together on the court, the Clippers and any other team the Thunder plays this season would have to be very precise and specific in choosing times to doubleteam one of those two players. However, with Durant out, the Clippers can choose to double Westbrook and force the ball out of his hands. Clipper head coach Doc Rivers is certainly going to devise ways to make Westbrook give up the ball. He’s going to challenge Oklahoma City’s other players to hit 17-foot jump shots, and he’s going to make Oklahoma City’s low-post players try to score against Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan, the Clippers’ two big men. Los Angeles is probably going to be able to do more on both offense and defense. The Clippers are also a team that is just starting the season and therefore has Chris Paul in pretty good physical shape, something that isn’t often the case at a much later point in the season, when he absorbs a lot of bumps and bruises. The Clippers should like the fact that they’re catching Oklahoma City at this time in the season. The timing is right for the Los Angeles Clippers.

 

Outlook
Westbrook should be great for Oklahoma City, but Blake Griffin will be great for the Clippers. If these players cancel each other out, Los Angeles has more on the rest of its roster. However, for our free NBA picks, the Thunder should be able to keep this game close enough to cover the NBA odds.

NBA Pick: Oklahoma City +12 at The Greek

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