Free NBA Picks: Thunder vs. Warriors Will Go 'Under' 229

Jay Pryce

Thursday, March 3, 2016 6:43 PM UTC

Thursday, Mar. 3, 2016 6:43 PM UTC

Tired legs and strong defense may be in the works when the Thunder and Clippers tangle for the third time in less than 30 days tonight. Get your NBA pick and betting analysis here.

The two top-scoring teams in the NBA, the Thunder and Warriors, tussle for the third time in less than a month on Thursday (10:35 p.m. ET). Golden State has taken the last two, the latter in thrilling fashion with Steph Curry draining a deep three in overtime, but the Thunder pushed the spread in both.


Oklahoma City Thunder (42-19 SU, 24-34-3 ATS)
The Thunder blew a 17-point fourth quarter lead last night to the Clippers en route to a 103-98 defeat. They've now dropped five of their last seven. Could there be a worst spot to turn things around? On the road with zero rest, and against the reigning NBA champs who sport the best record ever (54-5) through the league's first 59 games. I can't think of one.

The Thunder are the second most efficient offense behind the Warriors, scoring 109.9 points per 100 possessions. The team appears to lean on Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant more this season than in years' past, particularly the latter. When both are off the court, the team immediately begins to slide. Head coaches Billy Donovan and Monty Williams will need the 2014 MVP to be at his scoring-best against strong opposition like Golden State. Over the last three season, when Durant shoots less than 50 percent from the floor as underdogs on the NBA odds board, the Thunder are 5-11-1 ATS and 4-13 straight up.

Durant has his most efficient nights this season against some of the weaker teams in the league. In games against foes with a winning record, the Thunder are 6-10 SU and 4-11-1 ATS when he shoots below 55 percent, scoring just 102.6 per night. They are 5-1 SU and 4-1-1 ATS when he hits at a higher rate with the team posting 110.5 points per game. In his career he's posted 50 percent or better in four of 13 games at Golden State. Durant has gotten the better of Draymond Green of late, though, going 16-of-25 when he's the nearest defender.


Golden State Warriors (54-5 SU, 31-25-3 ATS)
Steph Curry is expected to suit up despite sitting out of the team's 109-105 victory over the Hawks last Tuesday with a sore left ankle. He made it through Wednesday's practice with no problems and will be rearing to go. The league's leading scorer often dictates the team's success, which is the case against the Thunder historically. When Curry is held to 22 points or less, the Warriors are 3-9 SU and 2-10 ATS versus OKC. All but three of these games occurred prior to the Curry-Thompson-Green lineup. When the reigning MVP lights the scoreboard up for 23 or more, they are 6-5 SU and 7-2-2 ATS. The points ratio in this situation is 103.9 to 111.5.

Going back to last season, playoffs included, the UNDER is 15-6-1 when the Warriors host a team with a winning percentage better than 66 percent. Holding teams to 40.9 percent shooting, they've allowed 95.7 points per game and stopped 15 of 22 opponents from reaching their projected team total.

Over-under bettors will keep their eye on Klay Thompson. Averaging 21.9 points per game this season, since last year, the OVER is 19-5 when he puts up 25 points or more at home versus a 35-13-1 mark to the UNDER at 24 or less. The Warriors point total slips from 115.5 to 110.2 in this case. He's eclipsed 25 points in four out of 16 matchups against OKC, surpassing the figure just once in eight home games. He may do well tonight, heating up over his last 10 games. He's posted 26 points or more in five of last six.


Final Analysis
When the Thunder square off against good teams with solid defenses, the games tend to be low-scoring affairs. In 23 contests against opponents with a winning record and allowing 45 percent or less from the field, the UNDER is 16-6-1, going below the total by an average of almost five points. Couple this trend with some weary legs on OKC, and there may be a poor shooting night in the works. UNDER 229 is the play for your NBA picks.

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NBA Pick: Under 229
Best Line Offered: at Pinnacle

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