Friday NBA Picks: Thunder +4.5 vs. Hawks

Steven Suarez

Friday, January 23, 2015 3:16 PM UTC

Friday, Jan. 23, 2015 3:16 PM UTC

This is going to be good. The Thunder have been playing a lot better lately, but the Hawks have been the hottest team in the entire NBA. Who should we go with when placing our NBA picks?

Odds Overview
The Thunder are getting either 4 or 4.5 points, depending on which sportsbook you're using. They're playing as well as they have all season, but this is still going to be a tough test against Atlanta. No doubt about it.

Even more entertaining? The O/U has been set at right around 208 points, which means we should be seeing an up-tempo game with a lot of offense on display. 


Atlanta Hawks
Since a forgettable 7-6 start, the Hawks have caught fire and have quickly shot up to the top of the Eastern Conference in the process. Their record now stands at 35-8, meaning they've gone an astonishing 28-2 over their last 30 games overall. What's more, Atlanta has won 14 straight games heading into tonight's tilt with the Thunder.

The wins haven't just been coming over bad teams, either. The Hawks have picked up victories over some of the big boys too, topping Chicago twice, Memphis, Portland, Cleveland, Dallas, Houston and the LA Clippers during this amazing run. It hasn't mattered where Atlanta's played, whether it be at home (18-3) or on the road (17-5) - they've been hard to deal with in whatever location you pick.

It's hard to single out one particular player, as the Hawks are getting a lot of big plays from all over the place. The entire starting five (Teague, Korver, Carroll, Millsap, Horford) has been producing at an elite level, and Atlanta has leapfrogged the rest of the East on their way to the top spot. Some have been calling the Hawks the "Spurs of the East", and they've been backing it up by ranking first in the league in average points allowed per game and sixth on the offensive side of things. Another big test awaits tonight, however.


Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder have pieced together their own winning streak (not quite as long) and appear to be ready to go on a run. They've got quite a lot of ground to make up, but they certainly have the talent in place to make it happen.

That's mainly because of just how good Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have been (when healthy) this season. All's been going well recently, with Oklahoma City having won four straight contests, a run which includes wins over the Warriors, Magic, Heat and Wizards. Overall, the Thunder are sitting at 22-20.

As you can see, there's going to be no shortage of momentum for either sides tonight. Both teams are playing great basketball, so we should be in for a heck of a game. The Thunder, for the record, are just 10-13 on the road thus far this season, though again we mention that's been without Durant and/or Westbrook on the court for large chunks of the year already 


NBA Pick
This is more of a gut feeling than anything else. We know both teams well and have been impressed with their recent showings, which makes it all the more difficult to exploit the NBA Odds value.

Oklahoma City has Durant and Westbrook in a groove, and that when duo is healthy and in the zone, they can't really be stopped. We think the Thunder are going to skyrocket up the standings now that they're at full strength.

So, with our NBA picks tonight, we expect Oklahoma City to earn their fifth consecutive overall win. Since we expect a straight up victory, of course we're going to jump all over those odds and put our faith in the Durant/Westbrook duo to lead us to a cash. Enjoy what should be one of the games of the night!

NBA Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder +4.5 at Bodog

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