Injuries Around the League to Impact NBA Picks & Odds

Matthew Jordan

Tuesday, October 14, 2014 2:45 PM GMT

Kevin Durant's chances of repeating as the NBA MVP winner took a big hit with the news he could miss up to two months with a fractured right foot. His injury isn't the only major one right now. Here is a look at how NBA odds were affected by a few.

Thunder Win Total Drops
The Oklahoma City Thunder have yet to say whether Durant needs surgery for his "Jones fracture," which is a broken bone at the base of the small toe. But it seems likely. The original timetable was 6-8 weeks but some doctors are saying it's a 12-week recovery time. Needless to say, the foot takes a lot of pressure from a big NBA player running around all night. Durant has missed only six regular-season games in the past five years and has played the most minutes in the NBA since 2007-08, his rookie year. Durant really had to play heavy minutes for long stretches last season when Russell Westbrook was sidelined due to knee surgery. Durant will be the first reigning MVP to not appear in his team's first game the next season since Allen Iverson in 2001-02.

There are arguments for and against this affecting the Thunder's title hopes. Their NBA odds did get a bit longer at Sportsbook.ag, now +320 to win the Western Conference and +700 for the NBA championship. In one sense, Durant might be more fresh come playoff time than he has ever been. On the flip side, if the Thunder struggle for the 15-25 games he might miss then it could cost them a Top-4 playoff seed and home-court advantage in any round of the playoffs (barring upsets).

The Thunder scored 109.7 points per 100 possessions with Durant on the floor last season and 101.7 per 100 with him not. Westbrook has never met a shot he doesn't like so he could set a career high in scoring this season without Durant around taking 20 or so shots a game. It also means an uptick in Reggie Jackson's value. It will be nearly impossible for Durant to win another MVP if he misses 25 percent of the season. Sportsbooks have taken NBA MVP odds down for the time being as the odds are adjusted. The Thunder now have a wins total of 53.5 on NBA odds, down from 57.5.

NBA pick: Go 'under' the wins. Westbrook isn't exactly a picture of health himself. The Thunder won't rush Durant back.

 

Brad Break for Wizards
Washington's Bradley Beal recently proclaimed that he and John Wall form the best backcourt in the NBA. I would argue against that -- Golden State, for example -- but it's a moot point for now as Beal underwent surgery on his fractured left wrist Sunday and will miss 6-8 weeks. He was hurt in the Wizards' preseason game on Oct. 10. It actually was fairly good news as there was no nerve damage or displacement in the wrist. That would have kept him out longer.

Beal averaged career highs in points (17.1) and assists (3.3) in his second season out of Florida. In 11 playoff games as Washington reached the Eastern Conference semifinals, he averaged 19.2 points and 4.5 assists. The Washington Wizards would generally turn to Martell Webster to start for Beal, but Webster had back surgery in late July and he won't return for a while. So now you are looking at someone like Glen Rice Jr. starting at the two. That's not great news. It's also why the Wizards are badly hoping they can lure Ray Allen.

Washington was at 50 wins previously on NBA odds and now is at 48. It is +1500 at sportsbooks to win the East, a distant third behind Cleveland and Chicago.

NBA pick: I leaned 'under' 50 wins for Washington on a story on last week. I still like 'under' 48 as Washington seems likely to lose at least a few games it might have won sans Beal.

 

Little Good News for Lakers
Let's be clear in that Nick Young isn't anywhere near as good as Durant or Beal. We all know that. But he's still pretty important for the Los Angeles Lakers, which tells you what state of disrepair that franchise is in. "Swaggy P" will miss the first six weeks or so of the season following right thumb surgery. Without Kobe Bryant around to hog the shots last year,  Young averaged a career high 17.9 points for a bad Lakers squad. Kobe is back now but he needs some help, and there's not much else offensively on this team.

In addition, point guard Steve Nash, who is still being counted on despite his age, is dealing with back issues already. As it was, he played just 15 games in 2013-14 due to nerve root irritation in his left leg, which is related to his back problem. It's hard to imagine Nash making it anywhere close to a full season. Even at 40, he's a better option for the Lakers than Jeremy Lin.

NBA pick: The Lakers' win total was and has dropped a half game on NBA odds 32.5 to 30. Still lean 'under' for my NBA picks.