NBA Pick: Total Value Play of the Day Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, November 21, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

Thursday, Nov. 21, 2013 5:00 AM GMT

Each day the LT Profits Sports Group seeks out a total that simply does not add up and therefore offers the most value that day. Here is their Total Value Play of the Day for Thursday.

There could be a lower scoring contest than the lofty posted total indicates in a marquee nationally televised contest Thursday night when the Los Angeles Clippers (8-4, 3-3 away) pay a visit to the Oklahoma City Thunder (7-3, 4-0 home) at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK at 8:05 ET on the NBA on TNT.

The posted total at Pinnacle Spots is 211 for this contest with the current odds on the ‘under’ set at -105.

While it is understandable that this total is high, especially after the Clippers just beat the Thunders in a 111-103 shootout in Los Angeles a short while ago, this number could be a bit too over-adjusted as the Clippers are trying to improve defensively under new head coach Doc Rivers.

Now the Thunder can obviously score points vs. anyone, but what often gets overlooked is that they play good defense also with Thabo Sefolosha and Kendrick Perkins both among the better defensive players in the league at their positions, so it is not a given that this game will play out the same way as the last meeting did, which is the usually the knee-jerk reaction of an ‘over’ enamored public.

It is easy to forget right now that the Clippers were actually fourth in the NBA in points against last season allowing just 94.6 points per game, and yet they are somehow 27th in that category this year at a disturbing 105.1 points per game while ranking 28th out of 30 NBA teams in defensive efficiency. What is surprising about that is that Rivers is a defensive-minded coach, and it was defense that enabled him to win an NBA Championship as coach of the Celtics.

Perhaps his message is finally getting to his players though as the Clippers held the Minnesota Timberwolves to 37.8 percent shooting in a 102-98 win in the Twin Cities last night, dropping their field goal percentage allowed to a much, much better 43.1 percent over the last five games compared to 46.2 percent for the season.

Also, although Los Angeles beat Oklahoma City in a shootout at home, it may be in the Clips’ best interest to try to avoid getting into a track meet with the Thunder here in Oklahoma, where the home team has tended to feed off of the energy of a very supportive crowd to run teams out of the building.

Believe it or not, the Thunder are now in the bottom half of the league in shooting percentage, ranking 16th at 44.1 percent, and they are an excellent sixth in field goal percentage against at 43.6 percent. Therefore, the only reason that Oklahoma City games have averaged a combined 206.3 points per game is the tempo that the Thunder play at, as Oklahoma City has a high pace rating of exactly 100.0 possessions per game.

You may notice that even that high average is nearly five points less than this posted total, and this game may not get to 100 possessions if Rivers and the Clippers opt to play some half-court offense, which is a distinct possibility. Finally, while the Thunder may have the best one-two scoring punch in the NBA in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, they do not have a consistent third option right now, which could make the job of the Los Angeles defense easier.

If the Clippers go back to playing defense the way they did last season, and they appear to be trending in that direction based on the defensive performance in Minnesota last night, then look for the contest to stay ‘under’ the huge total on TNT Thursday.

[gameodds]5/247943/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Clippers, Thunder ‘under’ 211 (-105)

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