NBA Pick: Underdog Value Play Thursday

LT Profits Sports Group

Thursday, March 13, 2014 4:00 AM GMT

Each day LT Profits Sports seeks an overlay underdog that has a better chance of cashing than its odds, offering long term value. Here is their Underdog Value Play for Thursday.

While one of the best teams in the NBA is seeking revenge vs. one of the league’s worst teams Thursday night, this still seems like an inflated point spread when the Los Angeles Lakers (22-42, 11-22 away) pay a visit to the Oklahoma City Thunder (47-17, 27-6 home) at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City, OK at 9:35 ET in a game televised nationally on TNT.

The point spread at Pinnacle Sports has Los Angeles as a huge underdog for this contest with the current line at +16½ with odds of -105.

The Thunder are the second seeds in the Western Conference one game behind the San Antonio Spurs while the Lakers are just one-half game ahead of the Utah Jazz for the worst record in the West, so it was one of the biggest upsets of the NBA season when the Lakers beat Oklahoma City 114-110 at the Staples Center Sunday as 12-point home underdogs.

Now the Thunder have undoubtedly not forgotten and they probably will not take Los Angeles as lightly in this rematch now playing at home. Still, while Oklahoma City should get its revenge, covering the steep 16½-point spread is another matter entirely.

You may be surprised to learn that while the Lakers have their worst team in a generation this year at 22-42 straight up, they actually have a winning 34-29-1 ATS mark often due to playing to inflated spreads like this one, although Los Angeles does also have some unlikely outright upsets along the way such as the recent wins over the Thunder at home and over the Portland Trail Blazers on the road.

The Lakers have really picked up the pace offensively as of late, averaging 115.3 points over their last six games while hitting a blistering 45.2 percent from beyond the three-point arc over this span. They shot 46.9 percent including hitting on 13 three-pointers in the upset of the Thunder Sunday with Jodie Meeks leading the way by pouring in 42 points on 11-for-18 shooting overall including 6-for-11 from three-point land.

Pau Gasol has been his usual steady self averaging 17.7 points and 9.9 rebounds over the entire season and Jordan Farmar has provided some instant offense off the bench over those last six score-fests, averaging 16.6 points while scoring at least 20 points in three of those games.

The Thunder are in what should be considered a slump compared to their usual lofty standards as they are just 4-5 and 3-5-1 ATS in their last nine games, as besides losing to the Lakers, this current streak also includes an unlikely loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers here at Chesapeake Arena.

The problem during this stretch has been defense, which is unusual for an Oklahoma City team that is still ranked 10th in the NBA in points against at 99.2 per game, fourth in field goal percentage allowed at 43.5 percent and fourth in defensive efficiency. However, the Thunder have allowed an unhealthy average of 108.3 points over the last 10 games and they are allowing opponents to shoot 40.7 percent beyond the three-point arc the last five contests.

As bad a season as the Lakers are having on the court, they are certainly capable of taking advantage of that Thunder defense considering the direction that both teams have been trending towards lately and they can continue their success at the betting windows.

While the Lakers may not duplicate Sunday’s upset, look for them to hang close enough to cover this humongous number on Thursday.

[gameodds]5/258363/?r-1=238-92-43-349-192/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick: Lakers +16½ (-105)