NBA Picks: Bobcats to 'Cover' vs. Thunder

Jordan Sharp

Sunday, March 2, 2014 4:17 PM GMT

Will Charlotte come to play against a suddenly struggling Thunder team, or will OKC turn back into the juggernaut we know them to be now that Russell Westbrook has had some time to get reacclimated.

Of all the games with very high spreads tonight in the NBA Odds, I have a suspicion that this one could be a little closer than the sportsbooks are putting on. Oklahoma City has opened up as a -9 favorite, with a total of 211 tonight. 

Stop ignorance in OKC and abroad

This subsection is by no means a shot at the city of Oklahoma City. I am here to set the record straight; the Thunder are NOT better off without Westbrook. All of this trade talk and garbage should be ceased immediately. He has not played in half of the Thunder games this season, and it is going to take some time for the team to get reacclimated with him running the offense.

All of this nonsense about how he takes more shots than Kevin Durant is ridiculous. Of course he is the one taking the most shots, he has the ball in his hands, and the only way their offense works is through Westbrook getting into the lane. Then, the defense collapses around him, so he can kick the ball out to a newly open Kevin Durant who by the way may be the best shooter in the NBA.

The offense wouldn’t work the same, or as efficiently if it was the other way around. If the ball was in Durant’s hands all the time, he would get more shots, however if it was Durant driving into the lane all the time, teams could eventually stop that. When you have Westbrook spotting up for three pointers, it’s not great offense. Westbrook gets more shots by design, because it allows Durant to be the efficient scorer the Thunder need him to be to win a title.

The Sharp Pick

However all that might be on hold tonight, because I don’t think Westbrook is fully reintegrated into the offense yet, and I also think the Bobcats are undervalued in the NBA Odds. The Thunder are only 0-3-1 ATS since Westbrook’s return, and they are facing a team built to defend well.

Even though he is still young, Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is a solid defender, and I see him giving Durant at least a little trouble tonight. However the mismatch of the night is definitely in favor of the Bobcats. With Kendrick Perkins out for the Thunder basically until the playoffs, Steven Adams has to start at center, and I expect Al Jefferson to feast tonight because of it. The Thunder will be forced to double team at some point if it gets too bad, which might leave Kemba Walker to go nuts tonight.

The Cats are 6-2-1 ATS in their last nine overall, and with this being the last season of the Cats before the return of the Hornets, Charlotte is making sure they get remembered for something other than their last two seasons. The Cats are also 16-10-2 ATS as road underdogs this season, and I still think they are undervalued here.

OKC is only 15-15 ATS this season when playing at home, and the Cats have actually been pretty solid against the West this season both home and away. Charlotte is one of only four East teams that has a profitable ATS record against the Western Conference this season, don't hesitate to add them to your NBA picks.

My Pick: Bobcats +9

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