The Clippers had a tough battle against the Warriors, while the Thunder got lucky in the final game of their series against the Grizzlies. Now against one another, both of these teams present plenty of matchup issues for the opposing defenses. The NBA series and game odds reflect that too. The NBA Odds have the Thunder as -5 ½ favorites at home tonight, with a total of 211 ½.
The spread to me is a wash for this game, but If I had to choose a cover, I’d probably go with the Clippers. However for me, the total has a lot more value heading into the second round. At 211 ½, I think this number could have some great 'over' value between these teams, because they have several mismatches for the opposing defense.
The biggest mismatch is of course is in favor of the Thunder with Kevin Durant. However, 32 year old, Tony Allen played Durant very well through the first five games of that series. Despite Allen playing him well throughout the series, when it mattered, Durant came through.
Trying to defend Durant will now fall onto Matt Barnes, who despite not being a terrific defender is still pretty good on that end of the floor. Barnes is even older than Allen, believe it or not, and even though he isn’t as good of a defender as Allen, he is longer and more athletic. This will at least take care of the size disadvantage that plagued the Allen vs. Durant matchup last series, but ultimately you cannot stop Durant all together.
The Sharp Pick
These two teams split their regular season series against one another, however they both won one game a piece on the opposing team’s floor. Regardless, that is going to be easier said than done in the postseason. Both of these teams had big injuries this year with Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook, so I don’t take a whole lot of stock in the regular season meetings. However, if you handicapped these playoffs solely based on regular season series, you would have been making a lot of money so far from your NBA picks.
With both of these teams coming off tough series, they might be a little tired coming into the second round. At 211 ½, we could see a much higher game than the sportsbooks are projecting at 211 ½. Not only could they be a little tired, but also with all the mismatches going on in this series, I think the beginning of the series could be really high scoring.
These two should take the first few games of the series to feel one another out and make adjustments from there, and the defense might be lax at the beginning. I see a fast-paced contest coming into Game 1 tonight, and at 211 ½, the 'over' is by far my favorite play for this game.
My Free NBA Pick: 'over' 211 ½