NBA Picks: Magic vs. Thunder

Steven Suarez

Friday, March 15, 2013 11:30 AM GMT

Friday, Mar. 15, 2013 11:30 AM GMT

It would take something crazy for the Thunder to lose at home to the Magic, but as expected the NBA odds are quite steep. Have we found another angle to exploit?

Odds Overview

Kevin Durant and company are favored by 16 points on the NBA odds boards for this home game against Orlando. The Thunder have gone 5-2 ATS in the last seven head-to-head meetings.

We can find an O/U of 207 at more than a few of the most recognized sportsbooks, with the UNDER going 12-5 in the last 17 matchups between these teams.

Orlando Magic

Nelson, Afflalo,Harris, Harkless, Vucevic

The Magic gave it their very best shot against Dwight Howard and the L.A. Lakers on Tuesday, but ultimately fell a little short in a 106-97 loss at home.

Employing the “Hack a Howard” strategy early on, Orlando sent their former center to the line an astonishing 39 times. The plan backfired a little bit though, as he connected on almost 64 percent of his attempts, far above his season average. 

Kudos to the Magic for giving everything they had though. They got 21 points and seven assists out of Jameer Nelson and a big double-double from Tobias Harris (17 points, 15 rebounds and three blocks), who's really become a centerpiece of this Magic team since coming over from Milwaukee.

Still, a loss stings no matter what, and Orlando has now dropped three of four and are 3-11 SU over their last 14 contests overall. About the only positive for the Magic is the fact they've been able to cash in four consecutive road games leading into tonight.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Westbrook, Sefolosha, Durant, Ibaka, Perkins

It was business as usual for the Thunder on Wednesday, as they torched Utah in a 110-87 win at home. We quickly saw why they were favored by 11.5 points ahead of tipoff, with Oklahoma City racing out to a 10-point lead after one and a 50-28 advantage at halftime.

From there it was smooth sailing for Scott Brooks' team. On the night they shot 53.6 percent from the field overall, 43.8 percent from three, and 87.9 percent from the charity stripe. The Thunder dominated on the glass (37-22) and forced 20 Jazz turnovers.

With Durant and Russell Westbrook able to rest for most of the second half, the bench got a lot more run than normal and contributed their fair share of points. Both Durant and Westbrook still got theirs, but the bench combined for 51 points in the W.

As we mentioned, these huge spreads aren't making a difference and their backers love every second of it. Oklahoma City is covering on a consistent basis, as evident by their 8-3 ATS record over their last 11 overall and mighty impressive 21-6 ATS mark over their previous 27 at home.

[gameodds]5/221464/43/us[/gameodds]

NBA Pick

This will be the first meeting of the season between these teams, though we doubt Orlando is relishing this matchup too much.

We're going to stay far away from this spread. We like the chances of the Thunder leading by double-digits throughout, but there's too much risk involved here with a backdoor cover looming.

Instead, we will make our NBA Pick on this game's total, with the UNDER getting the nod. It seems safe to predict Oklahoma City will easily get their 100+ points, but we're not so sure about the Magic. The Thunder have looked much better defensively lately, holding their last five opponents to 91.8 PPG on average. 

The UNDER is 4-1 in Oklahoma City's last five overall and 4-1 in their last five at home too. Plus, with this game possibly turning into a blowout, we think that will help keep the total below the high number.

NBA Pick: UNDER 207 at Bet365

comment here