The Oklahoma City Thunder have held a big upper hand over the Dallas Mavericks over recent seasons, beating the Mavs 10 times in a row.
OKC will try to extend that streak to 11 when it plays host to Dallas for an NBA Western Conference battle Wednesday night (9:30 pm ET, ESPN).
But the Thunder, which has struggled to shoot the ball so far this season, is favored by four baskets; can they cover that spread, or is Dallas as an underdog the best play for our sports picks?
The Betting Line
As of early Wednesday morning most NBA odds boards we surfed were listing Oklahoma City at right around -8.5 points over Dallas, with an OVER/UNDER of 210.
Bettors who think the Mavs have a chance to win this game straight-up can get a price of around +280 on the NBA betting money-line at various sportsbooks.
Mavs-Thunder Game Set-Up
Dallas is off to a 3-1 SU start to this season, averaging a healthy 114 points per game, and is 3-1 ATS.
Tuesday the Mavs beat the Lakers 123-104, getting 30 points from newcomer Monta Ellis, shooting 52 percent from the floor, going 13-for-27 from 3-point range and covering the spread as nine-point home favorites.
On the other side of this match-up Oklahoma City is off to a 2-1 start but is 0-3 ATS.
Sunday the Thunder beat Phoenix 103-96, but couldn't cover the spread as 12-point favorites. OKC got 33 points from Kevin Durant and 21 points from G Russell Westbrook in his first action of this season, coming off knee surgery, even though Westy shot just 5-for-16 from the field.
As a team the Thunder shot just 2-for-18 from 3-point range Sunday.
Read our NBA Picks: Wednesday Betting Guide for more free plays.
OKC, as mentioned above, has beaten Dallas 10 times in a row. But the Mavs have managed to cover the spread in half those games.
Last year the Thunder swept four games from Dallas, but two of those games went into overtime, and another was decided by six points.
Oklahoma City shot a combined 45 percent from the floor in those four games, while the Mavs shot 44 percent. And OKC won the battles on the boards in each game, by an average of nine rebounds per.
Two seasons ago OKC swept the Mavs out of the playoffs in four games in a first-round Western Conference series.
Dallas is 4-0 on the OVER/UNDERS so far this season, as Mavs games have averaged 220 points.
OKC is 2-1 on the totals, even though Thunder games have only averaged 193 points.
Five of the last eight games in the series between these two teams have played OVER on the totals, although one of those games needed overtime to do so.
Our Take on Wednesday's Game
Dallas is off to an excellent start, and coming off a demolition of the Lakers in Big D Tuesday night. But will the Mavs shoot 52 percent from the floor again Wednesday night? That seems doubtful.
Meanwhile Oklahoma City is off to a sluggish start, averaging just 95 PPG, shooting just 39 percent from the floor, and hasn't yet covered a pointspread. But you've got to wonder how much longer that will continue for a team that ranked second in the league in shooting and third in scoring last season.
Westbrook showed some rust in his first game back Sunday night, but he should improve with more court time.
And OKC seems to have a bit of a mind-meld over Dallas, with those 10 wins in a row.
So in believing the Thunder will come up with a solid performance, while the Mavs might be hard-pressed to repeat what they did Tuesday night, we'll give the points and go with OKC for our free NBA pick for Wednesday.Pick: Take the Thunder at the -7.5 points offered at Pinnacle Sports.