The Oklahoma City Thunder have suffered yet another injury going into Friday’s critical matchup with the Memphis Grizzlies, who are having issues of their own. How will the NBA odds shake out?
Jason’s record as of Apr. 1: 64-63-5 ATS, 7-11 Totals, plus-1.15 units ML
Somebody in Seattle must have collected all the Oklahoma City Thunder bobbleheads and turned them into voodoo dolls. The Thunder have picked up yet another injury on their road to the Western Conference playoffs; center Steven Adams sprained his ankle near the end of Wednesday’s 135-131 loss to the Dallas Mavericks (+3 away). Adams couldn’t practice Thursday, and is a game-time decision to play in Friday’s matchup (8:00 p.m. ET, ESPN) against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Adams isn’t the only question mark for this contest. Tony Allen remains iffy for Memphis with a tender hamstring that’s already cost him two games. And Zach Randolph’s status is up in the air after he got banged up in Monday’s 97-83 win over the Sacramento Kings (+10.5 away). Randolph is dealing with a hyperextended elbow and a sore knee, but it looks like he’s going to play through those injuries. Friday’s NBA odds are on hold anyway until we find out more.
In and Out
No point in getting frustrated about all this uncertainty. Sure, we’ve had to work around these injuries with our NBA picks lately, and we’ve been left with our cheese hanging out in the wind more than once. But this volatility is a great source of income for sharp handicappers. Casual bettors don’t properly assess the value of players coming in and out of the lineup – and that goes double for defensive specialists like Adams (14.4 PER, plus-1.9 DBPM) and Allen (14.6 PER, plus-3.6 DBPM).
That’s why we’re here. We might not have any basketball odds as we go to press, and we can’t say for sure who’s going to suit up on Friday, but we can take a moment to look at the injured players in question and get you prepared for some of the different possible scenarios. Then when the shootaround comes and you find out who’s active, you can make a timely and more educated NBA pick.
You Got Jonesed
With that in mind, let’s get back to the Oklahoma City Thunder (42-33 SU, 37-36-2 ATS). They’ve been a particularly tough nut to crack with all their injuries and trades this year. Losing Kevin Durant (27.6 PER, plus-6.3 BPM) to a Jones fracture is obviously the biggest blow to the lineup, forcing Russell Westbrook (28.9 PER, plus-11.0 BPM) to increase his usage and become a less efficient player in the process. That’s been a drag on Oklahoma City’s betting value.
But working in the other direction is the trade that brought Enes Kanter (24.9 PER, plus-1.5 BPM) to the Zombie Sonics. Kanter’s offensive touch has made him an excellent fit in OKC, taking pressure off Westbrook and adding to the Thunder’s value. His arrival has also mitigated the loss of frontcourt players like the previously injured Adams, as well as Serge Ibaka (16.6 PER, plus-0.8 BPM) and Nick Collison (11.5 PER, plus-0.2 BPM).
Oklahoma City Triage
However, the Thunder may have finally reached the tipping point with their accumulation of injuries. In the six games they’ve played since Collison went on the shelf with a sprained left ankle, they’ve gone 3-3 SU and ATS, including 1-3 SU and ATS in their last four games. We don’t know if Collison will play Friday, either, but there haven’t been any reports suggesting he’s ready.
This leaves Oklahoma City very thin on defense, especially if Adams doesn’t play. He, Collision (plus-1.2 DBPM) and Ibaka (plus-1.4 BPM) are stout at that end of the floor; Kanter (minus-1.5 DBPM) and Mitch McGary (17.1 PER, minus-0.6 DBPM) are not. Shooting guard Andre Roberson (9.4 PER, plus-2.2 DBPM) is also on the shelf, replaced in the starting lineup by Dion Waiters (9.6 PER, minus-1.9 DBPM). With that in mind, we’re recommending the OVER if Allen continues to sit out for the Grizzlies.
Free NBA Pick: Pick OVER 199 at BetOnline (if Allen sits out)