NBA Picks: Take The Under When Thunder & Blazers Collide On Sunday

Mark Lathrop

Sunday, January 10, 2016 2:01 PM UTC

Sunday, Jan. 10, 2016 2:01 PM UTC

Oklahoma City dominated Portland in their earlier matchup this season. Our NBA handicapper looks at the trends going into this game and makes his NBA Pick.

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Free NBA Pick: Under 214½
Best Line Offered: at Heritage


Matchup Odds Overview
If you haven’t had enough sports after gorging yourself on NFL Wildcard weekend, the NBA finishes up their weekend slate with the 26-11 Oklahoma City Thunder visiting the 15-24 Portland Trailblazers. At this point in the season, Oklahoma City is cruising in the Northwest Division of the West Conference. They are currently ten games up on second place Utah and twelve games up on the Blazers. No other team in the division has a winning record overall and the Thunder are 6-0 in division games.

The opening NBA odds not surprisingly have the Thunder as the favorite and listed at -7.5 across multiple books. The O/U total can be found as low as 214 at Pinnacle and at 214.5 at Bookmaker. That O/U total has lifted from the opening line of 213.5 and the game line from -7 favoring the Thunder.


Portland Trailblazers
Portland is coming off of a 128-108 thumping at the hands of the greatest-team-in-the-land Golden State Warriors. The Warriors went up 38-21 on the Blazers in the first quarter and Portland never trailed by less than 8 points the rest of the game. Of course, when you let your opponent score 74 points in the first half that is bound to happen.

Lillard did score 40 points in that game against Golden State, but he didn’t have much help on defense. The Warriors used their smaller lineup while Portland had a big center in the game to create screens and open shots – which they hit with regularity. It’s the kind of lineup that Oklahoma City can put on the floor as well.


Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder won their last game 117-113 on Friday night against a Los Angeles Lakers team that is showing some life. The Thunder let Laker guard Lou Williams somehow score 44 points in the game and go a perfect 15-15 from the charity stripe. It was another game of across the board plus minutes for the Laker rookies so we will keep an eye on them in future matchups.

The Thunder were able to lean on Russell Westbrook late in the game though, as he finished with 36 points and 12 rebounds. Kevin Durant pitched in another 24 points to be the second leading scorer for the game.


History & Trends
In the last matchup between these two teams in December, the Thunder held the Blazers to just 35% shooting and 90 points on the game in a 106-90 win in Oklahoma. Oklahoma City was so dominant to begin the game that they rested their starters for the entire 4th quarter. Durant was the big winner for the Thunder, scoring 24 points in the game and adding 6 rebounds and 4 assists. All told, the Thunder had six players score in double digits in the game – even though they went just 2-14 from three-point land.

Portland couldn’t get much going on offense at all, with Mason Plumlee being a bright spot with 14 points and 10 rebounds. Damian Lillard had 20 points for the Blazers, but finished the game going 0-9 in the second half. Portland was outshot at the free throw line in the game 15-28, as Oklahoma City got to the free throw line 37 times in the game.


Betting Analysis
Although both of these teams allowed a bunch of points in recent games, the recent form between them favors the under for our NBA picks. The under is 10-3 in the last 13 games when these two teams play and 4-2 in the last six games played in Portland. And at a total of 214.5, the under would have cashed in 7 of the last 10 games. Portland is going to struggle to reach 100 points in this game, which gives us the best value on the under. I’m taking under 214.5 at Heritage as one of my Sunday NBA picks.

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