NBA Picks: Thunder vs. Bucks

Darin Zank

Saturday, March 30, 2013 3:26 PM GMT

Saturday, Mar. 30, 2013 3:26 PM GMT

The Oklahoma City Thunder are still trying to track down the top spot in the Western Conference standings. And where might the money be made betting on this contest?

NBA Betting Preview: Thunder Rumble with Bucks

Losing at Minnesota Friday night didn't help, but might make for a pissed-off OKC squad heading into a game Saturday night in Milwaukee (8:35 pm ET).

The Thunder, as you'd expect, is favored for Saturday night's game; can they pick up a road win/cover? Or can the Bucks, who just beat the Lakers, get back to .500 with an upset?

Thunder-Bucks Betting Lines

Most online sportsbooks we checked Saturday morning opened OKC as a 5.5-point road favorite for this game, and that number had held steady in the early betting. But the total opened at 210 at most NBA betting shops, then quickly got bet down to around 207.

Also, those who believe Milwaukee might win this game outright can get the Bucks at NBA betting odds of+215 on the moneyline at Legends.

Thunder-Bucks Game Set-Up

OKC (53-20 SU, 43-28 ATS) just got upset Friday night in Minnesota 101-93, breaking a three-game winning streak. The Thunder got out-rebounded by the Timberwolves 53-45 and committed 16 turnovers, losing outright as eight-point favorites.

At 33 games above .500 Oklahoma City sits in second place in the Western Conference, 2.5 games behind first-place San Antonio.

Milwaukee (35-36 SU, 32-39 ATS), meanwhile, just snapped a four-game losing streak by beating the Lakers at home Thursday night 113-103. The Bucks shot 48 percent from the field and held Kobe Bryant to a six-for-17 shooting night (although he also shot 20 free throws) in winning straight-up as two-point home dogs.

So, Milwaukee at a game under .500, owns the eight spot in the East. They are just 2.5 games behind seventh-seeded Boston. In one sense, the Bucks are damn lucky, because nobody behind them is putting any pressure on them; ninth-place Philadelphia is 6.5 games back.

But unless Milwaukee can catch the Celtics, it's headed for a first-round series loss to Miami.

This is the first meeting this season between these two teams. Last year the Thunder won the only meeting with Milwaukee 109-89 also at the Bradley Center. OKC jumped out to a 17-point first quarter lead, later led by 28, shot 48 percent from the floor for the game and cruised to an easy cover as three-point favorites.

Thunder F Kevin Durant only scored 19 points that night on five-for-14 shooting, but G Russell Westbrook shot 11-for-21 in tallying 26 points.

That game also played way UNDER its posted total of 212.

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Statistically Speaking

Several numbers catch our attention when sizing up this game.

OKC is shooting 48 percent from the floor this season, while Milwaukee is allowing foes to shoot 45 percent.

Also, the Bucks are shooting just under 44 percent, while the Thunder is holding opponents to less than 43 percent FG shooting.

Finally, OKC is out-rebounding opponents this season by about three per game, while Milwaukee is getting out-rebounded by about two per game.

Thunder-Bucks Betting Trends

Milwaukee 19-17 SU but a miserable 13-23 ATS at home this season.

OKC is 21-15 SU and 17-17 ATS on the road this season.

The Thunder is also 6-5 both SU and ATS on the back half of back-to-back games this season.

Both these teams are hovering around 50/50 on the OVER/UNDERS this season; OKC is 34-37 on the totals, as Thunder games have averaged 203 points, while Milwaukee is 34-35 on the totals, as Bucks games have averaged 199 points.

Looking at those average point totals, might that explain why the O/U on this game dropped three points shortly after being posted?

[gameodds]5/223376/169-43-19-999996-92/us[/gameodds]

Free NBA Pick

The Bucks upset the Lakers Thursday night, while the Thunder lost to the Timberwolves Friday night. In anticipation of a reversal of fortune for both teams in this match-up, we'll take OKC at the -5.5 points (-102) offered at Matchbook for our free NBA pick for Saturday. 

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