NBA Picks: Thunder vs. Mavericks

Jeff Grant

Friday, January 18, 2013 1:33 PM GMT

Friday, Jan. 18, 2013 1:33 PM GMT

The Dallas Mavericks will play their biggest game to date during the 2012-13 NBA season Friday night, as they prepare to host the Oklahoma City Thunder at the American Airlines Center. Let’s take a closer look at the NBA odds for this Western Conference affair.


Best record in the league

Oklahoma City has overtaken the Los Angeles Clippers by the slimmest of margins in possessing the NBA’s best record, as it has moved ahead in the race for the Western Conference’s No. 1 seed in the playoffs by a half game due to a current five-game win streak. The Thunder have scored 102 or more points in four of those contests, including a 117-97 victory over the Denver Nuggets as nine-point home favorites Wednesday night.

Streaking

Dallas has won four games in a row, including a 105-100 triumph over the Houston Rockets as four-point home favorites last time out, while going UNDER the posted total of 213. The Mavericks are playing their best basketball of the season, averaging just 10.7 turnovers per game over their last seven affairs, while six players have scored in double figures in three consecutive games.

Series history 

Sports bettors will certainly realize that the Thunder have won seven consecutive games in this series when making their NBA picks against the spread, which includes a four-game sweep in a playoff series last year. It’s still important to note that Friday night’s host has won 15 of the last 19 meetings against the Oklahoma franchise in this building.

Collison vs. Westbrook 

One of the key matchups in this game is at the point guard position, as former teammates at UCLA will do battle on the perimeter. Darren Collison has scored 10-plus points in 13 straight games, while he also managed to score a season-high 32 for the Mavericks in a 111-105 overtime loss to the Thunder in the first meeting of this series. Russell Westbrook combines with Kevin Durant to make up the league’s highest scoring duo, while Oklahoma City leads the NBA in averaging 105.4 points per game

Need to play some defense 

The Mavericks have proven victorious in just two of the last 10 meetings in this series—holding the Thunder below the century mark in scoring in both of those affairs. These two rivals have gone above the total in four of the last five, but the UNDER is 4-1 in the last five meetings in the Lone Star State. Dallas has fallen short of the number in five of its last seven home games where the total is between 205 and 209.5 points.

[gameodds]5/134354/43/us[/gameodds]

Prediction

I’m going to recommend that readers play the total as one of their sports picks, as the UNDER is 10-6-1 in the Thunder’s 17 road games this year, while the Mavericks have gone below the number in their last seven Friday games. 

NBA Pick: Under 205.5
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