Oklahoma City Thunder (13-3, 4-3 away)
All kinds of pressure precede Oklahoma City Thunder this season, not the least of which to deliver a title by the end of it all – anything less would be considered a flop by what is arguably one of the more talented teams in the NBA lead by Kevin Durant and Co.
Last year was a huge disappointment for the Western Division heavyweights, unceremoniously bounced out of the playoffs by Memphis in the second round. Still they began the 2013-14 season as one of the sportsbooks’ contenders, short-odds-on favorites to reach the finals – even win it all.
As the season got underway, it was a less than stellar start with three defeats in their first eight games – all of which came on the road. But a recent turnaround appears to suggest a promising surge that augurs well towards their basketball betting prophecy and, more importantly, towards improving road form that has been a bit of a letdown so far at 4-3.
Overall, they are second in the Northwest Division on the back of a 13-3 record, courtesy of a stellar eight-game winning streak since snapping a back-to-back losing stretch on the road in mid-November against the Los Angeles Clippers and Golden State Warriors.
During this perceptible positive run of form they’ve beaten one of their biggest rivals in NBA betting the San Antonio Spurs, edged out Golden State in overtime and even clinched two road wins – a 92-79 win over Milwaukee and a 97-95 win over Sacramento.
However Thunder are gearing up to face a real test from the Portland Trail Blazers on Wednesday night, the team that currently leads the Northwest Division and boasts an impressive run of form with just a lone loss in their last 14 games home and away. As such, Thunder are listed as the underdogs at +115 to win straight up at Bet365 despite starting the season as the Western faves.
Portland Trail Blazers (15-3, 7-1 home)
Portland Trail Blazers are looking to improve their home form to a seventh straight win at the expense of Thunder and sportsbooks are definitely cornering the game in their camp with -135 odds to win straight up at Bet365. The Houston Rockets were the last team to beat them at home this season when they handed them 116-101 defeat on November 5.
What augurs well for the Blazers and goes towards underscoring their NBA odds in this game is a recent win over league-leading Indiana Pacers, a 106-102 home win that few expected with any conviction. Aldridge had 28 points and 10 rebounds while Lillard added 26 points as Portland handed the Pacers their second loss.
It certainly was a statement-making win that caught the attention of bookmakers and bettors, especially when few were convinced by the Trail Blazers contention credibility at the start of the season. After all, they finished 33-49 last season.
Of course, it’s still early days and a lot can happen but if the Blazers can make it two big wins in a row by adding a win over Thunder tonight, their stock value will most certainly improve at least in the foreseeable.
But can the Blazers beat Thunder tonight? Fact is the Blazers have lost seven in a row to Thunder so despite the NBA odds this isn’t going to be a straightforward affair. In fact, you could go so far as to say that it isn’t a good matchup for the Blazers. What’s more, Thunder are a solid 6-0-1 ATS against the Blazers during that stretch.
NBA Betting Verdict: On balance there is value on both sides of the coin as each side comes into this highly anticipated clash on convincing form and full of confidence. What’s more, a lot is on the line, not least pride and bragging rights in the Division and they are better aware of it than we are. It should be a really tight game, a close result that could go either way and that makes it difficult to handicap.
The Blazers will have home advantage and that coupled with their good form would appear to make them the better NBA pick to win straight up. However, that it hasn’t been a difference maker in the past simply can’t be ignored. It’s quite possible that it won’t be again tonight as Thunder will be confident in that record. Moreover, on occasion, there is a letdown following a big win such as the Blazers’ Monday night win over the Pacers – a hangover so to speak that the Thunder will surely capitalise on. So going on that fact and intangible we’re recommending the Thunder as the value NBA pick at +115 to win straight up.
NBA Picks: Thunder to win straight up at +115 at Bet365