NBA Picks: Thunder Won't Have Any Problems Covering vs. Mavericks

Kevin Stott

Friday, January 22, 2016 4:42 PM GMT

Friday, Jan. 22, 2016 4:42 PM GMT

Let’s preview this Western Conference showdown from Bid D including current SU and ATS records & Injuries and any other information and see if is a decent NBA pick.

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Predicted Final Score: Thunder 111  Mavericks 98
NBA Pick: Thunder -5.5 
Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

 

Oklahoma City Thunder vs Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks (25-19 SU, 13-7 Home) welcome the Oklahoma City Thunder (32-12 SU, 11-7 Away) to American Airlines Arena in Dallas on Friday night for this third of four meetings between these two Western Conference teams this NBA Regular Season with the Thunder having won the first two meetings, both played in Oklahoma City. Oddsmakers have opened the visiting Thunder opening up as solid 6-point favorites (5Dimes) on Friday morning with the game’s Total set at 206½ (5Dimes). The Money Line (Winner) NBA odds here sees Oklahoma City priced at a large -255 with host Dallas lined at +235 on the takeback (5Dimes).

 

Oklahoma City Thunder
The Oklahoma City Thunder (108.6 PF-99.9 PA) and Head Coach Scott Brooks are playing pretty darn good right now and have W8 of 9 SU although the Thunder still haven’t been a great Point Spread cover team so far this season (19-25-0 ATS, 17-27-0 O/U). In their last game, the Thunder beat the Charlotte Hornets, 109-98 at Home at Chesapeake Energy Arena in Oklahoma City as SF Kevin Durant led the scoring with 28 points and running mate G Russell Westbrook added 18 for the Thunder (9/1 to Win NBA Championship, Paddy Power). Besides that expected dynamic duo in its Starting 5, the Thunder had SG Andre Roberson (7 points, 1 assist), PF Serge Ibaka (11 points, 87 rebounds) and C Steven Adams (10 points, 10 rebounds) on the floor to start the game. The Oklahoma City Bench came through in a major way with 39 points as backup C Enes Kanter (12 points), SF Kyle Singler (11 points), PG Cameron Payne (7 points), SG Dion Waiters (5 points) and PF Mitch McGary (4 points) all contributed and made good use of their playing time. When teams are playing good in the NBA, the Bench is usually contributing and thinks while watching and the No.’s 6-13 guys on a Roster on good teams know their roles and produce when they’re in. Former player Scott Brooks would know about that himself. The 39 points from these 5 guys with all scoring, all having at least one rebound and getting 17 boards combined reveals why the Thunder are in 3rd place in the Western Conference behind the two best teams in the league.

 

Dallas Mavericks
The Dallas Mavericks (101.0 PF-101.0 PA) and Head Coach Rick Carlisle are still in 5th place in the Western Conference, 6 games above the .500 mark (25-19) heading into this meeting with showdown with Durant, Westbrook and the Thunder on Friday night, but the big question is the availability of F Dirk Nowitzki (17.8 ppg, 6.9 rpg) who has a Knee Injury and will make his own final decision on playing after the Shootaround. With a game’s rest—Nowitzki sat out Wednesday’s 106-94 OT win over the Timberwolves in Dallas—words like those and a difficult opponent like Oklahoma City, it seems Nowitzki will lean to playing, but still, the opening line for this contest was delayed because of the question of his participation and the opening (Thunder minus) 6 has Nowitzki not playing as well as the playing but only being able to do so much built into the Point Spread. In that last game against Minnesota, Chandler Parsons had 30 points in the win for the Mavericks and the hosts outscored the visitors 17-5 in the OT frame to not only get the victory but the ATS cover (DAL -6½, 200). The Mavericks (100/1 to win NBA championship, Ladbrokes) Starting 5 against Minnesota included SG Wesley Matthews, PG Deron Williams, C Zaza Pachulia, F Charlie Villanueva and Parsons at a F spot. Leading the scoring off the Dallas Bench was the reliable G Devin Harris, who had 15 points, 4 rebounds and 4 assists in 32 minutes of playing time, but being forced to OT at Home by the Timberwolves shows a weakness of sorts with the Mavericks (6-4 SU L10, 6-3-1 ATS L10). Besides Nowitzki (Knee), Dallas is dealing with an Injury to G Raymond Felton (Eye) who, like Nowitzki, is also listed as Questionable for this game. Expecting both to be ready to play seems a wise approach, especially if contemplating backing the Thunder at this hefty price.

 

Series Trends, Logical Reasoning and Pick
Even if Nowitzki (Knee, Questionable) is able to go here for the host Mavericks on Friday night, it seems the Thunder are in way too much of a stone groove and seem like an Offensive train that may just be the third best team in the NBA right now, Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James withstanding. Oklahoma is scoring in triple-digits every night as Circus Masters Durant (26.5 ppg, 7.8 rpg, 4.4 apg) and Westbrook (24.0 ppg, 5.8 rpg, 9.8 apg)—both again named starters in the NBA All-Star Game on Thursday—continue to shine while Ibaka (13.2 ppg, 6.8 rpg, 2.3 bpg) quietly continues to do the dirty work in the paint underneath. Never underestimate Ibaka’s importance to this team and having him back and healthy this season is huge for Brooks and this club. When these two met in OKC earlier this season, the Thunder rolled to a 117-114 win in the first meeting in Oklahoma City as Westbrook led all scorers with 21 points but the Thunder failed to cover the number by a scant ½, giving 3½ points as the favorite (208½, O), so Pepto-Bismol was consumed by some Home Sapien because of the last basket of the game while another Human screamed in joy he didn’t lose by that half-point. Betting basketball will make you goo-goo, ga-ga. In the second meeting, also in OKC, the Thunder won again, 108-89, as Durant had 29 and Ibaka had 11 rebounds and the Thunder covered the huge 12½-point spread (207½, Under).

In the L10 in this series, each team is 5-5 ATS with the Totals 5-4-1 (O/U), so a little of this and a little of that and this series has been affected through recent seasons by injuries to stars Nowitzki, Durant and Westbrook as well as to Ibaka. Trend-wise, Oklahoma City is 4-9 ATS its L13 vs. the Southwest Division while the Mavericks are 7-1 ATS their L8 vs. the Northwest Division and Dallas is 8-2 ATS its L10 games here at Home at American Airlines Arena, but without Nowitzki and Felton it may be a duck and cover situation. The Over is 7-3 ATS the L10 Thunder games vs. the Western Conference while the Under is 10-3-1 ATS the L14 Mavericks games overall and the Underdog is 27-11-1 ATS the 39 games in this series. But this seems to be one to just play the hotter, healthier team as the Thunder can just outscore opponents and gloss over imperfections with points, points and more points. With Oklahoma City having W 8 of 9 SU and (5-5 ATS L10), the Road team is an impressive 34-15-2 ATS the L51 meetings (57.6%) and KD, Russ and Ibaka all healthy, gambling that the guests can find a way to win by 6 or more on the Road here seems worth the shot. Take OKC as your NBA pick tonight.

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