Jordan’s NBA Picks: 58-39 (Playoffs 4-1)
Thunder (49-34 SU & 42-41 ATS) at Portland (54-29 SU & 46-37 ATS)
Tuesday, 10:30 PM EST, TNT
Free NBA Pick: Under 1H
Best Line Offered: Pinnacle
Just by looking at the money coming in on this game, a lot of people think the Thunder are going to even up this series on the road. However, I’m more focused on the other line movement in the total, which I think is headed in the wrong direction.
After opening at 218 earlier in the week, the total for this game has skyrocketed up to 223. While there is still time for it to depress some before tip-off late Tuesday night, it gives bettors an opportunity to examine the under.
We saw a good Blazers defense hold the Thunder to less than 100 points in Game 1. While there is very little chance of that happening again, there is a history of strong defense between these two teams.
The Thunder held the Blazers to a 106.8 offensive rating in four regular season matchups and the Blazers posted just a 103 offensive rating in Game 1. The formula is there for an under play to make sense.
Not only that, but the first half under looks to be the best value. The Thunder will come out fired up and ready to steal a road game, which will only help their defense. The Blazers will keep the pressure on OKC to at least keep them from dropping 60-plus first half points.
OKC struggled offensively on the road some after the All Star Break, averaging 109.3 points per 100 possessions. This ranked them in the bottom half of the league during that stretch.
The Sharp Pick
The only concern here is that both teams will try and push the pace again in the first half like they did in Game 1. Despite some shots not falling and some string defense, both teams averaged 106 possessions per 48 minutes in the first two quarters of Game 1.
However, they both slowed down a lot in the second half to a pace of 97 and offense improved some. I hope both coaches look at the tape and try to even things out a bit to start Game 2. If the slower pace from the second half of Game 1 follows both teams into Game 2, the under is a fantastic first half play.
First Half Score Prediction: Thunder 55 – Blazers 56