NBA Preseason Picks: OKC Thunder To Crush the Denver Nuggets

Joe Catalano

Tuesday, October 18, 2016 6:15 PM UTC

Tuesday, Oct. 18, 2016 6:15 PM UTC

The NBA Preseason is a feeling out process to decide what direction that teams will be going in the regular season. As for the Oklahoma City Thunder, their games all revolve around the play of Russell Westbrook and so will their encounter with the Denver Nuggets tonight as this inter-division rivalry is just a preview for the regular season. See our NBA pick of this matchup.


According to 5 Dimes Sportsbook, the Thunder are a 5 1/2 point betting favorite and the total for the game is listed at 210 1/2. If this were a regular season game, the Thunder would be more of a betting favorite, but wins and losses don't count as much as players are gearing up for the regular season. Please take that into account when placing your bets.


Westbrook For NBA MVP?

The regular season hasn't even started, but one can't help but think of the damage that Russell Westbrook will do the opposition now that Kevin Durant has decided to play with the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors were a team that the Thunder had pushed to the brink of elimination in the playoffs, but OKC couldn't "close the door" on the Warriors. To rub salt in the wounds, Kevin Durant has decided to join the enemy and there's bad blood between Russell Westbrook and Durant.

As for Westbrook, he's going to get to showcase his skills to the fullest and let's face it, he's possibly the most talented player in the league, but also one of the most selfish. We could see nightly triple-doubles from number 0. Oklahoma City is already playing with fire as they have Westbrook playing in excess of 30 minutes and he's putting up big-time numbers.

In their last game, an 112-94 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves, Westbrook played 31 minutes and led the team with 26 points and 10 assists. While most star players are seeing limited action to prevent the risk of injury, Russell Westbrook is going full force as he doesn't know any other way.

In this case, if you're an Oklahoma City bettor, this is a good thing as you want to see Westbrook with the basketball in his hands at all times. Look for a big game out of Westbrook tonight as the Denver Nuggets below than average defense can't stop Westbrook, key information for your NBA pick.


Room For Improvement

Although they have a talented big man in Enes Kanter, you saw Steven Adams emerge as a star on both ends of the court in the playoffs last season. With no Kevin Durant and Serge Ibaka in the middle, this allows Adams' game to grow even more. He's coming off of a 20 point, 11 rebound, and 4 block effort in the win over Minnesota and look for Adams to continue to be a force in this game and for the rest of the season, barring injury.

 2nd Rate Team

I don't even think that they're that good without 2nd-year player Emmanuel Mudiay, who is out with an injury. When you have Jameer Nelson starting at the point guard position, defending against Russell Westbrook, you're going to have a problem and thankfully for the 3-3 Nuggets, this is the preseason. 

Denver features a bunch of mid-tier players in Jusuf Nurkic, Wilson Chandler, Will Barton, and even Kenneth Faried, that can fill their roles at times, but there's no legitimate game changer on this team and the players that I mentioned are inconsistent. While they've managed to hold their own in the preseason, 5 1/2 points isn't a lot and I expect OKC to put a beating on Denver tonight.

 Free NBA Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder -5 1/2 (-110) Best Line Offered: at 5Dimes

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