NBA Series Price Odds & Predictions: No Nurkic, No Value For Blazers Versus Thunder

Friday, April 12, 2019 5:11 PM UTC

Friday, Apr. 12, 2019 5:11 PM UTC

The Portland Trail Blazers are rare 3-seed underdogs versus the No. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder, but the NBA odds are still being too kind to Portland.

<p style="text-align:right"><em>Jason’s 2018-19 NBA picks record through Apr. 12: 25-28-1 ATS, 0-4 ML (minus-9.35 units), 34-21 Totals</em></p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Oklahoma City (49-33 SU, 42-40 ATS) at Portland (53-29 SU, 45-36-1 ATS)</strong></p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Series Starts Sunday, 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC</strong></p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Free NBA Pick: <a href="" target="_blank">Thunder</a></strong></p><p style="text-align:center"><strong>Recommended Sportsbook: <a href=";book=Pinnacle" target="_blank">B</a><a href=";book=BOVADA" target="_blank">ovada</a></strong></p><p style="text-align:center"><font color="#0b0118" face="&quot;Open Sans&quot;,Arial" size="4" style="background-color:rgb(255, 255, 255)">[/]{"component":"oddswidget", "eventId":3773899, "sportsbooksIds":[999996,169,19,238,1602], "LineTypeId":1, "PeriodTypeId":1}[/]</font></p><p>Here’s something you don’t see every year: The No. 3 seed in the Western Conference is the underdog in their first-round matchup. At press time, the <a href="" target="_blank">NBA odds board</a> at Bovada has the Portland Trail Blazers pegged at +135 for their playoff series against the No. 6 Oklahoma City Thunder. Seems like a bargain price for the Blazers. They were one of this year’s most profitable regular-season teams in the West, while Oklahoma City went 9-16 ATS after the All-Star break.<br /><br />Things are not what they seem. Portland have many of the earmarks of a sharp <a href="" target="_blank">NBA pick</a>, but there’s one very important missing ingredient: <a href="" target="_blank">Jusuf Nurkic</a> (plus-5.1 BPM). Since Nurkic broke his leg in late March, the Blazers have managed to hang in there at 5-4 ATS, but that was against very poor competition for the most part. Chances are they’re going to get eaten alive now that the playoffs are here.</p><p> </p><h2><strong>Jusuf Endure</strong></h2><p>Don’t take our word for it. The projections at FiveThirtyEight have Oklahoma City winning this series 77 percent of the time, which works out to a “fair price” of –335 according to the Super Genius-approved <a href="" target="_blank">SBR Odds Converter</a>. The Thunder are –155 favorites at Bovada. We’ll buy that every day and twice on <a href="" target="_blank">Sunday</a>.<br /><br />Nurkic has been one of the NBA’s most overlooked players for some time now. The Bosnian Beast was a defensive powerhouse the moment he stepped foot on the court for the Denver Nuggets back in 2014; however, the Nuggets also had Nikola Jokic at center, so they shipped Nurkic to Portland two years ago for Mason Plumlee, who had more offensive polish at the time and was a better fit as a reserve.</p><p> </p><h2><strong>Beast Mode: OFF</strong></h2><p>Then Nurkic found his groove. He was posting career highs in just about every offensive category before he got hurt – and was easily one of this year’s biggest All-Star snubs. Portland aren’t totally lost without Nurkic; Zach Collins (plus-0.1 BPM) is a fine young center, Meyers Leonard (plus-1.4 BPM) can score, and the Blazers picked up another offensive big in Enes Kanter (plus-2.3 BPM) for the playoff drive. But they’re going to miss Nurkic’s defensive chops in this series.<br /><br /><font color="#0b0118" face="&quot;Open Sans&quot;,Arial" size="4" style="background-color:rgb(255, 255, 255)">[/]{"component": "embedHTML", "code": "&lt;blockquote class=\"twitter-tweet\" data-lang=\"en\"&gt;&lt;p lang=\"en\" dir=\"ltr\"&gt;Fans chanted for Jusuf Nurkic at a Bosnian national team game yesterday 🙏&lt;br /&gt;&lt;br /&gt;(via &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;@sohuu91&lt;/a&gt;) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;;/a&gt;&lt;/p&gt;— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) &lt;a href=\"\"&gt;March 27, 2019&lt;/a&gt;&lt;/blockquote&gt;\n&lt;script async src=\"\" charset=\"utf-8\"&gt;&lt;/script&gt;\n"}[/]</font></p><p>No such concerns in Oklahoma. They finished fifth overall in defensive efficiency, even without Andre Roberson (plus-2.8 DBPM last year) on the wing, and they’ve got a quality Big Three of two-way players in Russell Westbrook (plus-6.5 BPM), Paul George (plus-5.5 BPM) and Steven Adams (plus-2.7 BPM). Defense wins championships, and at this series price, defense is available at a deep discount.</p><p style="text-align:center"><strong style="box-sizing:border-box;font-weight:700;font-size:17.4px;color:rgb(0, 0, 0);font-family:&quot;Open Sans&quot;, Arial;font-style:normal;font-variant-ligatures:normal;font-variant-caps:normal;letter-spacing:normal;orphans:2;text-align:-webkit-center;text-indent:0px;text-transform:none;white-space:normal;widows:2;word-spacing:0px;-webkit-text-stroke-width:0px;background-color:rgb(255, 255, 255);text-decoration-style:initial;text-decoration-color:initial"><a href="" style="box-sizing:border-box;background-color:transparent;color:rgb(51, 122, 183);text-decoration:none;font-size:17.4px" target="_blank">Talk NBA At SBR's NBA Betting Forum</a></strong></p>
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