The Thunder look to be in midseason form as they get ready to entertain the Nuggets in NBA action on Sunday. It's time to examine the basketball betting lines and come up with our top pick.
Whenever the Thunder are at home and playing an "inferior" team, we can expect the NBA odds to be wildly in their favor, and that's certainly the case for tonight's game against Denver. They're laying 12 points across the top online sportsbooks, with the total currently listed at 212.5 points.
Oklahoma City Thunder
So, it looks like Oklahoma City isn't having much trouble adjusting to their new coach, Billy Donovan. The Thunder have opened the 2015-16 season in style, beating San Antonio 112-106 at home in their opener and then outlasting Orlando 139-139 in double overtime on the road.
To no one's surprise, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have carried the load. Westbrook is averaging a silly 40.5 points, 9.0 assists and 6.5 rebounds through the two wins, with Durant posting averages of 32.5 points and 9.0 rebounds. Enes Kanter has been solid too, despite coming off the bench, putting up 12.5 points and 11.0 rebounds a contest thus far. D.J. Augustin is the only other member of the team that's averaged in double figures, though both Serge Ibaka and Steven Adams have been contributing good things too.
Playing an up-tempo style that obviously suits two of the best players in the game, the Thunder look to be on a mission, and they're expected to lock things down tonight and dispatch the Nuggets easily. Will we see a 3-0 start out of Oklahoma City before Monday's showdown in Houston against James Harden and the Rockets?
After a shocking 20-point beatdown of Houston in the team's opener, Denver fell way short at home against Minnesota two nights ago. Whenever you score just 78 points against a Timberwolves team that's been known for being awful defensively over the last few seasons, you know you're doing something wrong. Denver's weak interior D was no match for rookie Karl-Anthony Towns in the 17-point loss in front of their own fans.
Needless to say, the Nuggets will hope to be much more competitive here tonight, although the matchup couldn't be much more difficult. The likes of Danilo Gallinari, Emmanuel Mudiay and Kenneth Faried are all going to have to play well. Wilson Chandler, one of the team's most consistent players on both ends of the court, remains out, leaving Gary Harris as the current starter for now.
Mudiay is the new locked-in starting point guard with Ty Lawson no longer around, and the rookie has averaged 16.0 points, 5.5 assists and 3.5 rebounds through two games. We're eager to see how he responds to this showdown with arguably the most explosive player in the league in Westbrook tonight.
It's a lot of points to lay, but we're very hesitant to fade the high-flying Thunder so long as their two superstars are healthy and motivated each and every time they take the court. You can tell this team is ready to challenge for a title, which means they should be dominating young teams like Denver at home.
The Nuggets did surprise with a road win over the Rockets in the opener, but Houston was without Dwight Howard and was simply awful on both ends of the court. We don't see that happening with Oklahoma City here.
You have to figure the Thunder will want to put this game to bed as early as possible so that they can be as energized as possible for a road game against the Rockets tomorrow night. We're expecting Oklahoma City to pull away at some point or another in this one, with Westbrook likely to explode once again against his rookie counterpart in Mudiay.
Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder -12 at Pinnacle