Place NBA Picks on 'Over' in Magic vs. Thunder

Joe Catalano

Sunday, December 15, 2013 3:53 PM GMT

What’s better than NFL football on Sunday? NFL Football and the NBA on Sunday. Tonight, Aaron Afflalo and the Orlando Magic (7-16) travel to Oklahoma City to face Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook, and the offensive machine known as the OKC Thunder (18-4).

The NBA betting odds lists the Thunder as a heavy 13.5 point betting favorite and the total for the game is 205.5.

Although they haven’t managed to put a winning record together, Orlando has a bright future with a lot of young talent. Can the Magic run with the Thunder or will Durant and Westbrook be taking a seat in the 4th quarter in an early potential blowout?

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Rookie of the Year Candidate?

Quite frankly, I didn’t think that  Victor Oladipo would be this good on the professional level so quickly; Oladipo has lived up to the hype. Although Aaron Afflalo has been the go to guy for the Magic offensively, Oladipo is working his way up “the food chain” and has the potential to be the “franchise” on this losing ball club.

This is a player that can play defense and is a stat sheet stuffer. He’s coming off of a huge game in a 109-100 loss to Cleveland in which he had 26 points on 9 of 13 shooting from the field and 3 of 4 from 3 point land. Oladipo also had 5 rebounds, 4 assists, 4 steals, and 3 blocks. Now, that’s what I call a full night.

Unlike Oladipo, the Magic need to tighten up on their defense. They rank 24th in the NBA in defense, allowing 102 points per game. Oklahoma City should have a field day against the Magic defense.

Nonetheless, the Magic are a team which sports productive players such as Aaron Afflalo, Jameer Nelson, Nikola Vucevic, Glen Davis, and Andrew Nicholson. This is a very deep team that can score; their defense is their downfall.

The Oklahoma City Thunder see a team that can’t play defense and this should be a major opportunity for this high powered offense featuring the 2nd best player on the planet in Kevin Durant and the best point guard in the NBA in Russell Westbrook.

“The Big 2.5”

OKC is quite similar to the Miami Heat. The Heat can’t win a championship without Lebron James and Oklahoma City doesn’t have a chance at the title without a healthy Russell Westbrook and KD. Westbrook was out for the playoffs last season and the beginning of this season. It was evident that this team wasn’t the same without him, but now he’s healthy and dominant again.

On the season, Westbrook is averaging 21.1 points, 6.7 assists, 5.1 rebounds, and 2 steals per game. He’s more than a wingman to Kevin Durant. On almost any other team in the league, he would be a number 1 option.

Ibaka

Another key component to the Thunder’s success is the emergence of Serge Ibaka. Ibaka has always been a standout defensive player, a rejection machine if you will. Now, Ibaka has developed an offensive game to go along with his defense. Ibaka is averaging a near double-double per game and has his average up to over 15 points per contest.

Although he doesn’t have the size of a Dikembe Mutombo from the past, their games mirror eachother and Ibaka might have the edge on Mutombo offensively. He’s definitely the perfect complimentary player for Westbrook and Durant on the offensive end and stands alone defensively.

Also make sure to check out our Sunday NBA Picks of the Day

Outcome

You can’t fade the Thunder the way that they’ve been playing, but the total for the game is relatively low at 205.5. Take the OVER for your free basketball pick.

NBA Pick: OKC/Orlando OVER 205.5 at Bet 365