When the 76’ers take on the Oklahoma City Thunder, does Phillie have enough of a head start from the oddsmakers to make them a viable choice in your NBA picks?
Philadelphia 76’ers (13-47 SU, 29-30-1 ATS)
The Sixers are hoping to up their point total just enough to avoid the embarrassment of becoming the lowest visiting scoring team in NBA history which has been the dubious distinction of Portland for almost a decade. Philadelphia is averaging a mere 86.1 points per game on the road which is just a click above the 85.9 PPG averaged by the Trailblazers in the ’05-’06 season. They may be without the services of Robert Covington (elbow) and shooting guard Jason Richardson (knee) when they travel to OKC tonight. It should be noted that Covington scored a team leading 21 points against the Thunder when they last played in December which resulted in a 103-91 loss but a narrow cover for Philly in NBA odds as 13-point home dogs.
The Sixers have dropped their last two with the most recent loss a 114-103 defeat at the hands of the Toronto Raptors as nine-point home underdogs on Monday evening. Prior to that they were blown out by the Pacers in Indiana 94-74 and again failed to cover the number. Recently they have lost seven of their last eight but before you dismiss this team as having not a chance to cover the NBA odds against the Thunder, just remember that they covered in half of those eight games and are almost .500 ATS on the season.
Oklahoma City Thunder (33-27 SU, 30-29 ATS)
The Thunder has been without the services of All-Star Kevin Durant (foot) for the past three weeks while they also lost their premier point guard Russell Westbrook on Friday night when he suffered a facial injury that required surgery. Remarkably the team traveled to LA and not only defeated the Lakers 108-101 but covered the 3 ½ point impost with relative ease. Contributions by Serge Ibaka and Enes Kanter proved too much as the OKC men in the paint racked up a combined 34 points and 29 boards.
Tonight The Thunder should have Westbrook back in the fold. He was reported to have been wearing a protective mask in practice on Tuesday and was tearing it up before he was felled by injury against Portland in the waning moments of the game. Prior to his injury the Thunder’s backcourt leader scored three consecutive triple-doubles, the first since LeBron James did the same in ’09, and would become the first NBA player to record four in-a-row since Michael Jordan accomplished the feat way back in 1989.
Tonight’s NBA Pick
Everything screams to bet on the Thunder here as it would be a minor miracle – check that, a major miracle – if Philadelphia did the unthinkable and actually beat the Thunder on their own court. So we know who wins but does Oklahoma City cover the number? The last time these two teams met in Oklahoma City it resulted in a 125-92 pummeling by the Thunder. This time around OKC is without Durant and if they do have Westbrook in uniform he will be under the visage of a protective mask and ostensibly not at one-hundred percent.
Nevertheless, I cannot in good conscience throw good money at bad teams. The 15-point spread is certainly substantial enough for me to think twice but I have seen the Sixers play ball and I know what OKC can do on their home court. The Thunder is 19-8 straight up and a money-making 17-10 ATS. Conversely Philadelphia is 5-26 straight up and 12-19 ATS. Factor in that Robert Covington may not go but if so will be hindered and I say lay the lumber and play the chalk for your NBA Pick
NBA Picks: Play Oklahoma City Thunder -15 as your NBA pick at WilliamHill