Saturday's NBA Picks of the Day Against the Spread

Matthew Jordan

Saturday, March 28, 2015 3:13 PM GMT

Saturday, Mar. 28, 2015 3:13 PM GMT

The NBA Odds for Oklahoma City have shifted since learning that Kevin Durant officially will not play again until next season. We include their matchup in today's best ATS plays.

Knicks vs. Bulls (-17)
The clear mismatch on the five-game schedule Saturday. The Knicks would be happy to simply lose out and ensure the most ping-pong balls in the draft lottery. Maybe the players don't want that, but I'm pretty sure team president Phil Jackson wouldn't mind. New York lost a sixth straight Friday night, 96-92 at home to Boston to tie the franchise record in defeats with 59. The Bulls have won two straight since All-Star guard Jimmy Butler returned to the lineup from an 11-game injury absence. The beat visiting Charlotte by 12 on Monday and won in Toronto by 13 on Wednesday to complete the season sweep of the Raptors. Center Joakim Noah played Wednesday after sitting out Monday with knee soreness. Might Coach Tom Thibodeau sit him here, presuming an easy win regardless? Thibs isn't really that type, but the front office might insist. The coach and the front office don't get along well, which is why you hear rumors that this will be Thibodeau's last season in Chicago. The Bulls go for the season sweep here as well, winning two matchups back in 2014 against the Knicks. New York has lost seven straight in Chicago.

NBA Free Pick: Take the points. Bulls will get comfortably ahead and call off the dogs -- and maybe a key Bull like Noah does sit. The Knicks are 4-1 ATS in their past five on Saturday, while Chicago is just 2-9 ATS in its past 11 on that day.

 

Thunder vs. Jazz (+6)
I'm fairly confident in saying that the Thunder players probably didn't expect Durant to return after his  most recent setback ruled him out indefinitely. They are around the guy all the time. Durant will have bone graft surgery and won't take part in basketball activities for 4-6 months, meaning he should be fine for the start of next season, although you never know with foot injuries. The Thunder's championship window might thus be only the 2015-16 season because Durant can become a free agent after. As for this game's NBA pick, I believe that Oklahoma City comes out rather focused because the Thunder were embarrassed in their last game, a 130-91 blowout in San Antonio on Wednesday. The Spurs shadowed Russell Westbrook everywhere he went, and the MVP candidate was just 5-for-16 for 16 points and the Thunder were minus-30 with him in the court. On the bright side, Westbrook played only 26 minutes, getting pulled early in the third with the game out of hand. Utah lost a fourth in a row Friday, 107-91 in Denver. The Thunder lead the season series 2-1, winning both at home but losing by 17 very early in the season in Salt Lake City. Utah has won two straight in this series at home.

NBA Free Pick: Take the Thunder -6 at BookMaker, who will want to erase that Spurs game from their memories and  have the advantage of a tired Jazz team. OKC is 8-2 ATS in its past 10 against teams with a losing record and Utah is just 1-4 ATS in its past four at home.

 

Warriors vs. Bucks (+5)
Milwaukee might have saved its season with a buzzer-beating 89-88 home win over Miami on Tuesday to end a six-game losing streak, and the Bucks followed that up with a 111-107 home win over Indiana on Thursday to get back to .500 and maintain their hold on the  No. 6 seed in the Eastern Conference. That Pacers win was Milwaukee's 21st at home this season -- it had just 10 there last year while finishing with the NBA's worst overall record. Now, clearly the Warriors are a superior team here (favored by NBA odds) and beat the visiting Bucks 102-93 on March 4, although the game was very close entering the fourth quarter. Why is Milwaukee value here? Golden State coach Steve Kerr seems a lock to rest some key starters after playing them all in Friday night's 107-84 win in Memphis, the Warriors' eighth straight victory. There's no reason for Kerr to play his stars here as the Warriors have locked up the top seed in the West and it's the second of a back-to-back against a team that has no bearing on the Western Conference playoff race. Golden State's next win will set a franchise record (currently 59).

NBA Free Pick: Jump on those points. Golden State has only covered one of its past nine against the Bucks. 

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