Smart NBA Pick For Short-Handed Spurs Visiting Streaking Thunder

Jay Pryce

Saturday, March 26, 2016 4:16 PM UTC

Saturday, Mar. 26, 2016 4:16 PM UTC

The Spurs and Thunder clash in Oklahoma City on Saturday night with coach Gregg Popovich likley resting San Antonio's starting core. Get your NBA betting analysis on the game here. 

San Antonio Spurs (61-11 SU, 41-30-1 ATS)
San Antonio won its 37th straight game at home in least night's 110-104 victory over Memphis, matching the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls mark set in their historic 72-victory season. Overall, the Spurs have won 46 consecutive regular-season games. The franchise is riding its best start ever thank, going 61-11 on the year. The team is vulnerable on the road, though, particularly under certain conditions that arise in Oklahoma City tonight.

The Spurs enter the game with the best shooting offense in the NBA, finding the net with 48.9 percent of their shots. They sometimes meet their match against strong defenses on the road, though. Against foes allowing 45 percent or less from the floor, coach Gregg Popovich's squad is 9-8 SU (8-9 ATS), scoring 99.6 a night on 46.7 percent shooting away from home. Versus teams yielding a higher rate, San Antonio is 15-2 (11-6 ATS), putting up 106.1 on 50.0 percent from the field. The Thunder's 43.9 team opponent shooting percentage is tied for fifth best in the NBA with the Bulls, Clippers, and Pacers.

Kawhi Leonard, considered to be the best two-way player in the league, bruised his right quadriceps in the third quarter of the Spurs' 112-88 dismantling of the Heat on Wednesday night. He missed last night's contest and is most likely out against the Thunder. Since becoming a regular starter in 2012, the All-Star forward is worth six points overall to the Spurs' scoring margin when suiting up versus sitting out. His absence is one of many in tonight's game. Pop is resting Tim Duncan, LaMarcus Aldridge, Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker as well.

The UNDER has been the play when the Spurs take to the road this season. Going 21-13-1, the score has stayed below the total (200.0) by 3 points on average. Its a combination of the Spurs failing to score up to the market's expectations and great defense. San Antonio, in fact, has allowed 100 points or more just 10 times in 35 away games this season.


Oklahoma City Thunder (50-22 SU, 31-38-3 SU)
The Thunder offense is booming. Winners of six straight, they've posted 118.0 points a night, outscoring opponents by 16.5 points per game. Russell Westbrook is the catalyst. He's posted an astonishing six triple-doubles in the month of March, tacking on to his league-leading 15 for the year. Superstar Kevin Durant, however, is the difference-maker when it comes to matching up with the Spurs—at least at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.

Going back to the 2011 playoffs, the Thunder are 10-1 SU and ATS at home versus San Antonio when Durant is in the lineup. Putting up 27.0 a night in this stretch, the 2014 MVP has guided OKC to 105.0 points per game against the vaunted San Antonio defense.

Like the Spurs on the road, the Thunder are most vulnerable against good shooting defenses when defending their hardwood. Seven of their nine home defeats this season have come against teams allowing 44.3 percent or less from the floor (6-7 overall). Posting 103.3 points per game, they've failed to hit the century mark in seven of 13 games overall in this situation. Westbrook, Durant, and company are 22-2 against poorer defending teams; they've notched 100 points or more in all but one, averaging 112.2 a night.


Final Analysis
Pop is raising the white flag in this one, likely sitting his starting core, which explains why the NBA odds favor the Thunder by 12 points. It makes sense: playing on no rest, late in the season, and against the pace-pushing Thunder. Where it really complicates matters is in the betting market at sportsbooks like 5Dimes and Pinnacle. It might be wise to sit this one out for your NBA picks and move onto the next game.  

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NBA Pick: Sit this one out

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