Tuesday NBA Picks: Raptors to Cover vs. Depleted Thunder

David Lawrence

Tuesday, November 4, 2014 1:43 PM GMT

The season could get out of control very quickly for the Oklahoma City Thunder. After getting blown out on Monday night in Brooklyn, they now have a quick turnaround in Canada. They opened as a nine-point dog on the NBA betting lines for tonight’s matchup in Toronto.

When the lines were first released, NBA odds had posted the the wounded Thunder as 9 point dogs against the Raptors. Early betting action has not only extended the spread to 10.5, but has also moved the total from 192 to 194.5. We take a detailed look at this matchup to decide which of these lines looks to with our NBA picks tonight?

 

The Oklahoma City Thunder Will Win Because…
The Thunder couldn’t have played much worse than they did in Monday night’s embarrassing 116-85 loss to the Brooklyn Nets. The thing about that game for the Thunder is that they gave away points like cotton candy in the second half. The Nets got a couple of steals in backcourt and strolled to the basket for easy layups in the third quarter. Oklahoma City looked very mentally fatigued and didn’t seem ready to put forth much of an effort. When something like that happens, it’s clear that a team is in bad shape, but the other revealing part of all that is that a team usually plays a lot better, with a lot more passion and energy, the next time it takes the court. The Thunder should be able to regroup, call upon the interior defense of Serge Ibaka, and the ballhandling of point guard Reggie Jackson, who is in the lineup after injuring himself during the preseason and missing the team’s first few regular season games.

Expect Oklahoma City to breathe fire against a Toronto team that allowed Miami’s offense to run roughshod through the Raptors on Sunday. Miami hit 50 percent of its field goals and earned 38 foul shots against the Raptors. That’s the kind of team against which the Thunder can get very healthy very quickly. Toronto was a much more battle-hardened team at the end of the 2013-2014 season. At the start of the 2014-2015 season, the Raptors look too loose and casual. They need some toughening up, but until they get it, Oklahoma City and other flawed teams could get the jump on them.

 

The Toronto Raptors Will Win Because…
They're playing a team that is absolutely desperate and looking for answers wherever it can find something… but the answers are not in fact arriving for Oklahoma City. Being able to play only eight to nine players, with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook not a part of the picture, must be driving Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks insane. Brooks has to lengthen his bench to some degree if only to save wear and tear for his starters. A perfect example from Monday’s loss to Brooklyn was that Lance Thomas, a below-average NBA player, was asked to play 22 minutes for the Thunder – not 12 or even 15, but 22. That’s way too many minutes for a player of Thomas’ caliber. The results were predictably ugly: Thomas hit just 1 of 10 field goals and finished with two points. Other players on the roster were nearly as ineffective. Kendrick Perkins didn’t score a point in 18 minutes. Nick Collison scored three points in 19 minutes. With these minimally productive efforts from the roster, the Thunder just aren’t able to do much of anything right now.

 

Outlook
The Thunder could play better than they did against Brooklyn…and it still wouldn’t matter. Oklahoma City is an extremely bad team right now. Their starting lineup is weak, they lack chemistry, they don’t know their roles and they are lacking a ton of leadership. On top of that, they’re on a back-to-back on the road facing a quality, rested Raptors team. Take Toronto with your NBA picks.

Free NBA Pick: Toronto Raptors -10.5 at 5Dimes

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