Coming off of an ATS loss last night in Cleveland, the Thunder continue their Eastern Conference trip tonight in Toronto. Oklahoma City was missing one of their stars last night, but will getting their point guard back for this matchup curb their recent stretch where they’ve lost two of three ATS?
Wild Wild Westbrook
Russell Westbrook was held out of the game in Cleveland last night as a precaution coming off of his multiple knee injuries this season, however all indications point to him returning tonight against the much tougher Raptors. OKC has been on a very small slide recently, but at only 1 ½ games back of the Spurs, they need to win these East coast games.
The NBA odds opened late for this game, however after BetOnline opened their odds at Thunder -3 ½, the rest of the books quickly followed with a similar line and a total of 204. While I have been on a lot of totals recently, the spread for this game looks very valuable tonight, even with the Thunder coming off the back to back.
With Westbrook rested, the Thunder will lean on him after leaning on Durant last night. However even though the Thunder are tired, they have been solid all season playing on no rest. The Thunder are 8-3 ATS this season on the second night of a back to back, and with Westbrook rested, it isn’t a true back to back for him, even still on his minutes limit.
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A big problem for the Raptors has been smaller injuries. Kyle Lowry has been playing with a couple of different minor injuries, and even though it hasn’t affected his play, trying to play defense against Westbrook tonight is going to be hard. Lowry is not quick enough to stay with Westbrook, and that is a big disadvantage.
Another worry for the Raptors is their frontcourt. Jonas Valanciunas missed Wednesday’s game with back soreness, and his status for tonight is unknown. Val is a big part of the Raptors post defense, and potentially without him, defending the rim will be very difficult against Durant and Westbrook. Amir Johnson is also a little gimpy after spraining his ankle a week ago, and his back up, Pat Patterson is also currently out.
The Sharp Pick
With the frontcourt injuries to the Raptors, I really think the Thunder have value tonight as -3 favorites. Not only have they been very good on the second night of a back to back, but with Westbrook back in the fold tonight, I doubt we see a redo of last night in Cleveland.
At this point in the season, it seems as if some teams are discounting playing certain teams, and the Cavs without Kyrie Irving are one of them. It didn’t look like the Thunder gave it their all last night because of their looming game in Toronto tonight, and it showed in the final score. Tonight against a tough East playoff team, the Thunder should be much more tuned in and focused, and it should have a positive affect on the score. Toronto is one of the better home underdog teams this season, but a big reason for that was because they were so undervalued at the beginning of the season. I doubt that’s the case tonight, and I am on the Thunder with my basketball picks tonight.
My Pick: Thunder -3