Oklahoma City +1 at Portland O/U 219.5
Recommendation: Oklahoma City
There’s no comparison between the Thunder and the Trail Blazers right now, making this short pointspread look very attractive to this bettor! Portland is in a world of hurt. The Blazers are returning home off a losing road trip that culminated in another fourth quarter turnover fueled meltdown and subsequent OT loss at Detroit. They haven’t won a home game since January, losing each of their last three games on this floor both SU and ATS. And the quotes coming out of Terry Stotts locker room aren’t exactly reeking with confidence these days.
Damian Lillard: “We're frustrated. We played a good game outside of turnovers. We feel like we should have won the game. We should be happy going on this flight (to Portland) with a 'W' and a 2-1 trip, but we're not. That's disappointing.” Portland will be hard pressed to match their 52% shooting effort that they put up against the Pistons. And the Blazers weakness in the paint is a real problem against a team like OKC.
Don’t confuse the Thunder in March from the Thunder in January or February. This team went through the gauntlet, schedule wise, dealing with a ridiculous stretch of 23 consecutive games with a court change in December and January. Then the injury bug hit, with Victor Oladipo and Enes Kanter both off the court for extended stretches in February.
That was then, this is now! The Thunder are at close to full strength, whether Oladipo suits up tonight or not. The trading deadline deal to bring in Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott from Chicago helped a lot, shoring up their low post defense and giving them another rock solid perimeter shooter. Alex Abrines has taken advantage of Oladipo’s absence, playing the best ball of his career right now. They just signed Norris Cole to back up Russel Westbrook at the point, a strong addition. All of a sudden, this team is deep, and loaded!
OKC is 3-0 SU and ATS since the All-Star break, surging right now. They have vastly superior defensive and rebounding numbers compared to the Blazers, and, quite frankly, they are the better of these two teams by a fairly wide margin. The markets are pricing Portland like it’s ‘Circle the Wagons’ time, but I’m not convinced the Blazers still have that in their repertoire. Take the Thunder.