Oklahoma City Thunder -6.5 at Detroit Pistons (Total: 195.5)
We’ve been making a pretty good living this season betting against the hapless Detroit Pistons; my early season analysis of them having the worst starting five in the NBA spearing to be dreadfully accurate. They are 0-7 on the year, though, caution, they are a respectable 3-4-0 ATS this season. So, it is not a guarantee that betting against them will be profitable, unless of course that negative wager is a straight up moneyline wager, in which case you’ve been running gleefully to the bank all season long…
Tonight they host the reigning Western Conference Champion Oklahoma City Thunder, not exactly the opponent you want to see heading to town when you are seeking you first victory on the season. The Thunder are 5-2 on the season, and despite this year’s 1-1 road record, they were one of the best road teams in the NBA in 2011-2012. Aside from talent and personnel, one of the reason the Thunder have been such a good road team is their consistency of effort. You may see them shoot poorly on occasion, but I can’t count many times I’ve seen the Thunder mail one in (which can NOT be said for most good NBA teams in this era). They bring a max effort every night and always play hard on the defensive end of the floor.
The Thunder average over 100 points per game and allow a stingy 92.3. The Pistons are scoring a dismal 91.4 points per contest while allowing a staggering 102.3. If you add those two differentials together, which is admittedly not the way to factor a line, it amounts to a difference of over 19 points a night. That is a huge discrepancy, and you have to account for the fact that the Pistons accrued such ugly statistics facing many opponents significantly less talented than the Thunder.
It all adds up to a terrible mismatch, and one I think Durant, Westbrook, and emerging All Star Serge Ibaka will pounce all over. As I noted below, the young Thunder play like a team full of young energy – they rarely, if ever, take a night off no matter who the opponent is. I expect them to come out tough tonight and to handle their business on the road.
The Pistons, with a loss, would equal the worst start in their proud franchise history. I think it is a foregone conclusion that the basement hasn’t even been sniffed on what looks like a long, long, looooong season in the Motor City.
Give me the Thunder with ease tonight, laying the six and a half and still covering comfortably.
Free Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder -6.5