Blazers vs. Thunder Pick – March 7th

There are only three games on the schedule tonight, but the Thunder and Blazers leaps off the page with some compelling analytics.  Will the Thunder continue their stellar home play or can Big Game Dame lead the Blazers to a rare road triumph?

Man, if the Spurs and Rockets are our impeding Western Conference Semi-Finals, we are in store for a pretty awesome summer.  Kawhi and The Beard were at their MVP mano-a-mano bests last night, with each recording 39 points in a thrilling 112-110 Spurs victory.  What made the game even more MVP-eye opening was the fact that Kawhi matched Harden on the offensive statline…but the defensive performances were obviously lopsided in Leonard’s favor.

With the Spurs thundering towards one of the ten best regular seasons in NBA history with almost no one noticing, Kawhi has similarly gone under-appreciated.  Russ has been a stat-machine, and Harden is a reasonable vote.  But it isn’t like Kawhi is playing with 2011 Spurs-level talent.  He is the unquestioned best player on what may very well be the best team in the NBA.  He deserves a real look for the award.

Elsewhere, the two-time reigning MVP looked more true to form last night as Steph (and Klay) emerged from their funk in a fun win at Atlanta.  The win was important not just to maintain their suddenly tenuous grip on the Western Conference’s top seed, but also for their collective team psyche (which I suspect might be far less fragile that we writers like to speculate, but nonetheless…)

It’s NCAA Tournament time, so some of the shine sifts from the NBA over the next four weeks, but we have one awesome stretch run in store for the 2016-2017 NBA season.

Let’s see if we can make this a big week and build on yesterday’s winner.

Today’s NBA Pick:

Portland Trailblazers at Oklahoma City Thunder -6

There’s only three games on the slate tonight, but I doubt any other games would have leapt off the page more quickly than this one did for me.  Portland is the third-worst road underdog ATS team in the league at 6-14 ATS, while OKC is about as good as it gets at home as the favorite at a dazzling 18-7-1 ATS and an average Margin of Victory (MOV) of 7.8.  Portland’s MOV should be an “MOL” as it stinks at -10.9.

In simply parlance, OKC is good at home when they are supposed to win and when Portland goes to play a team that they should lose against, they rarely disappoint.  I expect tonight to play true to form.

Oklahoma City is also a good straight-up home team at 23-8.  Portland is a lousy SU road team at 10-22.  Portland is just 3-7 ATS in their last ten games overall and 1-5 ATS in their last six road games.

The numbers are overwhelmingly in favor of the Thunder and the line is reasonable at just six points.  Other than Oladipo listed as “questionable” it’s full strength for the Thunder, while the Blazers are (obviously) still missing Evan Turner, Ed Davis and Festus Ezili.

I like the Thunder at home to win and cover the reasonable six points.

Today’s Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder -6