Thunder vs. Blazers Pick – March 2nd

It looks like Kevin Durant will be back in time for the playoffs, but are any of you getting kind of bummed about all the injuries this year in basketball?  Anyone besides me wondering WHAT is going on?  Sure, injuries have always been a part of sports, but this year, they seem especially more frequent and more team-crushing.  You could field a Final Four caliber team with college players out for the season (Edmond Sumner, O.G. Anunoby, Watson Jr. – legal problems aside, and the list of players goes on).  It’s getting to where you could challenge for an NBA crown with the list of sidelines superstars this season as well: Kevin Durant, Kyle Lowry, Joel Embiid, Kevin Love, earlier Chris Paul – it’s getting kind of depressing.

Alas, the beat rolls on and the ball continues to get tipped up every night.  But the last few weeks have been sobering reminders of the “no sure thing” with future wagers rule – injuries are sneaky, and one to a Kawhi/LeBron/Paul/Durant or Steph, changes EVERYTHING.

It’s a really light slate of action tonight, but let’s see if we can stay injury-free tonight with a winning wager.

Today’s NBA Pick:

Oklahoma City Thunder -1 at Portland Trailblazers

These are two teams heading in opposite directions.  Portland is 3-7 straight-up in their last ten games, and an even-worse 2-8 ATS.  Meanwhile, Oklahoma City is 7-3 straight-up and an even BETTER 8-2 ATS.  The game is in Portland, where the Blazers are 14-13 SU, while the Thunder are just 12-17 away form home, but the ATS recent trends are pretty powerfully in the Thunder’s favor.

Oklahoma City is just 7th in the Western Conference, but at just 1 ½ games behind the Jazz for fourth, they have their sights set on a much loftier position.  That makes games like tonight very important – games they COULD easily lose, but really NEED to win if they have any hopes of making noise in the postseason.

Portland is fading fast – now in tenth place in the West.  The have lost seven of their last nine games and Damian Lillard is beginning to appear a little frustrated as even his best individual efforts are still resulting in losses.  I think he will find similar frustration tonight.

OKC is the third-best road favorite team in the NBA while Portland is one of the few teams in the NBA with a losing ATS record as a home dog.  They are the third-worst underdog ATS team in the entire NBA at 9-18 ATS.  Meanwhile, OKC is a strong performer as a favorite at 25-11-1 ATS, second-best in the league.

The numbers and the recent play both point strongly to the Thunder tonight.

Today’s NBA Pick:  Oklahoma City Thunder -1

Chris Scheeren / Author