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Thunder vs. Blazers Pick NBA – Feb 11th

Ah, the dog-days of February… I was listening to a Super Bowl interview with the guys who run the prediction machine; a statistical prediction model that got some attention for its uncanny playoff accuracy in the NFL over the past few years.  They were asked about other sports – and said, yes of course we analyze other sports.  When asked the hardest, they laughed and said “regular season NBA basketball” and confessed their data-chugging super-genius was under 40% ATS.

Why?  Because odd, hard-to-explain stuff happens during the course of a long regular season.  Just look at the following example; Orlando spent the weekend beating Oklahoma City and Indiana back to back.  So, one of the worst teams in the NBA – a team with a ton of incentive to LOSE and TANK, knocks off the two best teams in the NBA.  Then last night, Indiana, fresh off a bad loss, beats Denver by 39 on the back-end of a road/home back to back.

Go figure.

None of this is an excuse for a four-game losing streak.  It is simply a tale of some of the guesswork that comes into play this time of the season.  You never know exactly when a team is going to mail in a clunker (though you can safely imagine a little higher clunker-frequency with the Sixers…).

Let’s snap the skid tonight and notch a winner.

Today’s Free Picks:

Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trailblazers -1 (Total: 210.5)

OK Portland, if you truly are NBA Title contenders, let’s see it tonight.  A home game against the best team in the West with a chance to creep to within just two games in the loss column for  the number one seed; it’d be an overstatement to call tonight a “must-win” but it’d be an understatement to not call it a statement game.  Damian Lillard needs to exploit his matchup and play big tonight and LaMarcus Alderidge has a nice shot to show his MVP-worthiness  (not saying he’s the MVP, relax) against Kevin Durant.

Portland has been a mixed bag lately.  They are just 5-5 over their last ten games, prompting plenty of talk about their regression to the norm and “not ready for primetime” sentiments.  Tonight’s a chance to stop that talk, and I think they’ll play like it.

Oklahoma City has obviously handled the loss of Westbrook well, thanks largely to the super-human run Kevin Durant has enjoyed.  Their two losses in their last ten games have been by one and two points respectively, and both on the road.  So I don’t expect Portland to blow them out by any stretch.  But I think they win an entertaining and hard-fought “playoff feel” game tonight at home.

Free Pick:  Portland Trailblazers -1