Thunder vs. Knicks NBA Pick – December 16th

These odds were taken from BetOnline at 9:43 am CT on 12/16/2017.

My losing streak lived on last night, as I took a seemingly safe pick with the Boston Celtics at home and even that couldn’t convert. That was a shocking development, as the Jazz actually lost star center Rudy Gobert within the first two minutes (knee) and still won by 12. I dropped to 11-16 on the year and will look to snap this skid tonight.

Saturday’s NBA betting slate is actually really ugly at first glance, as there are some truly awful spreads. Early in the day there aren’t even concrete lines for a lot of these games, while bettors will probably want to hold off on a lot of the action until injury news leaks out. The Spurs are solid candidates to rest some of their veterans after playing last night, while the likes of Rudy Gobert, Kristaps Porzingis and others could be in doubt tonight.

The game I have my eye on tonight includes Zinger, as Carmelo Anthony returns home to battle his former Knicks squad. OKC could easily be quite fatigued after playing a crazy 3OT thriller in Philly last night, but there’s little doubt Melo will want to get a win in his return to the Madison Square Garden.

There are only two things that are troubling here; the Thunder have been very difficult to peg this year and they could obviously be tired after last night’s marathon game. Luckily they’re really not traveling that far for tonight’s game in New York and there is a lot of emotion surrounding it.

Can the Knicks defend their home court (13-5 at MSG), or will the Thunder use their current momentum to win a third consecutive game?

Oklahoma City Thunder (-2.5) @ New York Knicks (+2.5) Total: 202.5

I don’t like this spread for the Thunder, as they’re probably going to be a little tired and will be on the road. OKC hasn’t been amazing against the spread this year, either, as they’ll enter with a 10-18 overall ATS mark. I don’t exactly love it for the Knicks, however. New York has been a strong 16-12 against the spread on the year, but this is a pretty tight line.

Ultimately, I like OKC to win here and the reasoning is three-fold. For one, the Knicks might be down two key bodies and will for sure be down at least one. Tim Hardaway Jr. is still sidelined and Zinger’s knee apparently felt “unstable” as recently as Thursday. If he’s not completely ready to rock in this one, the Knicks would be foolish to let him play.

There is a good chance the Unicorn sits this one out, even though he’d love to go up against Melo. I don’t think the current price of the Thunder as a straight up bet (-140 at BetOnline) is really accounting for that, so I want to hop on that while I can.

Even if Zinger does suit up, there is still the issue of Melo exacting some revenge against his former franchise. Anthony dropped 22 points on the Knicks in an easy 105-84 win in Oklahoma City earlier this year and I have to imagine he’s thinking bigger the second time around.

The other key factor favoring the Thunder is they are finally trending in the right direction. Most bettors would note their fatigue, New York’s home record and OKC’s erratic tendencies this year, but if this team is ever going to make some noise in the Western Conference, they need to wake up and get wins they’re supposed to.

This one qualifies as such, as the Knicks are a pretty average team to begin with, but also are far from 100%. Russell Westbrook should be able to dominate New York’s collection of pedestrian point guards, while New York’s perimeter players will have their hands full against the Thunder’s stingy outside defense. Steven Adams also gets a cakewalk matchup down low against former teammate, Enes Kanter.

I’m sure Kanter will be out for blood in this one, but Adams is the far superior defender and can also do some damage down low. After having to deal with Joel Embiid for 50 minutes last night, facing Kanter should be a breeze.

The only cause for pause in the end is the fatigue factor, but I don’t see the Thunder sitting anyone and they’re absolutely going to be up for this game. They’re the more talented team and I love the value here. Let’s break this skid as OKC notches their third win in a row and starts to prove they’re going to be a team to be dealt with in the WC.

Pick: Oklahoma City Thunder (-140)

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