Thunder vs. Nuggets Pick – April 9th

We are down to the final few days of the NBA Regular Season and looking to grab some momentum heading into the Playoffs.  Today's pick focuses on the Oklahoma City Thunder heading to desperate Denver to face the Nuggets.

If the Chicago Bulls miss the playoffs this season, they have no one to blame but themselves.  Well, themselves and the mighty Brooklyn Nets.  Chicago absolutely had the schedule advantage in the three-way rumble for the final two slots in the East only to give it away last night by losing at lowly Brooklyn, literally the worst team in the NBA – AND they have no incentive to tank as their Lottery Pick belongs to the Celtics thanks to one of the worst trades in NBA history – so they are BAD and not intentionally, which is an important distinction in today’s NBA.

Yet I digress.  The point is – BAD BAD BAD loss by my least favorite team to wager on the league, Chicago Bulls.  You just truly never know how high the highs and low the lows can be with this ballclub, but with one more “low” the season is going to be prematurely and disappointingly over…

The most interesting result last night wasn’t Chicago’s loss and the Pacers and Heat’s wins – after all, we are talking about #7 and #8 in the East.  No, the most interesting result was the Clippers going in to San Antonio and dealing the Spurs another resounding loss.  San Antonio has long been considered the only real threat to the Warriors v. Cavs III, with Houston being a popular long shot if we HAVE to talk about another team.  But what about the Clippers?  The biggest problem over the last half-decade has been their health.  FINALLY, they are starting-lineup intact, and there is little arguing that Starting Five alone, they are every bit as talented as the Spurs, if not more so.  The obvious problem is the #4/5 slot, meaning it is Golden State in Round Two, but don’t be surprised if the Clippers are the toughest series Golden State faces in the postseason.

Today’s NBA Pick:

Oklahoma City Thunder at Denver Nuggets -4.5

I’m not gonna lie, this line surprised me.  I am usually pretty good at guessing lines within a point before they come out, especially by this point in the season.  This one caught me off guard enough to research into the injury reports and listings a little more intensely.  Everyone is go-time for OKC< including the obvious variable of Russ.  Meanwhile, Denver has Jameer Nelson out, Wilson Chandler probable, and Emmanual Mudiay and Will Barton as “questionable.”

That doesn’t sound like an edge for Denver.  YES, this game means WAY more to the Nuggets who are desperately fighting for the postseason lives.  But they are still just a 22-18 home team SU this season and even more troubling, 2-8-1 ATS in their last eleven games against the Thunder.  The Thunder have won five straight head-to-head against the Nuggets as well, showing this to be a favorable matchup.

So, other than “need to win” everything favors OKC; they are the better team, appear to be slightly healthier, and have simply owned the head-to-head matchup.  If I can get all those things, plus a pile of points as a cushion, I am in.