With only four games on today’s NBA slate, there’s one that certainly stands out above the rest.
The NBA’s best two teams will tangle today at Staples Center and of course, we aren’t talking about the Lakers. The Oklahoma City Thunder (32-9) will take on the Los Angeles Clippers (32-10) for the NBA’s best record and the top spot in the Western Conference. As far as midseason showdowns go, they don’t get any bigger than this. You won’t want to miss it. So, here our takes regarding the point spread and the over/under wagers today.
Point Spread-Thunder E, Clippers +1
With these two teams coming into today’s game with nearly identical records and evenly matched up rosters, there’s really no need for a point spread. Some odds makers are giving the Thunder a point and some are giving a point in favor of the Clippers, but it doesn’t really matter. This one comes down to which team we think will win straight up.
Both teams have nearly identical home and away records, both teams have played well in their last 10 games and both teams are coming off a loss. They each score more than 100 points per game and allow fewer than 98. So, where’s the edge? Well, let’s take a look at their previous meeting that took place back on Nov. 21.
The Thunder won that game 117-111, but it was as close as it could get most of the way, as it went into overtime. So, maybe that doesn’t tell us too much either.
The real key today will be the Thunder’s experience in big games. The clutch play of scorers Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook could make all the difference as well as Serge Ibaka’s ability to defend inside against Blake Griffin. Although this one will certainly be razor-thin close again, I like the Thunder to pull it out in the closing minutes.
Although this pick isn’t extremely easy, it’s much more simple to break down than the spread. First, we look at the fact that these teams each scored more than 110 on each other last time they threw down. Yes, that game went into overtime, but each team still scored 102 in regulation. Secondly, both teams average well over 100 points per game, so as long as they each hit about 102 again, this once is an over. There’s certainly a possibility it will turn into a defensive battle, but I would take the safe bet and go with the over here.