I’ve taken a little time off from making public picks but I am coming back tonight. There’s a nice slate of games on in every time slot so it’s a good night to come back into betting.
Starting in Oklahoma City, I like the Thunder. The Nets come into OKC as 7 point underdogs riding a four game winning streak. I said last week that I could see OKC winning the west. That belief is all but gone with the recent admission of Paul George’s rotator cuff injury. That is a tough injury to play through and we saw just the other night where he was just 2-8 shooting and 0-3 from 3. His 3 point shooting will be something to pay attention to going forward. If the first game is any indication then we will see some struggles going forward. It will most likely require off-season surgery. The Thunder are going to need Russell Westbrook to carry the load and I see him doing so tonight. Westbrook is always up to the challenge of playing against another one of the league’s best point guards. But without the scoring from Paul George I also like the under. Paul George’s aforementioned injury combined with both teams being ranked in the top half of the league in defensive efficiency is my thought behind that.
The next game I like is the Warriors @ Rockets. The Rockets are currently on a 9 game winning streak that started with a win in Oakland over Golden State. They have looked phenomenal going 6-3 against the spread in the process. The Warriors were 12 point favorites in the game the last time these two teams played and now they’re 3.5 point underdogs. The Warriors will be without Kevin Durant but still will be looking to make a statement after their recent struggles. It is just tough to pick against the Rockets right now with how well they have been playing. The biggest difference for them lately has been their improved defense. They are closing out on shots and forcing bad looks which has resulted in them playing their best basketball of the year. It is tough to bet against them right now even against the Warriors. I mentioned earlier this year when the Warriors were underdogs that it almost a reflex to bet them. Not today. I am not sold the Warriors will be able to get it together. They need to shoot lights out and I don’t see that happening against the Rockets improved defense. This isn’t the same old Rockets of the last few years that didn’t care about defense. This Rockets team cares and that is going to be a big factor in tonight’s game.
Lastly I like the Suns catching 8.5 at home. They’ve been playing really well recently, winning 4 of their last 5 games. Their last game was a win against the Warriors in Oracle Arena. The Jazz haven’t been playing well at all and I don’t see them being motivated for this game tonight. I’ve got the Suns.
BKN/OKC Under 232.5