NBA Betting Preview: Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder

Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder
Chesapeake Energy Center – Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Wednesday, April 11, 2012, 8:05 pm Eastern, TV: FSN-Oklahoma, FSN-Prime Ticket, NBA League Pass
Opening Line: Oklahoma City -8 1/2
Current Line: Oklahoma City -8
Opening Total: 197 1/2
Current Total: 195 1/2
Opening Money Line: Thunder -375 / Clippers +315
Current Money Line: Thunder -355 / Clippers +305

The Thunder host the Clippers Wednesday night in a key Western Conference match-up. OKC is an 8 point favorite.

By coincidence, the top four teams in the Western Conference are playing against each other Wednesday night. The 42-15 Oklahoma City Thunder host the 34-23 Clippers, and the #2 Spurs host the #3 Lakers.

Oklahoma City, coached by Scott Brooks, currently holds the #1 seed in the West by a game over San Antonio. The Thunder have already clinched the Northwest Division title. OKC has won two games in a row since a 3 game losing streak, with wins at home against Toronto and at Milwaukee 109-89 Monday night.

The Clippers, coached by Vinny Del Negro, are the #4 seed in the West by a half game over Memphis. The Clippers trail the Lakers by a game and a half for the #3 seed and in the Pacific Division. The Clippers have gone 8-2 in their last 10 games, but the two losses came to the Lakers and at Memphis Monday night 94-85.

The Thunder and Clippers have split the two meetings so far this season with each winning on their own home court. The Clippers won in LA January 30 112-100, and the Thunder won 114-91 in Oklahoma City March 21. The two teams will play again next week in LA, and could potentially play in the second round of the playoffs.

Los Angeles is outscoring opponents 97-95 this season. The Clippers are shooting 45.2% from the field and 34.9% from 3 point range. LA makes 68.1% of their free throws. The Clippers average 41.8 rebounds a game with a rebounding margin of +2. LA averages 21.1 assists, 13.4 turnovers, 8.4 steals, and 4.7 blocks a game. Clipper opponents are shooting 44.6% from the field and 36.4% from 3 point range. The Clips force 14.5 turnovers a game.

Clipper forward Blake Griffin averages 20.7 points, 10.9 rebounds, and 3 assists. He leads the Clippers in scoring and is tied for 5th in rebounding in the league. Point guard Chris Paul averages 19.3 points, 3.5 rebounds, 9 assists, and 2.5 steals a game. Paul is third in the NBA in assists and leads the league in steals. Guard Nick Young was acquired from the Wizards before the trade deadline. He is averaging 14.9 points a game. Guard Chauncey Billups averaged 15 points and 4 assists before he tore his ACL. Guard Mo Williams is doubtful with a toe injury. He is averaging 13.6 points, 3.1 assists, and 1 steal a game. Forward Caron Butler averages 12.4 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists a game. Guard Randy Foye averages 10.6 points, 2.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists a game. Center DeAndre Jordan averages 8.4 rebounds and leads the team in blocks with 2.1 a game.

The Thunder are outscoring opponents 103-96 this season. OKC is #2 in scoring in the league. The Thunder are shooting 47.5% from the field and 35.7% from 3 point range. Oklahoma City is #1 in field goal percentage in the NBA. The Thunder lead the league in free throw percentage making 80.1% at the stripe. OKC is #7 in rebounding averaging 43.3 a game with a rebounding margin of +2.4 a game. The Thunder average 18.5 assists, 16.4 turnovers, 7.6 steals, and 8 blocks a game. OKC opponents are shooting 42.5% from the field and 34.2% from 3 point range. The Thunder are #3 in opponents’ field goal percentage. Oklahoma City forces 14.4 turnovers a game.

OKC forward Kevin Durant averages 27.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, 3.5 assists, 1.4 steals, and 1.2 blocks a game. Durant is second in the league in scoring behind Kobe Bryant, and leads the Thunder in rebounding. Point guard Russell Westbrook averages 24.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.7 steals a game. He leads the team in assists and steals. James Harden averages 16.7 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.8 assists a game. Serge Ibaka averages 8.9 points, 7.6 rebounds, and 3.6 blocks a game to lead the NBA. Guard Eric Maynor is out for the season with a knee injury.

Oklahoma City is 32-25 ATS and the total is 27-30 this season. Los Angeles is 29-28 ATS and the total is 27-29-1 this season. The Clippers are 19-8 ATS in the last 27 against the Thunder, including 11-3 in Oklahoma City. The underdog is 8-3 ATS recently in this series. The Clippers are 7-3 ATS overall, and against Western Conference teams, 3-7 in Wednesday games, and 1-4 as a road underdog of 5-10.5 points. The Thunder are 5-0 ATS against Pacific Division teams, 4-0 after scoring 100 points or more, 5-1 after a straight up win, 4-1 in Wednesday games, and after a cover, and 6-2 as a favorite, including 5-2 at home.

The Clippers are playing some of their best basketball of the season, and getting hot at the right time. However, they are on a difficult 3 game road trip, and Oklahoma City is tough at home. I like the Thunder to win and cover.

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