CP3 vs Westbrook – New Orleans at Oklahoma City Thunder Betting Preview

New Orleans Hornets AT Oklahoma City Thunder
Jan 2, 2011 at 8 PM EST
Opening Line:  OKC -6
Current Line:  OKC -7
Opening Total:  193.5
Current Total: 197
Opening Moneyline: OKC -320 / NO +290
Current Moneyline: OKC -330 / NO +265

No one expected Westbrook to be this good, this fast

Durant came forward and got bold in his criticism, and many fans, myself included, loved it.  He said of Bosh “(he’s) a fake tough guy. He’s on a good team now, so he thinks he can talk a little bit.”  Durant also poked at the idea of a big three, saying his team is “a whole group” and that they don’t think of it as a big three (referring to himself, third year point guard Russell Westbrook, and forward Jeff Green).

Bettors will be interested to know that the Thunder are 13-3 after losses, showing they have the resiliency to bounce back from disappointment.  The NBA Oddsmakers have favored them in this game, however, so that has been accounted for, perhaps.

Worth noting is that there is a nasty blizzard running through the Midwest, and Oklahoma City could be too deep in for this game to be played, in which case I will update the line as “N/A” if we receive word before the game begins.

Some betting trends:

New Orleans is 11-2 SU in their last 13 games and the total has gone OVER in 4 of their last 6 on the road.  They are 5-2 SU in their last 7 road games and the total has gone UNDER in 17 of their last 25 on the road.  New Orleans is 1-4 SU in their last 5 against the Thunder and 11-4 SU in their last 15 against them.  New Orleans is 0-5 ATS in their last 5 against New Orleans.  The total has gone UNDER in 5 of the last 6 meetings between the teams and the total has also gone UNDER in 4 of the last 5 road meetings in Oklahoma City.  New Orleans is 4-2 SU in their last 6 games on the road at Oklahoma City and they are 3-6 ATS in the last 9 at OKC.

The total has gone OVER In 8 of Oklahoma City’s last 12 games and they are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 home games.  The total has gone OVER in 6 of their last 7 at home and the total has gone UNDER in 5 of the last 6 against New Orleans.  OKC is 4-11 SU in their last 15 games against New Orleans and they are 4-1 SU in their last 5 against them.  The total has gone UNDER in 4 of the last 5 home meetings against the Hornets.  OKC is 2-4 SU in their last 6 at home against the Hornets.

Key Matchups:

Chris Paul vs. Russell Westbrook

This will probably prove to be the most exciting matchup of the game.  It pits two of the very best point guards who are both playing amazing basketball and will undoubtedly each be playing in the All star game this February.  Westbrook has grown in leaps and bounds in his third season, faster than anyone imagined he would.  He’s upped his scoring average 6.5 points over last year to 22.6 and his 8.5 assists are good enough for 8th best in the NBA.  Chris Paul is third on that list with 9.7 assists per game and an astounding 4.18:1 assist to turnover ratio, the highest ratio in the league.  Paul is a model of efficiency, but he is capable of big games too.  It’s just that he’s so consistent we rarely expect a bad night from him.  He, like all NBA point guards do, will have a tough time chasing Westbrook around the court and keeping up with his boundless energy, but Paul is wise enough to pick and choose his spots defensively so as to not tire out quickly.

Trevor Ariza vs. Kevin Durant

Trevor Ariza has held Durant to 22, 25, and 26 points in the three meetings so far between these teams.  All point totals are under Durant’s average, but as I have alluded to in previous commentary about these two teams, Ariza is falling short of doing his job.  He’s supposed to be on par with the top defensive stoppers – Shane Battier, Tayshaun Prince, etc – and he is still allowing Durant to score as many as 26 points.  They’ve lost 2 of the three games because of it, but it’s really hard to blame Ariza.  He’s not a focal point in the offense and he sometimes ends up forgotten because of his sparce contributions to the box score.  His defense might be good, but Durant is a great player, and sometimes that is too much for even a good defender to do anything about.

Tonight’s two key matchups feature Oklahoma City’s best two players.  The Westbrook – Paul one will be the most fun to watch as both point guards are exciting and quick.  Oklahoma City is 17-7 at home this year and New Orleans is 12-13 on the road, so it’s easy to see why NBA oddsmakers set the line in Oklahoma City’s favor.

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