NBA Betting Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder at Indiana Pacers

Oklahoma City Thunder at Indiana Pacers
Bankers Life Fieldhouse – Indianapolis, Indiana
Friday, April 6, 2012, 7:00 pm Eastern, TV: FSN-OK, FSN-IND, NBA LP
Opening Line: Oklahoma City -3 1/2
Current Line: Oklahoma City -3 1/2
Opening Total: 200
Current Total: 201
Opening Money Line: Thunder -165 / Pacers +145
Current Money Line: Thunder -165 / Pacers +145

The Thunder and Pacers meet in a key game for both teams Friday night in Indianapolis. The Thunder are a 3.5 point road favorite.

The 40-14 Oklahoma City Thunder, coached by Scott Brooks have lost two games in a row for the first time since January 3.  The Thunder lost at home to Memphis 94-88 Monday and lost at Miami Wednesday night 98-93. The game against the Heat felt almost like a playoff game as it was played with very high intensity on both sides. The Thunder are still in first place in both the Northwest Division and the Western Conference, but are now only a game up on San Antonio for the best record in the West.

Now the Thunder travel to the 33-21 Indiana Pacers, coached by Frank Vogel. The Pacers have won three straight games including a 109-96 win at Washington Wednesday night. The Pacers are currently the #3 seed in the East, 3 games ahead of the Celtics.

This is the only meeting between the Pacers and Thunder this year because of the lockout shortened season.   Oklahoma City has won 3 of the last 4 against Indiana including both meetings last season.

The Thunder are outscoring opponents 103-97 this season. OKC is #2 in scoring in the league. The Thunder are shooting 47.7% from the field and 35.6% 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 79.9% at the stripe. OKC is #6 in rebounding averaging 43.3 a game with a rebounding margin of +2.5 a game. The Thunder average 18.4 assists, 16.4 turnovers, 7.6 steals, and 7.9 blocks a game. OKC opponents are shooting 42.6% from the field and 34.3% from 3 point range. The Thunder are #3 in opponents’ field goal percentage. Oklahoma City forces 14.3 turnovers a game.

OKC forward Kevin Durant averages 27.6 points, 8.1 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 24.4 points, 4.4 rebounds, 5.4 assists, and 1.8 steals a game. He leads the team in assists and steals. James Harden averages 16.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, and 3.8 assists a game. Serge Ibaka averages 8.9 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 3.4 blocks a game to lead the NBA. Guard Eric Maynor is out for the season with a knee injury.

Indiana is outscoring opponents 97-94 this season. The Pacers are shooting 44.1% from the field and 36.7% from 3 point range. Indiana makes 77.9% from the free throw line. The Pacers are in the top 10 in the league in 3 point shooting and free throw shooting. Indiana is #8 in rebounding averaging 43.1 a game with a rebounding margin of +1.2. The Pacers average 18.5 assists, 14.3 turnovers, 7.9 steals, and 5.4 blocks a game. Indiana opponents are shooting 43.5% from the field and 35.1% from 3 point range. The Pacers force 15 turnovers a game.

Indiana small forward Danny Granger averages 18.4 points, 4.8 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.1 steals a game. Center Roy Hibbert averages 12.9 points, 8.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, and 1.9 blocks a game. He leads the Pacers in rebounding and blocks. Shooting guard Paul George averages 12.3 points, 5.3 rebounds, 2.3 assists, and 1.7 steals a game to lead the team. Power forward David West averages 11.9 points, 6.5 rebounds, and 2.2 assists a game. Shooting guard Leandro Barbosa was acquired from Toronto before trading deadline. He is averaging 11.3 points a game this season. Darren Collison 10.7 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 5 assists to lead the team. Tyler Hansbrough and George Hill also contribute to the scoring and play significant minutes in the rotation.

Indiana is 26-28 ATS and the total is 27-25-2 this season. Oklahoma City is 30-24 ATS and the total is 26-28 this season. The over is 14-2 recently in this series including 8-0 in Indiana. The Thunder are 6-1 ATS as a favorite of 4.5 points or less, 4-1 as a favorite, 6-2 against Central division teams, 22-8 after failing to cover, 19-7 against Eastern Conference teams, 5-2 as a road favorite, 39-17-1 as a road favorite of 4.5 points or less, and 55-25-1 after a straight up loss. The Pacers are 5-1 ATS against teams with winning records, and after scoring 100 points or more, 4-1 as an underdog of 4.5 points or less, 6-2 as a home underdog, including 5-2 as an underdog of 4.5 points or less, 5-2 against Western Conference teams, 3-7 on one day’s rest, 4-10 after winning by 10 points or more, 2-5 against Northwest Division teams, 2-5 in home games against teams with winning road records, and 1-4 in Friday games.

Oklahoma City hasn’t lost three games in a row this season. The Thunder are chasing the Bulls for the best record in basketball, but also trying to hold off the Spurs for the best record in the West. Indiana is a very deep and talented team that could be a sleeper pick to make a deep run in the NBA playoffs. I like the Thunder to snap their losing streak and get back on track.

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