NBA Betting Preview: Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Clippers

Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Clippers
Sunday, March 3, 2013, 3:30 pm Eastern, TV: ABC
Staples Center – Los Angeles, California
Opening Line: Los Angeles -2 1/2
Current Line: Los Angeles -2
Opening Total: 203 1/2
Current Total: 204 1/2
Opening Money Line: Clippers -135 / Thunder +115
Current Money Line: Clippers -135 / Thunder +115

The Clippers are slight favorites at home against the thunder Sunday.
The Clippers are slight favorites at home against the thunder Sunday.

The 42-16 Oklahoma City Thunder travel to the 43-18 Los Angeles Clippers Sunday afternoon in a battle of two of the NBA’s young exciting teams. Both teams lead their respective divisions by around 10 games, but both also trail the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference. The Thunder are 3 games behind the Spurs and the Clippers are a half game behind them. The Thunder lost at the Denver Nuggets Friday night to snap a 3 game winning streak. The Clippers have won 4 straight games and 8 of the last 9, including a 105-89 rout at the Cleveland Cavaliers Friday night.

The Thunder have won both meetings this year between the teams. The Thunder won in OKC November 11 in overtime 117-111. The Thunder won in LA 109-97 January 22  but Chris Paul missed that game with a knee injury. Since then the Thunder have lost 6 of their last 8 road games, including the last 4. This is the last scheduled meeting between the teams this season, but there is a very good chance they could meet in the playoffs.

Oklahoma City is coached by Scott Brooks. The Thunder are 34-22-2 ATS and the total is 30-28 this season. Los Angeles is coached by Vinny Del Negro. The Clippers are 35-26 ATS and the total is 32-29 this season.

Oklahoma City is outscoring teams 107-97 this season. The Thunder lead the league in scoring. OKC is shooting 48.3% from the field and 39.2% from 3 point range. The Thunder are #3 in both categories. Oklahoma City leads the league in free throw shooting at 83.3%. The Thunder average 43.1 rebounds per game and give up 40.4 per game. They are #10 in rebounding and #6 in rebounds allowed. OKC opponents are shooting 42.9% from the field and 35.1% from 3 point range. The Thunder are #2 in opponents’ field goal percentage, and #11 in three point defense. Oklahoma City averages 22 assists, 8.4 steals, 7.6 blocks, and 15.8 turnovers per game.

Forward Kevin Durant averages 28.5 points, 7.8 rebounds, 4.6 assists, 1.5 steals, and 1.2 blocks per game. Durant trails Knicks’ forward Carmelo Anthony by a tenth of a point for the scoring title. Guard Russell Westbrook averages 23.3 points, 5.2 rebounds, 7.8 assists, and 1.9 steals per game. Guard Kevin Martin averages 14.6 points, 2.3 rebounds, and 1.2 assists. Forward Serge Ibaka averages 13.6 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 3 blocks per game. Guard Thabo Sefolosha averages 7.8 points, 4.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Nick Collison, Ronnie Brewer, Kendrick Perkins, Reggie Jackson and Hasheem Thabeet  make up the rest of the rotation.

Los Angeles is outscoring teams 101-94 this season. The Clippers are #9 in scoring and #4 in points allowed. LA is #4 in shooting from the field at 47.5% and 35.6% from 3 point range. The Clippers are near the bottom of the league in free throw shooting at 70.3% from the line.  LA averages 41.7 rebounds per game and gives up 39.6 per game. The Clippers are #3 in rebounds allowed. Los Angeles opponents are shooting 43.8% from the field and 36.9% from 3 point range. The Clippers are #5 in opponents’ field goal percentage. Los Angeles averages 23.4 assists, 9.9 steals, 6.3 blocks, and 14.4 turnovers per game.

Forward Blake Griffin averages 18.5 points, 8.7 rebounds, 3.6 assists, and 1.4 steals per game. Point guard Chris Paul averages 16.2 points, 3.5 rebounds, 9.6 assists, and 2.4 steals per game. With Rajon Rondo out for the Celtics, Paul leads the league in assists and steals.  Guard Jamal Crawford averages 17 points, 1.7 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.1 steals per game. He has a very good shot of winning the Sixth Man of the Year Award. Forward Matt Barnes averages 10.4 points, 4.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.1 steals, and 1 block  a game. Forward Caron Butler averages 10.3 points and 2.9 rebounds per game. Center DeAndre Jordan averages 8.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, and 1.5 blocks per game. Point guard Eric Bledsoe averages 9.3 points, 3.1 rebounds, 3.3 assists, and 1.6 steals per game. He started 11 games when Paul was out with a knee injury.  Guard Willie Green, Forward Lamar Odom, Center Ronny Turiaf, and guard Chauncey Billups make up the rest of the rotation.  Forward Trey Thompkins (knee) is out indefinitely. Forward Grant Hill is questionable with a back injury.

The Thunder are 8-2 ATS against NBA Pacific teams, after a straight up loss, 9-3-1 after allowing 100 points or more, 6-2-1 in Sunday games, 8-3 after failing to cover, 33-15-3 against Western Conference teams, 25-12-1 on one day rest, 35-17-1 after scoring more than 100 points, 1-4 against teams  with winning records, 1-5 in road games, and against teams with winning home records. Six of the last seven in this series  have gone over the total.

The Clippers are 4-0 ATS overall, 9-1 in Sunday games, 4-1 after a straight up win, 23-8 after scoring 100 points or more, and 19-8 after a straight up win of more than 10 points. The home team is 7-3 ATS in this series recently. The Clippers are 21-10 ATS in this series recently, and 4-1 in the Staples Center.

This could be a potential playoff preview, and I expect to see a playoff intensity from both teams. The Clippers have won 8 of the last 9 games since Paul returned from his knee injury, by an average of 15.5 points. The only loss in that stretch came at the Spurs. I think the Clippers win at home, but it will be close.

Our NBA handicappers are red hot this season. Don’t miss out on any winners from now until the Finals in June.




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