Rocky Mountain Low? – Oklahoma City Thunder At Denver Nuggets

Oklahoma City Thunder AT Denver Nuggets
January 19th, 2011 at 9:00 PM EST
Opening Line:  Denver -3.5
Current Line:  Denver -3.5
Opening Total: 218
Current Total: 220
Opening Moneyline:  Den -165 / OKC +145
Current Moneyline:  Den -165 / OKC +145

Westbrook will have a huge speed advantage against the aging Billups

While Carmelo’s situation in Denver continues to drag on, the Oklahoma City Thunder will pull in tonight, completely ambivalent about the situation, only seeking a victory.

Carmelo has refused to answer questions regarding the situation, specifically being traded to New Jersey, saying “If that was the case, I’m sure I would have gotten a phone call.  I don’t want to talk to nobody. I’ll let the front office handle that. It ain’t my job to be talking to New Jersey, New York, Lakers, Dallas, no one. That’s not my job to do. I’m going to play Wednesday against Oklahoma City and then against the Lakers. Then Indiana.”

Melo’s play has been erratic, and he is clearly affected by the situation, regardless of his outlook on the matter.  Last game against the Spurs he looked out of sorts and hit but 5 of 17 shots en route to 12 points.  He’ll have to play much better against the Thunder for Denver to win tonight.

Some betting trends:

The total has gone OVER in 5 of Oklahoma CIty’s last 6 games and they are 4-1 SU in their last 5 games.  They are 2-4 SU in their last 6 road games and 2-4 ATS in those games.  The total has gone UNDER In 7 of their last 10 on the road and it has gone OVER in 11 of their last 14 agains the Nuggets.  Oklahoma CIty is 3-11 SU in their last 14 against Denver and 0-5 SU in their last 5 road games against them.  The total has gone OVER in 5 of Oklahoma City’s last 6 road games against Denver.

The total has gone OVER In 4 of Denver’s last 6 games and OVER in 4 of their last 5 home games.  They are 6-1 SU in their last 7 at home and 5-1-1 ATS in those games.  Denver is 2-5 ATS in their last 7 against the Thunder and the total has gone OVER in 11 of the last 14 between the teams.

Key Matchups:

Kevin Durant vs Carmelo Anthony

Even a focused Anthony will have problems with Durant.  They play very different styles.  Carmelo plays a power game, utilizing his strength he has over other small forwards, while Durant uses his length to get into mid range areas for jumpshots or slinking through the lane for laysups.  Anthony is not known for being a good defender so it is entirely possible that Durant has a very big night tonight.  Durant is a much better defender than Anthony, so I fully expect Durant to outscore Carmelo, and not just because he averages more points.

Russell Westbrook vs Chauncey Billups

Westbrook, like he does on most nights, has a huge speed advantage against Billups.  He also has the size to stick with Billups on the other end where Billups is normally able to over power opposing point guards.  This matchup, even more than the Durant – Anthony one, should prove to be very crucial to the outcome of the game.  If Westbrook can continually push the pace in transition and get to the hole and consequently shoot a lot of free throws, then Denver is going to have a difficult time with the Thunder tonight.  When both Westbrook and Durant get cookin’ it gets very difficult to contend with the Thunder.

Tonight’s spread really all depends on the version of Carmelo Anthony we see tonight.  If Melo comes out and plays inspired basketball, then this has a good chance of being a very close game as NBA Oddsmakers have predicted, but if we see the version of Melo that showed up against the Spurs, the Thunder will probably run away with this one.

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