Bet of the Day – Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz, Feb. 5, 2011

Oklahoma City Thunder (+1.5) at Utah Jazz (-1.5), Over/Under 205.5

The Thunder won by 7 in the last match up between these teams in November. Oklahoma City has won 2 straight and now plays their 4th tough game in a row. Utah sits 3 games behind the Thunder in the Northwest division. They won last night in Denver and will be looking for revenge tonight at home.

Oklahoma City (32-17) have been a mediocre road team this year. They are 7-2 in the division. The Thunder average 45.8% shooting with 50 rebounds and 8 steals per game on offense. On defense, they allow 46.7% shooting with 50 rebounds and 7 steals per game. Oklahoma is an average defensive team and doesn’t shoot great on the road. Durant and the Thunder will need a big effort to win in Utah tonight.

Utah (30-21) is working out of a slump. A nice road win last night could kick-start the team. The Jazz average 46.2% shooting with 48 rebounds and 8 steals per game on offense. On defense, they allow 45.2% shooting with 50 rebounds and 7 steals per game. Deron Williams was back in the lineup last night and has played well against the Thunder in the past. Utah is banged up but expect a good effort at home tonight.

The Sagarin Ratings have Oklahoma City 93.09 and Utah 91.21. With the 3,58 home advantage, the fair line is Utah -1.7.

My NBA model has Utah 103.5 over Oklahoma City 101.62 for 205.12 total points. Utah is a better shooting team. The Thunder get to the free throw line effectively and shoot 82.9%. The Jazz are a better defensive team. Oklahoma is vulnerable to the 3-point shot. The key variance contributor is Oklahoma City’s defensive shooting percentage allowed. They have to keep Utah at or below their shooting average to win and cover tonight.

Tonight I am taking the home team minus the points. Here’s why. Utah was beat at home by 7 last time out against the Thunder. Utah won and covered last night. The Jazz have the advantage at point guard. Oklahoma City is a mediocre road team who is vulnerable on defense. I modeled the game at Utah -1.88. Bet Utah Jazz -1.5.

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Bet of the Day – Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder, Dec. 27, 2010

Dallas Mavericks (+1.5) at Oklahoma City Thunder (-1.5), Over/Under 202.5

No bet of the day yesterday.  Saturday’s bet was a winner.  I don’t have a lean on Monday Night Football.  So back to the NBA.  Dallas beat the Thunder by 8 points in Oklahoma City on November 24th.  Dallas is 16-1 since November 20th; one of the hottest teams in the league.  The Thunder are playing well too; they were 9-4 in December and enter this game off a nice win over Denver.

Dallas (23-5) will be without coach Rick Carlisle tonight.  They average 47.8% shooting with 49 rebounds and 7 steals per game on offense.  On defense, they allow 43.4% shooting with 48 rebounds and 7 steals per game.  Dallas has won 7 straight road games (including wins over Miami, Orlando, and San Antonio).  The are coming off a 5 day break; will they stay hot or are the due for some regression?

Oklahoma City (21-10) is a good home team.  They were 5-1 at home in December but didn’t play the toughest teams in those games.  They average 45.2% shooting with 50 rebounds and 9 steals per game on offense.  On defense, they allow 46.7% shooting with 50 rebounds and 7 steals per game.  The Thunder aren’t a great shooting team but they make free throws and control the ball.  Oklahoma will be motivated for a big game tonight.

The Sagarin Ratings have Dallas 97.19 and Oklahoma City 93.26.  With the 3.22 home advantage, the fair line is Dallas -0.71.  According to pregame.com, 81% of spread bets are on Dallas and 70% of total bets are on the Over.  The total line has moved from 204.5 to 202.5.  Sharp money on the Under?

My NBA model predicts Dallas 99.54 over Oklahoma City 97.28 for 196.82 total points.  Dallas is a better shooting team.  Oklahoma makes more free throws.  Dallas is more efficient on defense.  The key variance contributor is Oklahoma City’s offensive and defensive shooting percentage.  Oklahoma City must limit the Mavs shooting efficiency to win and cover tonight.

Tonight I am taking the Under.  Here’s why.  Dallas is coming of a 5 day break.  The Thunder are revenging an 8-point home loss.  I modeled the game at 196.82 total points and the line has moved from 204.5 to 202.5.  Bet Dallas/Oklahoma City Under 202.5.

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Bet of the Day – Portland Trailblazers at Oklahoma City Thunder, Nov. 12, 2010

Portland Trailblazers (+2) at Oklahoma City Thunder (-2), Over/Under 195.5

Yesterday’s bet was a winner.  Back to the NBA today.  A battle of the two young, up and coming teams.  Unfortunately, both teams are a bit banged up.  This is their 2nd meeting of the season (OKC won the 1st game at Portland).

Portland (6-3) opens a 3-game road swing tonight.  Brandon Roy (knee) will play but how many minutes is unknown.  The Trailblazers average 45.5% shooting with 49 rebounds and 9 steals per game.  They allow 46% shooting with 50 rebounds and 6 steals per game.  In their last meeting, the Thunder shot 49.4 % and out rebounded Portland 52 to 44.  Portland will need to be at the top of their game with good minutes from Roy to win tonight.

Oklahoma City (4-3) have been okay.  Teams aren’t overlooking the Thunder anymore and it shows.  The Thunder have shown some signs of frustration.  But it’s early in the season and they will be by February.  The Thunder average  42.5% shooting from the floor with 50 rebounds and 9 steals per game.  They allow 48.1% shooting with 50 rebounds and 6 steals.  They aren’t a great perimeter shooting team, but they draw fouls and are shooting 87.3% from the line.  Oklahoma City struggled shooting in their first few games but have improved in their last 3 games.  Jeff Green will be out tonight for the 3rd straight game.  Expecting a big effort from Durant and the Thunder tonight.

The Sagarin Ratings have Portland 93.59 and Oklahoma City 89.50.  With the 2.10 home advantage, the fair line is Portland -1.99.

My NBA model predicts Oklahoma City 99.2 over Portland 95.6 for 194.8 total points.  Portland has better shooting stats (Oklahoma is much improved in recent games).  Oklahoma City has the rebounding advantage.  The key variance contributor is Oklahoma City’s defensive shooting percentage.  Oklahoma City has to keep the Portland shooting percentage below their mean to win this game.

Tonight I am taking the Oklahoma City Thunder minus the points.  Here’s why.   The Thunder are improving and rested.  Portland has played 7 games in 12 days.  Brandon Roy will play limited minutes.  The Thunder will out rebound Portland.  The Thunder have learned how to finish games and are excellent from the free throw line.  Bet on the Oklahoma City Thunder -2.

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Bet of the Day – Chicago Bulls at Oklahoma City Thunder, Oct. 27, 2010

Chicago Bulls (+6.5) at Oklahoma City Thunder (-6.5), Over/Under 192.5

Today’s post is my first NBA game of the season.  Chicago added new coach Tom Thibodeau from the Celtics and several talented signees (e.g. Boozer, Brewer, Korver).  The Bulls seem to have positive momentum coming into the season.  The Oklahoma City Thunder and star Kevin Durant finished last season strong.  The hype and expectations surrounding this team grows with each day.  They didn’t make a lot of roster changes but they are a young team expected to grow this year.

The Bulls made a failed push in Lebronapalooza but ended up with what looks to be a pretty good team and coach.  Last year the Bulls shot 45.1% from the field (32.9% 3-pt and 75.6% FT) for 97.4 points per game.  The Bulls allowed 44.5% shooting (35.1% 3-pt and 74.3% FT) for 99.5 points per game.  They are a good rebounding team that doesn’t commit too many fouls or turnover the ball.  New acquisition Carlos Boozer (broken hand) is out for at least a month, so rookie Taj Gibson will get plenty of on the job training.  With this being Thibodeau’s first game and the Bulls playing a top team, I expect a big effort.  Will the team gel without Boozer and the addition of several new characters?  Also, note Noah has been ill but returned to practice on Monday.

The Thunder may be a marked team.  They are popular in the media and Kevin Durant’s continual growth has been well documented.  Last year the Thunder shot 45.7% (33.7% 3-pt and 80.7% FT) for 101.0 points per game.  They allowed 44.7% shooting (34.0% 3-put and 75.9% FT) for 97.8 points per game.  The Thunder do give up steals and blocks but are a pretty good rebounding team.  The Thunder will be missing several supporting players, including Nick Collison and Cole Aldrich.  Expecting Durant to put up his usual quality numbers but can his supporting cast do the same?  The Thunder will definitely have an active crowd tonight that should play to their favor.

The Sagarin Ratings have the Thunder 90.94 and the Bulls 88.89.  With a 3.4 point home advantage, the fair line is Oklahoma City -5.45.  This is very close to the current betting line and doesn’t indicate real value on either side.  According to Pregame.com’s Sportsbook Spy, the money is split evenly on the point spread.  On the total, 80% of bets are on the Over but it has inched down from 194.

My basketball model predicts Oklahoma City 98.0 over Chicago 95.2 for 193.2 total points.  With only last year’s data to work with, you have to take any model results with a grain of salt.  It will be a few weeks before we have reliable model data.

This game is a pretty popular over play today.  I am going to watch from the sidelines on the total play as I have some questions about Thibodeau’s defense and pace of play.  Tonight, I am taking the Bulls +6.5.  Here’s why.  Derrick Rose knows Durant well and will work to control the pace of the game.  Durant is a rhythm player and Thibodeau (strong defensive coach) will look to disrupt the Thunder’s flow.  Both teams have injuries but Chicago has more depth.  Chicago is a better rebounding team.  Oklahoma City is a trendy team and there may be some line inflation.  The Thunder may win but I think it will be close.  Bet on the Chicago Bulls +6.5.

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