Stephen Nover Free Wednesday Play

On January 6, 2016, in Free Picks, NBA, by Stephen

Thunder minus 5 1/2 hosting Grizzlies

Look for the Thunder to play hard at home in this ESPN matchup trying to show the nation they are far more than just Kevin Durant, who isn’t expected to play because of a sprained toe, and off an embarrassing home loss to the Kings two nights ago.

Oklahoma City is strong inside. The Thunder rank No. 1 in rebounding differential at plus seven per game thanks in part to Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter and Steven Adams. Russell Westbrook normally steps up with monster performances when Durant is out. The Thunder rank No. 2 in scoring at 108.5 points a game. It’s my belief the Thunder are undervalued when Durant isn’t in the lineup.

The Thunder have won 11 of their last 13 home games averaging nearly 110 points during this home span. Oklahoma City has won four of its last five home games against Memphis and is 5-2-1 ATS the past eight times hosting the Grizzlies. The Thunder destroyed the Grizzlies, 125-88, when the teams last met on Dec. 8. That game was in Memphis, too.

No team is averaging fewer points per game than Memphis at 94.8 since Dec. 3. Only three times in their last 17 games have the Grizzlies reached triple-digits. They lack the firepower to hang with Oklahoma City especially with point guard Mike Conley dealing with lower back soreness that has affected his performance and kept him from logging his normal amount of playing time.

Memphis wins with defense. The Grizzlies’ defense has been improving, but is down from past seasons ranking sixth. Memphis has been feasting on weak offenses and bad teams. Just one of the Grizzlies’ last 11 opponents rank in the top 10 in scoring and six of their last seven foes do not have a winning record. The Grizzlies are 2-7-1 ATS the past 10 times they’ve faced an opponent with a winning mark.


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