NBA Betting: Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies

NBA Betting:  Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies

The Oklahoma City Thunder have to be pleased with their performance so far with guard Russell Westbrook out of the lineup. Westbrook suffered a season ending injury during the Houston season and many observers thought that the Thunder would be ‘easy pickin’s’ without him. While the Thunder definitely miss him they’ve managed to make it out of the first round and split the first two games of this series at home. They’re hoping that they’ll be able to sustain this momentum as the series moves to Memphis. We’re thinking that they can’t.

OKC made the NBA Finals last season but two of the major contributors to that run won’t be playing on Saturday. Sixth man James Harden is now with Houston and Westbrook is injured. Westbrook is essential not only for his energy on the defensive end but his scoring and playmaking on the offensive end. Without him in the lineup it essentially falls on Kevin Durant to try to single handedly outscore opponents. Of course he’s as prolific a scorer as there is in the NBA but this strategy makes the Thunder a very one dimensional team.

Making matters worse, Memphis is arguably the worst matchup in the league of a ‘one dimensional’ team. Memphis can play strong inside basketball and are very nasty on the defensive end. With few options aside from Durant their task is made even easier. At first glance this appears to be an excessive number of points to be giving to the Thunder but without Durant it’s simply not. Furthermore, the Grizzlies have been very good in this price range on their home court. As home favorites of -3.5 to -6 points Memphis is 9-2 both straight up and against the spread. They were a very good home team overall (35-9 SU, 26-16 ATS) and excelled in the role of a favorite (50-15 SU, 39-24 ATS). They also made money against opponents with winning records going 30-18 ATS. The Thunder will continue to play with pride and with Durant in the lineup they’re always dangerous but without Westbrook in the lineup they simply don’t have the versatility to book a return to the NBA Finals. Very likely their run will end in this series starting with a loss in Memphis today.