Oklahoma City Thunder (22-12) at Dallas Mavericks (16-18)
NBA Basketball: Sunday December 30th 2018 at 7:00 PM EDT (American Airlines Arena)
Line and Odds: Oklahoma City Thunder -3
Free NBA Pick Oklahoma City Thunder vs Dallas Mavericks
Oklahoma City Thunder visit Dallas Mavericks as they look to compound on their miseries of the past few games. Dallas have looked shaky losing 7 of their last 8 games while the Thunder have proved that a good defence can go a long way in hiding your offensive deficiencies.
Oklahoma City Thunder
With a record of 22-12, Oklahoma City Thunder rank 3rd in the west and have the 6th best record this season in all of NBA. Retaining Paul George and getting the rights to Dennis Schroeder meant the Thunder were serious contenders but no one expected them to figure out their backcourt this early. Despite Westbrook’s injury struggles, Thunder have kept themselves in contention behind Paul George’s MVP caliber play and a stellar defensive display that has them ranking second in league in defensive rating.
What Oklahoma City lacks for in offense, the make up for in their defensive hustle. Thunder rank 1st in steals(10.4) and 4th in blocks (5.8). Their dogged defense has proved tough for robust offenses of the western conference to deal with; they rank 1st in deflections per game, 2nd in loose ball recovered per game and 6th in shots contested per game. Russell Westbrook is 1st in league in assists and steals while Paul George is 2nd in steals and 5th in total three pointers made. Oklahoma City has done a good job of getting on the ball, grabbing 48.7 rebounds per game(2nd).
Thunder have won 5 of their last 7 and will look to extend on that run of good form; they maybe third in a stacked western conference but they are just 3.5 games ahead of the 9th rank Spurs. Thunder are have lost two close games to the T-Wolves and Rockets in the last 10 days, so a game against this rebuilding Mavs side comes at just the right time for Russ and co. Paul George’s status was changed to probable after he missed the previous game with a quad issue.
The Dallas Mavericks have been caught on a burning middle ground where they are neither in the rebuilding mode nor do they have enough pieces to contend in a western conference that is historically competitive.
Everyone expected big things from Luka Doncic but it is safe to assume that the rookie out of Slovenia has exceeded all of them. He ranks amongst the top 5 rookies in points(1st), assists(2nd), rebounds(3rd) and steals(2nd) while making 2.3 3pointers each game(many of them in big moments); Luka Doncic also ranks 2nd in efficiency.
Mavs maybe without former all star DeAndre Jordan and Wesley Matthews may miss another game because of a foot issue.
The Mavericks have averaged 111 points a game at 45.6% while ranking 13th in cleaning the board and 22nd in assists per game; they also give out 4th most turnovers which has been a major cause for their slip in December after an impressive run of results last month. They’ll look to extend their strong home record that has seen them win 10 of their last 11 home games. At American Airlines Center, the Mavs are outscoring their opponents by almost 8 points and scoring 114 points on a 47.2% shooting.
Coming on the back of a close loss to Pelicans, they will look to defend their home supremacy with a young Luka Doncic and a former NBA Champ in Harrison Barnes leading their stead.
CTS 365 Betting Trends
Dallas is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against Oklahoma City
Dallas is 11-2 ATS in its last 13 games at home
Dallas is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
Oklahoma City Thunder
Oklahoma City is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
Oklahoma City is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Dallas
Oklahoma City is 12-5 SU in its last 17 games when playing Dallas
Free NBA Pick Dallas Mavericks vs Oklahoma City Thunder
The Mavericks are the worst team in the league in defending fast break points which plays directly into the hands of a Thunder offence that ranks 3rd in fast break points. The Thunder have been defensively proficient this season ranking second in defensive rating, and though Russell Westbrook has played second fiddle to Paul George, he has stepped up when the situation has called him to.
Expect a Thunder win against the spread as they look to solidify their top 3 rank which could be pivotal come the playoff time.
Pick: Thunder -3.