The Oklahoma City Thunder head to Brooklyn on Tuesday to take on a struggling Nets team at the Barclays Center. The Thunder are coming off a brutal loss to the 76ers to face a Nets squad that has lost six straight games.
The Thunder are only two-point favorites heading into this one, which seems low considering they’re playing an injury-ridden Nets team. With the over/under at 217, let’s take a look at what both teams bring to the contest and make our pick.
Playing Below Expectations
The Nets have had a rough year, starting the season off plagued by injuries and only getting worse as the year goes on. From a statistic perspective, the Nets don’t look like they would have a 16-19 record. Considering they have the league’s second-best rebounding team, you’d imagine they would be creating plenty of opportunities to score.
However, even with great rebounding, the Nets haven’t been able to overcome one of the league’s worst field-goal percentages (.442). If that wasn’t bad enough, the Nets have been plagued with injury since the start of the season.
Kevin Durant’s been out since the year started, and now Kyrie Irving will more than likely need shoulder surgery, adding another superstar to the compounding list of injuries. Worse news is that Deandre Jordan and Caris Levert could be out as well in this one.
I’d like to give you some good news about the Nets against the spread. Unfortunately, Brooklyn has been awful against the spread recently, going 0-6 in its last six games and 16-19 overall. The silver lining is that the Nets have a better record at home against the spread at 9-7.
The Thunder have hit their stride lately, taking out some of the league’s best teams (Clippers, Mavericks). This success is due mostly to Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Chris Paul building quite the rapport. The Thunder’s stat sheet isn’t much to admire, ranking in the middle of the league in most categories but slowly gaining attention.
An interesting thing to note is the last three games Oklahoma City has played against the Nets. Although undefeated straight up, the Thunder have gone 1-2 against the spread in their last three against Brooklyn.
The good news is how well the Thunder have been against the spread recently, going 6-0 in their last six, with most of these games going under.
Pick and Prediction
This game on its surface seems like the oddsmakers know something about the Nets that we don’t. Favoring the Thunder by only two points makes it look like the Nets’ terrible offense will be able to compete with a healthy Thunder squad with Gilgeous-Alexander and Danilo Gallinari at the helm.
If the Nets were spotted 11 or 12 points, I’d be more likely to consider taking the points, but with such a small spread, it’s not convincing enough.
The Nets have struggled offensively throughout the entire year, and with two top superstars out, it’ll be tough for them to compete with Oklahoma City. Even with emerging talent like Jarrett Allen and Spencer Dinwiddie, this Nets squad leaves much to be desired on offense.
The only thing I’m slightly concerned with is the Thunder will be coming off a big loss against the 76ers, and playing back-to-back games can tire out even the best teams. The good news is the Nets will be playing back to back as well, coming off a loss on Monday against the Magic.
This one is out in the open, with such a small spread and the Nets being plagued by injury, I have to take the Thunder -2 and the under.