NBA Odds: Roaring Thunder host Grizzlies

By: Michael Robinson | Monday, February 7, 2011
Kevin Durant

Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant tops the NBA with a 29.0 PPG average.

The Oklahoma City Thunder look to continue their recent winning streak when they host Memphis on Tuesday night. The Grizzlies will be playing in a back-to-back situation, something they’ve excelled at this year against the spread.

Oklahoma City (33-17 straight-up, 26-24 ATS) is 3-0 SU and ATS in its last three games with a home win over New Orleans (104-93) and road tilts at Phoenix (111-107) and Utah (121-105).

The NBA’s leading scorer Kevin Durant (29 PPG) scored just 22.5 PPG in the two weekend road games, but that’s a good thing. The Thunder are too reliant on Durant and Russell Westbrook (22.5 PPG) and are more successful when the supporting cast steps up.

Forward Jeff Green (15.5 PPG) had 28 points at Phoenix and 20 at Utah. The team is 7-1 SU and 5-3 ATS when he scores 20 points or more this season. James Harden (10.2 PPG) also had a combined 27 points over the weekend as he tries to become a consistent scorer off the bench.

Oklahoma City leads the Northwest Division by 3 ½-games over Denver. This division has taken a real nosedive this year with Denver’s Carmelo Anthony wanting out, Utah losing Carlos Boozer to free agency and Portland’s myriad of injuries.

The Thunder have the fourth-best record in the Western Conference, but can’t compete with the Lakers and Spurs in the playoffs unless at least four-five guys are contributing offensively. Defense also has to improve as their 102.6 PPG allowed ranks 21st.

The ‘over’ is 5-1 in Oklahoma City’s last six games, although it would have been 3-2-1 if not for two overtime games. The ‘over’ is a big 18-7 at home this year. Home scoring (107.2 PPG) ranks third in the NBA.

Memphis (27-25 SU, 32-19-1 ATS) is underrated, with the casual fan not realizing its above .500 and a half-game behind Portland for the eighth playoff spot. It hasn’t had a winning record or made the playoffs since 2005-2006.

The Grizzlies’ last game was Saturday night in Houston, a 95-93 overtime loss. That snapped a five-game winning streak, but still got the ‘cover’ as 4 ½-point underdogs. They’re 5-1 ATS in their last six games.

Memphis will host the L.A. Lakers on Monday night before traveling to Oklahoma City on Tuesday. The team is 11-3-1 ATS in back-to-back situations this year (8-1 ATS in the last nine). The Thunder will be far more rested, but are just 3-5 ATS on two days rest this season.

Memphis has played well the last six games without guard O.J. Mayo, who’s serving a 10-game drug suspension. He had been coming off the bench and his scoring (12.2 PPG) is way down from last season (17.5 PPG). Sam Young is currently starting at shooting guard.

Zach Randolph is the team’s leading scorer (20.3 PPG) and rebounder (13.3 RPG). He’s always been able to put up good numbers, but playing winning basketball has often been a foreign concept.

Small forward Rudy Gay (20.1 PPG), point guard Mike Conley (13.4 PPG, 6.8 APG) and big man Marc Gasol (11.9 PPG, 7.0 RPG) round out a solid starting unit. Bench scoring is weak, especially with Mayo out.

Memphis is one of the best ATS teams, including 18-11 away (11-18 SU). The ‘under’ is 6-0 in its last six road games and 19-10 this year.

These teams met twice in January, with the home team winning and ‘covering’ both. The ‘over’ went 2-0 and is 5-0 in the last five games in Oklahoma City. Memphis is 1-4 ATS in the last five games in Oklahoma City.

There are no major injuries to report. Tip-off from Oklahoma City Arena will be at 5 p.m. (PT) and broadcast locally.

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