OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (23-13)
at DALLAS MAVERICKS (26-8)
Tip-off: Thursday, 8:00 p.m. EDT
The Thunder will try to avoid losing three in a row as they finish their three-game Southwest Division road trip in Dallas on Thursday. Meanwhile, the Mavericks look for their third consecutive win (SU and ATS), despite being without Dirk Nowitzki (day-to-day, knee) and Caron Butler (out for the season, knee). There was a possibility Nowitzki could return, but the latest reports out of Dallas has Nowitzki sitting out Thursday’s game. Vegas odds.
Following its worst defeat and shooting game (32.9 FG%) of the season in a 101-74 loss to the Spurs, Oklahoma City was unable to rally back Wednesday night in Memphis, losing 110-105. The usually high-scoring Thunder are only averaging 99.6 PPG in away games this year, while their sub-par defense is allowing 101.4 PPG in all games, and also the same 101.4 PPG on the road.
Kevin Durant remains the league’s leading scorer with 27.9 PPG, but he continues to struggle under pressure in the fourth quarter. This was the case in both home losses to the Mavs earlier this season. Despite scoring 32 and 28 points, respectively in the two games, in the fourth quarter Durant only went 3-of-7 in the first meeting and 2-of-5 for five points in the second meeting. Betting lines.
Meanwhile, Dallas is coming off an 84-81 win over Portland on Tuesday in its first contest of a difficult three-game homestand. Jason Terry, who has rotated into the starting lineup in place of Butler, scored 12 of his 18 points in the fourth quarter to help seal the win. The Mavericks won the first two meetings against the Thunder by a combined 18 points. However, Nowitzki led the first game with 34 points and Butler led Dallas with 21 points in the second meeting, in which Nowitzki left early in the second quarter with his current knee injury. Dallas will have a much tougher matchup in this third and final meeting against the Thunder, especially without two of its top scorers.
The Thunder are a decent 10-7 SU (8-9 ATS) in away games and are 10-2 SU (8-4 ATS) after straight up losses this season. Despite Oklahoma City coming off two losses in a row overall and against Dallas, the Mavericks are simply at a disadvantage without Nowitzki and Butler, making Oklahoma City my pick to win. Sports scores.
According to the FoxSheets: Oklahoma City is 4-0 against the spread versus Dallas over the last 3 seasons.
The FoxSheets also show a trend in favor of the Over:
19 of 25 games (76.0%) in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL since 1996.