Philadelphia 76ers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Pick
Philadelphia 76ers (39 – 22 SU, 28-33 ATS) vs. Oklahoma City Thunder (38-22 SU, 33-27 ATS)
When: Thursday, February 28th, 2019 – 8:00 PM ET
Where: Chesapeake Energy Arena – Oklahoma City, OK
By: Keith Franks, NBA Handicapper, Predictem.com
Point Spread: PHI +8 / OKC -8
Power Rankings: Oklahoma City -4
Takeaways from Philadelphia and Oklahoma City’s Most Recent Games
The 76ers come in off a thrilling win on the road on Monday in the Big Easy against the New Orleans Pelicans… a game pick we lost in the final minute. The Sixers closed as just a two-point favorite but failed to cover as they defeated the Pelicans by a mere point. The final score resulted in a 111-110 win for the Sixers. Philadelphia has failed to cover in three consecutive games.
The Thunder step into this contest on the heels of a two-game losing streak. Most recently, the Thunder were defeated on the road in the Mile High City when they fell 121-112 to the Denver Nuggets on Tuesday. Oklahoma City failed to cover as a 3.5-point underdog. The Thunder have failed to cover in their last four matches overall.
How the Public is Betting the Philadelphia and Oklahoma City Game
Presently, 65% of the consensus like the 76ers taking back the points. Line movements tell an opposing story as the action seems to be coming in on Oklahoma City. The Thunder are now spotting an additional half point compared to their initial opening number of Oklahoma City -7.5.
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A central storyline surrounding this contest is Oklahoma City’s 19-game winning streak against Philadelphia. In their most recent meeting on January 19th, the Sixers nearly got the OKC monkey off their back as they fell by a score of 117-115 in Philadelphia. The game saw the Thunder were 2.5-point underdogs at the tip and thus produced their fourth consecutive cover against the Sixers.
Philadelphia Center Joel Embiid remains injured for this cross-conference clash as he continues to recover from knee soreness. Embiid is expected back in early March. Despite losing a 27.3 point per game scorer, the 76ers have gone 2-1 SU in Embiid’s absence. The man that the Sixers tapped onto step into Embiid’s duties, backup Center Boban Marjnovic will also be sitting this game out due to a knee injury. Like Embiid, Marjanovic is due back in early March. In his place, Center Jonah Bolden will get the start. In Philadelphia’s last game at New Orleans, Bolden produced nine points, three assists, and six rebounds which is comparable to Marjanovic’s output as a 7.4 point per game and 4.8 rebound per contest producer.
Rest Advantages and Concerns
Philadelphia will be playing this game with three days to prepare as they will wrap a two-game road trip with their visit to OKC. After this, Philly is back home on Saturday for a huge showdown with the Golden State Warriors. For Oklahoma City they enter the game on two days’ rest. This will be a quick home game sandwiched in between two road contests. On Saturday, the Thunder will be back on the road in San Antonio.
Can Philadelphia Bully Oklahoma City On The Boards?
Both Oklahoma City and Philadelphia are among the best in total rebounds per game as the Thunder are second with 48 total boards per contest while Philly is fifth in the NBA with 47 total rebounds per game. A key difference between both parties is how many total rebounds opponents collect against these two respective for teams. Philadelphia remains in the top-five in that category as opponents average 43.4 total rebounds per game against them. However, Oklahoma City is far more accommodating as they sit 23rd in the NBA with the opposition generating 45.6 total rebounds per contest. Philly will look to bully OKC on the boards here in what could be a pivotal battle in determining the winner of this game.
Can The Thunder Outgun The 76ers?
Offensively, Philadelphia and Oklahoma City are also two of the best in the business as both teams sit in the top-five of the NBA in scoring offense. Oklahoma City averages 115.9 points per game (3rd in the NBA) while Philadelphia’s average sits just .2 points less per game at 115.7 points per contest (5th in the league). Another key ingredient to this game is how the defenses respond to these potent offenses. Oklahoma City’s defense gives up 111.1 points per match (14th in the NBA) which is just 1.2 points per less than Philadelphia’s defense which sits 20th in the league with a scoring defense of 112.3 points per game. This contest could very well boil down to which team could outscore the other with the defense being left at home. A high Over/Under of 239 would suggest a high-octane affair is in store.
Outside of the aforementioned winning streak held by the Thunder in this series along with their present cover streak, a noteworthy trend worth highlighting is that the Under is 9-3 ATS in the previous twelve meetings between Oklahoma City and Philadelphia.
Keith’s Pick to Cover the Spread: Philadelphia +8
According to other books, the Sixers may find themselves severely undervalued here as they could be potentially taking back double the points they should be. By virtue of this narrative alone, I warrant a play on Philadelphia. Undoubtedly, Oklahoma City’s profitability in this series as of late combined with their spate of dominance in the winning streak has positioned the Thunder to be grossly overvalued here. However, I am certain that Philadelphia is sick and tired of hearing about Oklahoma City having their number and that bitter January loss is fresh in the mind of the Sixers. By sheer motivation alone, I expect Philadelphia to show up here and give Oklahoma City a fight. Perhaps in doing so, Philly might just hit it big and pull an upset. However, I’ll play this one safe and suggest taking the inflated points.