Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors
NBA: Tuesday, October 16, 2018, ORACLE Arena, Oakland, California, 10:30 PM ET
The Oklahoma City Thunder are traveling to California to face the reigning champions Golden State Warriors in the opening night of the new season and the visitors already have an opportunity to show whether they are capable of competing for the title this time around.
Last time they met, back in April this year, the Warriors secured a narrow 111-107 victory on the road thanks to the former Thunder Kevin Durant who posted a double-double of 34 points and team-high ten rebounds. On the other hand, Russell Westbrook had a magnificent display as he recorded 44 points, 16 boards, six assists, and a couple of steals.
The Thunder are hoping to upset the favored Warriors
The Oklahoma City Thunder finished the last season in the 5th place and with a 48-34 record in the Western Conference but the Utah Jazz surprised them in six games in the opening round of the playoffs. Oklahoma convinced Paul George to stay in town on a long-term contract and they brought Dennis Schroder and Nerlens Noel to strengthen the squad, while the Thunder lost Carmelo Anthony to the Houston Rockets.
Ready to compete.
🎥 // today's practice report pic.twitter.com/7R9th9G168
— OKC THUNDER (@okcthunder) October 14, 2018
Billy Donovan’s side had the 12th best offense in the NBA as they averaged 107.9 points per contest, while they had a top ten defense that allowed 104.4 points in return. Once again, Westbrook, George, and Steven Adams will be Oklahoma’s main guys in this campaign.
Westbrook averaged 25.4 ppg, 10.3 apg, 10.1 rpg, and 1.84 spg; George contributed 21.9 ppg, 5.7 rpg, 3.3 apg, and 2.04 spg, while Adams had 13.9 ppg and 9.0 rpg. However, Westbrook missed preseason due to minor knee surgery and won’t play in the opener. Schroder will have to carry the load with Westbrook out at least for the opener.
The Warriors are looking for the winning start of the season
The Golden State Warriors secured their third NBA title in four years after sweeping the Cleveland Cavaliers in the Finals, eventually forcing LeBron James to switch conference and move to the Los Angeles Lakers. They actually ended the regular season behind the Houston Rockets in the standings with a 58-24 record, but that wasn’t a problem for them as the Warriors beat San Antonio and New Orleans in five games in the opening two rounds of the playoffs. Golden State eliminated Houston in seven games in the Western Conference finals and they had an easier job against the Cavs.
The Warriors added All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins who signed a one-year deal in the offseason. However, “Boogie” will be sidelined for the first few weeks of the campaign due to an Achilles injury. Steve Kerr’s men were the best offensive team in the NBA with 113.5 points per contest, while their defense allowed a decent 107.5 points in return (18th). Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant both averaged 26.4 ppg, while the pair combined for nearly 12 assists and rebounds per game. Klay Thompson averaged 20.0 ppg, while Draymond Green had 11.0 ppg, 7.6 rpg, 7.3 apg, 1.36 spg, and 1.30 bpg, and four of them will be Kerr’s primary weapons until Cousins returns. As long as their “big” four is healthy, the Warriors are going to be the team to beat.
- 5-0 ATS in their last five games playing on three or more days rest
- 4-0 ATS in their last four when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game
- 5-1 ATS in their last six games following an ATS loss
- 2-9 ATS in their last 11 games played on Tuesday
- 8-20-1 ATS in their last 29 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game
The Bottom Line What to bet on this game.
Full-Game Side Bet
Golden State won nine out of the previous 11 H2H encounters including the last two, while the Warriors were victorious in six out of the past seven meetings at the ORACLE Arena.
The home team is 16-6-1 ATS in the last 23 duels, and even though the Warriors will be without Cousins, I believe they can beat the Thunder by double-digit difference thanks to their high-flying defense and the fact that they were the best team in the league when it comes to sharing the ball (29.3 per contest).
Oklahoma probably has the stronger second unit as it was the case in previous seasons, but Golden State will not allow them to steal the victory in the opening night here.
Prediction: Golden State Warriors -11.5 (-110)
Full-Game Total Pick
The total is set at 225.5 and the rivals managed to surpass that mark on just two occasions out of the last ten H2H encounters, and although I think we will see around 220 points here, I am backing under. Under is 13-3 in the last 16 meetings; under is 10-1 in the previous 11 duels in Oakland, while under is 5-0 in Warriors last five vs. Western Conference opponents.
Prediction: Under 225.5 (-120)
Full-Game Prop Bet
The hosts will be looking to create a big lead already in the first half so they can relax a bit in the second part of the game, and given that Westbrook is unlikely to play, I don’t think the Thunder can withstand Golden State’s pressure early on.
Prediction: Golden State Warriors -7.5 (-110)
Half-Time Side Pick
The visitors will be limited in the offense without their best player who can easily drop around 20 points at halftime, and although the Warriors have the potential to score even 70 points in opening 24 minutes, I don’t think the rivals will combine for more than 110 points
Prediction: Under 113 (-110)