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NBA Preview: 12th January

WE’VE got a nice six-game slate on deck in today’s NBA, with some nice standout value on offer as well for punters.

Here’s a look at today’s best bet;

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Washington Wizards

OKC head to the Countries Capitals to take on the Wizards in what will very much be a bet and forget type of game.

The Thunder are 3-7 in their last 10 outings as they continue to tank their way through another season. Their record however isn’t reflective of the effort and performance of this young core and as a result they have been covering the spread at a pretty remarkable rate (56% on the season).

New draft prospect Josh Giddey has fit in beside Shai Gilgeous-Alexander seamlessly and the two young guns have been able to lift the ceiling of this teams and perhaps propel their timeline forward.  They have a canning ability to cover the line and are simply just good enough to hang about late in games.  OKC has struggled offensively but their defence has been solid and is what they have built their foundation off.

Washington on the other hand have split their last 5 and have lost a lot of very winnable spots. They project as a .500 win team on the year and are still surrounded by a lot of questions about what the future holds.

Bradley Beal’s offensive production has seen a significant drop off so far this season compared to the insane output we have seen over the previous two years, while Kyle Kuzma is enjoying playing outside of the spotlight of LA and the shadow of LeBron James and has seen a significant uptick in his points, rebounds and assists.

In terms of how these two teams matchup, it sets up as quite a lackluster outing. It’s hard to find advantages and disadvantages for either side as both sides tend to draw rather similar ratings in various categories.

Oklahoma City allow opponents to take the most 3 point attempts in the league, but Washington’s offence is taking the least number of 3-point shot attempts per game.

The Thunder also gives up a lot of size, something Washington can’t really capitalize on.

Lu Dort is likely to draw the Beal matchup and between Giddey and SGA the Thunder have options for switching and containing the Washington offence. Montrezl Harrell figures to play a big role in this matchup and could be the difference in the game if he’s able to return to the court in the form he was in prior to his absence. Harrell can provide a spark offensively off the bench and take advantage of the lower rotation players on the OKC roster.

Don’t get me wrong, Washington should absolutely be winning this game but I can’t see it being a blow out and laying almost 10 points seems like a wild overreaction.

Neither team plays a particularly fast pace, being league average on the season, so this games figures as being a bit of a grind.  If OKC can contain Beal and stay with the Wizards with their bench minutes they should be able to cover this inflated number.

I have this line set closer to -7.0 in favour of the home team and with this game being the first of a back-to-back for the Wizards there’s a chance they cast one eye to tomorrow’s divisional matchup against Orlando, who managed to upset them in their last meeting.

Our best bet: OKC Thunder +9.0 $1.92 at PlayUp


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