Tonight looks to be a favorable match up for the boys in blue and orange, but don’t let that fool you. The public and the odds makers are fully aware of the insane 21-5 road ATS record of OKC. They are also 2-0 since the All Star break with home wins and covers verses both The Spurs and The Nuggets. The Bulls on the other hand are 1-3 in both straight up action and ATS. The line here opened on the Thunder as a 2 possession favorite and since then has moved up to 7.5 with betting tickets and money hovering in the 90% range on around 2500 bets at the time of this article.
On paper this is a no brainer OKC play when you take into the fact Chicago has multiple players out and have a weak home straight up record at 12-17 along with an equally as weak home ATS record of 12-17-1…I guess you could say they are very consistent in this aspect. Based on my experience with a team this heavy on the percentages I will look for a second half play or a play within the game line be it a total, quarter, or team total shot. One of these I feel will be a better spot than taking OKC for the full game as the line is very suspect based on the information provided. The total on the other hand isn’t nearly as lopsided as the spread percentages, there are bigger early bets on the over which has pushed the line from 217 to 219 in most books but now the under total money is steaming back capturing 52% on the market with only 38% of the bettors.
With the way these numbers are moving I wouldn’t be surprised with a Chicago cover or even a win in this scenario. Public perceptions play a big role in my criteria when capping NBA games. A full strength Thunder team that is on a roll should easily be a double digit favorite in this match up as the team they are facing is in a slump going 2-8 straight up and 2-7-1 ATS in their last 10 games which is placing them in the bottom of the team rankings. This is the NBA and anything can happen on any given night and for that reason I will steer clear of a full game play.
With this being said, I will also look in the referee match up on a game which I feel will have Vegas involvement. Two of these refs have over a 50% home ATS hit rate, with the third ref at 35.9%. Karl Lane has a stellar 30-14 under record at a crazy 68.2%. Leroy Richardson is the only one with a sub 50% under rate. Expect a lot of fouling and referee involvement that will keep the game in check with the Vegas lines. If I have a play on this game it will be posted on Sports Action before tip off or I might wait to find a better spot in the second half or third quarter. Best of luck on whichever way you choose.
*Jack Robinson is the senior content writer for PicksCity and carries an all time NBA record at 58.7%