Two of the Western Conference top teams will square off in the Chesapeake Energy Arena in arguably the most anticipated match on Monday.
Both the Thunder and Blazers have been in good form recently, and they currently occupy the third and fourth seed respectively.
Although they weren’t very active during the trade window, there’s still lots to talk about. Three players from the teams have been drafted for the All-Star game, and there is a sense of excitement around both franchises.
Since the Thunder became the Thunder and moved to Oklahoma, they have been neck and neck with the Blazers as their head-to-head record suggests.
Last year, it was Portland that prevailed in all four of their regular-season meetings. This season, it looks like it’s Oklahoma’s turn, as they have won both games so far.
There’s no love lost between Westbrook and Damian Lillard, and I’m curious to see how they will behave in the upcoming matchup. Russ was criticized for trash-talking Lillard last time around, but Dame took it pretty well.
While it might be fun to see the two go at it again, as always, I’m more interested in what the best NBA betting sites offer for the game.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Preview
Portland Trail Blazers
Although they were one of the quieter teams, the Blazers did make a couple of additions. Rodney Hood was taken from the Cavaliers with Nik Stauskas and Wade Baldwin heading to Cleveland. I assume Hood is over the moon that he gets to enjoy a fresh start on a team that doesn’t lose every game.
His debut as a Blazer was actually a very positive one. He was given 25 minutes off the bench and racked up 14 points and 3 rebounds. This came during the Blazers’ impressive win over the Spurs on Thursday.
The other notable players in the game are no surprise. C.J. McCollum dropped 30 points, and All-Star Damian Lillard added 24. Jusuf Nurkic was the third-highest scorer with 22 points from the center position.
I’m highlighting these four players, as it looks like they will be the main guys on which glory in the playoffs will depend. I expect Rodney Hood can prove to be a valuable player for them. Stauskas’ shooting had gone a bit stale, and it was a wise move to get someone who has a point to prove.
In their other trade deal, the franchise moved Caleb Swanigan to the Sacramento Kings for power forward SkalLabissiere. Not much to discuss here. Swanigan fell out of the rotation, and the Kings have decided to take a chance on him.
Labissiere probably won’t have a big impact this season. He’s only managed to play in 13 games for the Kings so far and is averaging just 2.8 points and 1.8 rebounds. I doubt he’ll get significant time on the court.
The win against the Spurs wrapped up a four-game homestand in which Portland won three. Their home form has been superb all season. In fact, they’re currently matched only by the Bucks and Nuggets when it comes to winning on their home court.
The big issue is that they haven’t been able to find their rhythm on the road. They have won only 10 of those so far, and of all the teams in playoff spots, only the Spurs have a worse record.
We’ll see if they dip in the buyout market now that they have a free roster spot. Who knows?With one more wing who can defend like Hood, the Blazers’ fortunes on the road may start to turn.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Things are looking pretty good for the Thunder at the moment. They started the season as one of the best defensive teams in the league, but the right results weren’t coming with Westbrook out and Paul George not showing his best shooting form.
Fast forward a couple of months, and they are now sitting comfortably in the third seed with potential to get even higher up. That’s what happens when players like Westbrook and George hit top gear. PG has been on fire for a while now, and it’s no surprise he has joined the MVP discussion.
George has been knocking them down from every possible range and angle. Of course, we can’t talk about the team’s ascent without mentioning Russell Westbrook. Whereas George has built consistency and has gradually upped the ante, Russ has simply exploded on the scene once again.
You just don’t know what you might get from him. He totally blew the fourth quarter against Boston last week, but he’s still averaging a triple-double! I mean, whatever you think about the guy, he’s a helluva basketball player. They have kind of a “good cop, bad cop” situation going with Paul George, and I love it.
Both those guys will deservedly be part of the All-Star game coming up. In fact, Westbrook has already made headlines about that, and not ones that you would expect. In the spirit of the trade deadline, LeBron James offered to send Westbrook to Giannis’ team in exchange for Ben Simmons.
The thinking behind it was that Giannis wanted to pair Embiid and Westbrook so they can curb their ongoing rivalry. The two captains agreed on the swap, and there you have it — Westbrook becomes the first player to participate in an All-Star game trade!
I won’t hide the fact that I think Oklahoma could be the dark horse this year. They have an unbelievably strong core with PG, Russ, and Steven Adams, and don’t forget, their best defender is still out with an injury.
If the team can be one of the best defenses in the league without Roberson, imagine what they can accomplish when he’s back in the frame. Of course, it all depends on whether Adams, Westbrook, and George can keep doing what they’re doing.
The Thunder will be hosting the Blazers as one of the hottest teams in the league. Despite their recent slump against Boston, they’re on nine wins in the last ten games.
I’m not at all surprised they didn’t do any trade business.Why would they? The team has the perfect balance going into one of the hardest parts of the season.
There are talks of them adding Enes Kanter, who the Knicks waived, but I doubt anything will materialize. Kanter wants to play, and with Steven Adams on the roster, I don’t think he will be able to get many minutes.
Prediction and Betting Pick
Both teams have a hard game to play prior to their matchup on Monday. The Thunder will go to Houston to try and stop James Harden, and the Blazers will travel to the rejuvenated Mavericks. They can easily lose their respective games, but it won’t be fatal in the grand scheme of things.
I will update this space as soon as the games are played and let you know if anything happens that can tip the scales on Monday.
Taking everything into account, I believe the Thunder are a strong favorite for this one.
The Blazers are in good form but can be shaky on the road. Their run of home games came to an end with the Spurs game, and there aren’t many better teams than Oklahoma right now.
The Thunder won their game against Houston in emphatic fashion. Paul George had another impressive performance dropping 45 points and 11 rebounds. Portland thought they had their game against the Mavs in the bag, but Luka Doncic led an unbelievable comeback attempt which saw his team win by a point.
This further proved the Blazers’ problems on the road. Given the odds and the superb form the Thunder are in, I have no doubt in my mind what is the best bet here.
Los Angeles Clippers vs. Minnesota Timberwolves Preview
Another matchup on Monday sees the Clippers take on Minnesota in the Target Center. The LA outfit was busy during the trade window, whereas the Wolves remained quiet.
Latest Clippers vs. Wolves Odds
The big one here is that the Clippers decided to trade their best player, Tobias Harris, to the Philadelphia 76ers. It was maybe the biggest and most controversial transaction in the trade window. Why would a team headed for the playoffs trade their best player?
Well, the obvious answer is that the franchise is planning for a big summer in which they can potentially lure two superstar players. Whether this will happen remains to be seen, but there’s no turning back now for the Clippers.
The trade sent rookie guard Landry Shamet from Philadelphia, who by the way is shooting better than 40% from the three-point line. So, that’s an interesting addition for the Clippers. They were also able to acquire another promising young talent in Ivica Zubac.
The Lakers were expected to hold onto Zubac, but ultimately, they traded him to the Clippers. They also landed veterans Garrett Temple and JaMychal Green from Memphis and were able to offload Avery Bradley.
If you actually look at the bigger picture, the Clippers might be better off next season. Yes, losing Tobias Harris is a big blow, but they added some talented youngsters and have increased their cap space. I think they can forget about the playoffs this year but might come back stronger in the future.
The Wolves are pretty much unchanged, and their hopes of a good season rest on Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins. Both have been playing well enough since the change of coach was made and Jimmy Butler was traded.
However, I feel that will not be enough. There’s real danger of the team missing out on the playoffs, and I just can’t see who will provide that additional spark. And no, I don’t think Derrick Rose is that guy. As impressive as he has been from the bench, he’s not capable of carrying a team by himself.
Clippers vs. Timberwolves Predictions and Pick
The Clippers made too many changes to their roster, and they will probably concentrate on the offseason more than anything. It will definitely be a big summer for both teams, as they will probably miss the playoffs and will need to plan their future. But they have enough time to worry about that.
As far as the game is concerned, I believe the Wolves should have this one in the bag. Predictably, both teams lost their games on the weekend. The Pacers were too much for the Clippers and the Wolves were beaten by a 25-minute cameo from Anthony Davis.
Looking at the odds, the bookmakers look to be agreeing that it’s going to be a tight game. I don’t feel comfortable betting on the over/under market here, so I’ll be backing the Wolves to cover the spread.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Houston Rockets Preview
The Rockets host the Mavs in what could prove to be one of the more exciting Texas derbies this season.
Dallas vs. Houston Odds
The Mavericks were involved in one of the biggest trade deals of the year. The New York Knicks’ best player, Kristaps Porzingis, was traded to them, along with Tim Hardaway Jr., Courtney Lee, and Trey Burke. The Knicks got Dennis Smith Jr., DeAndre Jordan, and Wesley Matthews.
Needless to say, Dallas will be feeling quite all right with the business they did. On top of acquiring one of the best young players in the league, they were also able to move Dennis Smith Jr., whose partnership with Luka Doncic was not working well enough.
Porzingis is currently injured, but the prospect of him linking up with Doncic sounds scary. I for one can’t wait to see that.
The Rockets didn’t do anything flashy but still managed to capture some decent players. Kenneth Faried has slotted perfectly in the center position and has been of great help to the team with Clint Capela missing.
Austin Rivers is another acquisition that has contributed in defense and scoring off the bench. Chris Paul is back on the court, and his influence is already being felt. But even with Paul’s return, the Rockets are all about James Harden.
What a season he’s having! I can’t even remember the last game in which he didn’t score at least 30. The Beard is the real deal, and I won’t be surprised if he wins another MVP award. We keep saying that his record is not sustainable, but he keeps proving us wrong.
Mavericks vs. Rockets Predictions and Pick
I know there’s much hype around the Mavericks after the Porzingis trade, but with the way Harden is playing, they might not have much joy in this game.
With DeAndre Jordan gone, Luka Doncic will rely on protection by young duo Maxi Kleber and Dwight Powell, which may not work the same way. I expect the Mavs will give it a good go but ultimately fall to Harden’s monstrous form and Chris Paul’s creativity on the court.
As I already pointed out, Luka Doncic led the Mavs to a huge victory against the Blazers, whereas the Rockets fell to the Thunder despite another ridiculous performance from James Harden. I still think that Houston will get the win, but am surprised to see such a high spread.
That’s why I think I’ll be going with Dallas to cover it, so “Go, go, Luka!”
Brooklyn Nets vs. Toronto Raptors Preview
The Nets will be traveling to Toronto in an attempt to subdue the mighty Raptors. Brooklyn has been very good this season and an example of how a basketball franchise should be run. Will it be enough, though?
Brooklyn vs.Toronto Odds
The Nets didn’t do much during the trade window, but they did conduct some smart business with their opponents on Monday, the Toronto Raptors. Brooklyn sent cash considerations to the Raptors in exchange for center Greg Monroe and a 2021 second-round draft pick.
Monroe was then placed on waivers. It’s another example of how prudently the franchise is being run since GM Sean Marks took over. They now have 18 picks in the next eight drafts to go with an exciting young team.
D’Angelo Russell has earned a place in the All-Star game, and players like Spencer Dinwiddie and CarisLeVert have had a very solid season, despite their injuries. The team is currently sixth in the Eastern Conference and is comfortably maintaining their win-loss ratio above .500.
Toronto decided to move Monroe because they were able to wrap up a deal for Marc Gasol. The trade sent Jonas Valanciunas, C.J. Miles, and Delon Wright to Memphis. It was inevitable that the Raptors would want some reinforcements given the fact that the 76ers and the Bucks strengthened their rosters substantially.
Going for Gasol makes perfect sense. He’s a veteran of the league and will offer a big presence on the court. Despite being 34, he is averaging 15.7 points and 8.6 rebounds this season. He’s also a very good passer, which will complement the styles of Kawhi Leonard and Kyle Lowry even further.
Nets vs. Raptors Betting Prediction and Pick
As much as I love the Nets, I can’t see them winning this one. The Raptors have the home court advantage, where they have been ruthless this season. They are the far better team, and I believe the Nets are shrewd enough to pick their fights well until the end of the season.
Even if coach Nurse decides to rest a few players, I still expect his team to come away with the win.
Given that some of the best shooters on both teams are not hitting peak form, plus Dinwiddie is out for the Nets, I would go for a low-scoring game here. It represents the best value in my view.
That concludes my betting preview for the Monday night NBA games this week. If you’re reading this early, remember to check back for my updates on the odds, news, and results.
And make sure you check out the rest of our blog, too. There’s a ton of interesting posts for fans of sports betting and other forms of gambling.
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Portland Trail Blazers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder Predictions With Odds and Picks for Other Monday NBA GamesFebruary 11, 2019