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NBA Predictions: Thunder vs. Nuggets Free Betting Preview

NBA Gambling Online: Oklahoma City Thunder vs Denver Nuggets NBA Lines Preview

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Date/Time: Saturday, April 23, 10:00 PM ET
Venue: Pepsi Center in Denver, CO.
Broadcast: ESPN
Oklahoma City Thunder at Denver Nuggets Betting Lines from Bookmaker
Money Line: Oklahoma City +200, Denver -240
Spread: Denver -5 ½
Over/Under: 205

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After edging out a close Game 1 and then following up with a shellacking in Game 2, the Oklahoma City Thunder look to take a commanding 3-0 lead in their 2011 NBA Western Conference quarterfinal contest against the Denver Nuggets at the Pepsi Center on Saturday night.

The Nuggets meanwhile, will hope they can rebound at home and will get a much-needed boost when guard Arron Afflalo returns from a nagging hamstring injury that has sidelined him in the first two games of the first-round playoff series as well as 13 of the last 18 regular-season games.

Afflalo is one the team’s best defenders and consistent offensive players when healthy, and will be a key ingredient in helping his team on the court in guarding Thunders stars, Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook who went off in Game 1 combing for 72 points.

Meanwhile, Oklahoma City’s All-Star duo got plenty of help from the rest of the Thunder to build a commanding first-half lead and beat the Denver Nuggets 106-89 in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

Durant scored 23 points and Westbrook added 21 while James Harden chipped in with 18 points and Serge Ibaka added 12 points and 12 rebounds. Kendrick Perkins had 11 rebounds as the Thunder tallied a 41-19 edge on the boards by late in the third quarter.

Denver’s Ty Lawson scored 20 points to lead Denver, which could only get as close as 10 in the fourth quarter before Oklahoma City went on a 14-5 run while holding Denver without a basket for three minutes to put the game away.

The Nuggets haven’t seemed to miss the departure of Carmelo Anthony — until now.

Anthony lit up the scoreboard for 35 points in Denver’s only win of the regular season at home. The Thunder dominated the other three games, with the lone loss coming by way of just five points back in mid-January.

While, OKC is likely to lose at least one game in Denver, it’s hard to believe they will drop two in row. However, it wouldn’t surprise me if Oklahoma City sweeps the Nuggets out of the playoffs.

Recent Trends:
OKC are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 road games.
DEN are 9-2-1 ATS in their last 12 home games.
DEN are 36-17-2 ATS in their last 55 games overall.
OKC are 11-4 ATS in the last 15 meetings.
Over is 11-5 in the last 16 meetings in Denver.

Matt’s Free Prediction: Thunder – The Thunder are more than capable of outplaying Denver man-for-man, and are just a far better balanced squad. The Nuggets simply cannot beat OKC without Anthony, which will leave fans wondering if Melo could have taken them to the finals if the franchise had offered him more money to stay in Mile High.

Matt Martz is a sportswriter for the Bakersfield Californian, the Oregonian, Springfield Republican, Sacramento Bee, and the San Diego Union Tribune. I leave handicapping to the pros. Blessed is the gambler who expects nothing, for ye shall not be disappointed.

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