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New Orleans Hornets vs. OKC Thunder Free NBA Pick (Feb. 17)

Durant is for Real – New Orleans at Oklahoma City

BetUS NBA Basketball Betting Odds: NEW ORLEANS -3.5, Total 195

Here are some of the NBA pro basketball sports betting trends as they relate to this matchup:

* NO has lost six of its last eight games SU
* NO has covered two of its last eight games* NO has played five of its last seven games OVER the total
* NO has covered one of its last five road games
* NO has lost four of its last five road games SU
* NO has played six of its last nine road games OVER the total
* OKC has covered two of its last seven games
* OKC has lost five of its last seven games SU
* OKC has covered 12 of its last 15 home games
* OKC has won four of its last five home games SU
* OKC has played four of its last six home games OVER the total

Also…

* NO has covered four of the last six meetings
* NO has won the last seven meetings SU
* OKC has won six of the last nine meetings SU as the home team
* NO has had the shooting edge in each of the last six meetings
* NO has made more three-pointers in each of the last four meetings

An interesting angle in this game, as the Hornets sought refuge in Oklahoma City during the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina, which laid the groundwork for the NBA to come there on a full-time basis. New Orleans sure made itself right at home when they visited the Sooner State back on November 21, as they scored a 105-80 laugher at the Ford Center, then in the quick turnaround, won by 12 points in the Crescent City. Let’s quickly recount what was happening at that time. After the 25-point loss to the Hornets, which had followed a debilitating 20-point loss to the Clippers, coach P.J. Carlesimo was given his walking papers (as was assistant Paul Westhead), and Scott Brooks took over the team on an interim basis.

The Thunder then shot 53% from the field in the second of that back-to-back, and has been making progress since. Oklahoma City has generally been able to grab the money for its backers (32-21 ATS), and that is a combination of the oddsmaker under-valuing them, as well as the fact that they play hard. Unless we’re mistaken, Brooks has not had the label “interim” removed from his title, although we thing it is completely appropriate at this point.

New Orleans played poorly in its two games going into the break, scoring a total of 80 points against defenseless Memphis and 77 against defensively-stout Boston. Chris Paul came back to action against the Celtics after his nagging groin injury, and scored 13 points on 6-for-15 shooting and got to the line only three times in over 31 minutes. Sean Marks has gotten some meaningful playing time in the absence of Tyson Chandler and aside from scoring 18 points against Minnesota on February 8 (his career high), he hasn’t done much offensively.

One guy who has produced is Kevin Durant of the Thunder, who has averaged over 31 points a game over his last ten contests. Durant, who was miffed at being left out of the All-Star Game, is now averaging over 25 points a game and is shooting 48% from the field. Along with the rest of his team, that marks progress. We’re taking the points with Oklahoma City, the 3.5-point underdog in the BetUS NBA betting odds.

Our PLAY: OKLAHOMA CITY +3.5 **

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