A couple of fringe contenders representing different conferences will square off in the nation’s capital today. The 30-20 Oklahoma City Thunder will look to extend an eight-game winning streak as they face the 27-22 Washington Wizards (7pm ET Tuesday).
Oklahoma City’s offense has been great recently, and the team is also starting to rediscover its stingy defense of the early part of the season. However, losing starting swingman Andre Roberson will hurt its defense.
The Wizards have recently lost John Wall to a minor knee injury, and he is doubtful to play in today’s game. Washington continues to be very inconsistent and has not put together a winning or losing streak of more than two games in the past month.
Will the Thunder continue their winning ways against an unpredictable Washington squad? Let’s break down all the main factors and then give this preview’s betting predictions and our picks of the USA betting lines on this game.
Is Marcin Gortat Good Enough to Contend With Steven Adams?
It really can’t be overstated how good of an offensive rebounder Adams is. After 10 offensive rebounds against the Philadelphia 76ers on Sunday, the Thunder center is now averaging 5.2 offensive rebounds per game, most in the NBA.
When the Thunder and Wizards met last week, the matchup between Adams and Gortat was a bloodbath. Adams had seven offensive rebounds (10 total) while scoring 12 points on 5-of-7 shooting. Meanwhile, Gortat had a mere four points and one rebound in 21 minutes, to go with three turnovers and five fouls.
Unfortunately for Washington, Gortat is probably the team’s best option to match up with Adams. Ian Mahinmi is weak offensively and gets into foul trouble too easily. Can Gortat do a better job this time around?
What Adjustments Will the Thunder Make With Andre Roberson Out?
Roberson suffered a torn patellar tendon against the Detroit Pistons on Saturday. The injury will sideline him for the rest of the season.
While Roberson is a liability on offense, he is the best defender on the Thunder roster. He would often take on the opponent’s best offensive wing and make life very difficult for him.
In this game, he probably would have covered Bradley Beal for much of the game and spent some time on Otto Porter. How will the Thunder make up for his loss? They have some solid defensive pieces on the bench, but none of them are nearly as impactful as Roberson.
If OKC can find someone (or a group of players) who can adequately simulate Roberson’s defensive impact while not being an offensive liability, the Thunder will have the upper hand today.
Can Kelly Oubre Continue His Strong Play Off the Bench?
In the past few years, Washington has struggled with bench production. The Wizards could hardly ever play lineups with mostly reserves on the floor without losing leads of falling further behind in the game.
This year has been a pleasant surprise on the bench front. Washington’s players off the pine have been merely average relative to the rest of the league. Kelly Oubre, Mike Scott and Tomas Satoransky are three reserves who have been really strong this season.
Oubre, in particular, is really figuring things out in his third season. He has upped his scoring from 6.3 to 12.1 points per game from last year to this year with a huge increase in efficiency. In his last 10 contests, he has averaged 14.5 points per game on 45.3 percent shooting from three-point range.
OKC doesn’t really have a bench player of Oubre’s offensive skill and consistency. Can the young swingman continue to play well, though?
Our Preview’s OKC vs. Washington Betting Picks & Predictions
OKC is just on a roll right now. The Thunder offense has found consistency with great production from Russell Westbrook, Paul George, Carmelo Anthony and Steven Adams. Washington doesn’t have that many weapons capable of going off.
While the Thunder won’t have Roberson, Washington not having John Wall will be the bigger factor here, even though it’s a home game for the Wizards.
This is how our OKC vs Washing predictions look:
- Oklahoma City is favored by 3 or 3.5 points at every betting site. You should bet on the Thunder -3pts @ -110 with Bookmaker.
- In games where Roberson has not played this season, the Thunder and their opponents have totaled an average of 214 points per game. In games that Wall has missed, the Wizards and their opponents have averaged 205.8 points per game. 219 to 220pts seems high, so you should bet under 220 @ -110 with Bookmaker.
Jared is a lifelong sports fan and writer whose specialist subject is NBA. A 2015 graduate of Indiana Wesleyan University, with a bachelor’s degree in journalism, Jared has been a sought-after freelance sports writer. In addition to his valuable USA Betting contributions, he has also written for other top media outlets.