The Thunder and the Trail Blazers both ended the season on a high note, setting the stage for what should be an entertaining first-round series that kicks off Sunday afternoon in Oregon.
The Thunder reeled off five consecutive victories to end the season, avoiding a potential first-round meeting with Denver or Golden State. Portland wound things down with three straight wins to secure the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference.
NBA Playoffs Point Spread and Betting Analysis
The Thunder might be going into Game 1 as the underdog, but they’re installed at -165 to win the series – an intriguing development given that they’re the lower seed. But Oklahoma City dominated the regular-season series, winning all four meetings while covering all four and scoring 120 or more points three times. And while this isn’t the same Portland team as years past, the Blazers are just 7-24-2 ATS in their last 33 first-round games.
On the totals side, both teams come in boasting compelling over trends. The Thunder have gone 3-0-1 to the over in their previous four road games and have converted the over in five straight games following a successful cover. The Trail Blazers have surpassed the total in four consecutive games against Northwest Division opponents and are a red-hot 16-5-1 in favour of the over in their previous 22 games at Moda Center.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder come in as the one team you wouldn’t want to face in the opening round – and they could make life difficult for Portland thanks to the All-Star duo of Russell Westbrook and Paul George. Westbrook averaged a triple-double (22.9 points, 11.1 rebounds, 10.7 assists) for the third consecutive season, while George led the team in scoring at 28.0 points per game. But bettors be wary: George has a shoulder injury and is listed as questionable for Game 1.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers have injury issues of their own – and unlike the Thunder, there’s no chance their star center will return for Sunday’s series opener. Jusuf Nurkic will miss the rest of the season after suffering compound fractures in his left leg that required surgery. The 7-footer was one of Portland’s key players, averaging 15.6 points, 10.4 rebounds and 1.4 blocked shots; he would have matched up against Thunder bruiser Steven Adams.