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Thunder Cavaliers Betting Tips – Oklahoma City Motors Into Cleveland Full Of Confidence

Posted by Craig Parsons on 1/31/2013 6:05:53 PM

The Oklahoma City Thunder might encounter the proverbial "bad night at the office," but that seems to be one of the few ways in which they will lose to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday.

Oklahoma City Thunder @ Cleveland Cavaliers – Saturday, February 2      
Online sports betting line: No line

Why Oklahoma City Will Win

Few college football betting experts thought that Louisville would beat Florida in the 2013 Sugar Bowl, and few NBA basketball betting gurus will give Cleveland much of a shot against Oklahoma City on Saturday. Oklahoma City has lost three of its last five, but one has to realize that from Jan. 6 through Jan. 27, the Thunder played 11 road games in a 13-game stretch, an unusually imbalanced period of home and road splits. The fact that Oklahoma City managed to go 9-4 in that rough period speaks to the Thunder's depth, resourcefulness and quality. Not many teams in the league would have been able to do better than Oklahoma City, and maybe no one. (San Antonio is the only team that comes to mind.)

The other thing to point out here is that after this long stretch of road games, Oklahoma City got three full days off (Monday through Wednesday) before playing a home game on Thursday against Memphis. Yes, the Thunder are jetting back onto the road for this contest, but they're still going to have their legs back. Cleveland has a dynamic backcourt that can play the Thunder on even terms, but the Cavaliers lack the low-post presence to keep up with Oklahoma City. The matchup is a bad one for Cleveland.

Why Cleveland Will Win

The best betting reason to take the Cavaliers in this game is that while Oklahoma City is more rested, it is still being jerked around by the NBA schedule maker. The Thunder have spent most of this week at home, but they're being asked to play a single road game in isolation before returning home next week for a three-game homestand. It's human nature for a group of athletes to roll their eyes and bemoan the presence of a poorly scheduled road game.

The Thunder are a superior team when pitted against Cleveland, but they could view this game as a chore and a burden, something to get out of the way. The Cavaliers, on the other hand, are going to view this game as an opportunity to shine, a forum in which they can prove something about themselves. Cleveland is going to be the more motivated team in this matchup, and motivation can trump talent at times.

If Kyrie Irving can outplay Russell Westbrook at the point and post 40 points, the Cavaliers can ride that kind of performance and pull off the upset on their home floor. The scenario exists for Cleveland in this contest. Playing an A-game will put the Cavs in the conversation for sure.

Who Will Win

Ultimately, the mismatch in the paint between Cleveland's low-post players and Oklahoma City's big men is what should prevent a bettor from picking the upset. Even with the Cavaliers' high level of motivation, they're not going to be able to hang with the Thunder near the rim.

NBA Basketball Betting Pick: Oklahoma City

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