February 28th 2014 - Posted 05:00 PM Eastern Time
Sports Profit System is finishing February on an impressive 12-3 streak in the last 15 picks thanks to yet another blowout winner last night!
It's been a great month and double digit profit is now guarranteed regardless of what happens tonight. Nonetheless, our goal is to finish the month with 15 units of profit of course and winning tonight's pick would ensure that.
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Take Memphis Grizzlies at +6.5 spread against Oklahoma City Thunder risking 2%
Who would have thought that Oklahoma City would be coming into this game on a 3-game (home) losing streak? A lot is being made about the Thunder's recent struggles coinciding with the return of PG Russell Westbrook and while that might not be the only factor, the fact remains that some expected the Thunder to struggle in the short term once Westbrook returned (present company included) and that is exactly what has happened. The OKC Thunder are however an elite team and their difficulties are not going to last the rest of the season. Eventually they will figure things out and Westbrook will once again return to the form he was prior to his injury; that is inevitable. We just don't think that will be tonight.
What has really hurt the Thunder recently has been their defense, or lack-there-of. They have been getting killed by opposing offenses and have allowed a lot more second chance opportunities than they had previously this season. Not being able to create turnovers or get stops has been their main weakness. Even a team as offensively challenged as the Cleveland Cavaliers were able to score 115 points against OKC, on the road! Problems may again be posted tonight as they take on a Memphis Grizzlies team that plays a methodical style of basketball that has thrived on slowing a game down and taking advantage of each and every possession. While they are unlikely to score 115 points tonight, if they are hitting high percentage shots, it could again spell trouble for the Thunder.
These two teams know each other rather well and have started to form a modern rivalry in recent years. Knowing another team well and their tendencies often times results in tight back and forth games. Those are exactly the types of matchups that OKC and Memphis have had in recent years including last year's Western conference semi-final playoffs which the Grizzlies won. Over the last 3 seasons, the series meeting have been nearly dead even with the Grizzlies owning an 8-7 SU advantage. At the betting window however it has been a different story. The Grizzlies have dominated at the ticket window going an impressive 10-5 ATS in the 15 meetings over the last 3 seasons and an even more impressive 6-2 ATS when playing in Oklahoma City! Given the fairly high spread of tonight's game, this could be the Grizzlies chance to cover yet another game against the Thunder.
The Grizzlies had struggled in the early part of the season but that was in part due to injuries and they have been looking like their dominant selves from last year. They are finally healthy with Marc Gasol coming back from injury and recently the Grizzlies received a boost from both Tony Allen and Mike Conley coming back as well. Conley and Allen are two of the best defensive guards in the entire league and Memphis has become one of the top teams when it comes to creating turnovers. Conley and Allen are like modern day pick-pockets when it comes to the basketball, they cause disruption and have busy hands on each and every possession. With Westbrook coming back and being just a bit "rusty" with his ball-handling skills, we wouldn't be surprised to see him turn the ball over a few times tonight.
When the Grizzlies have been at full strength they are an incredibly tough team to beat and are a legitimate threat to win each time they step out on the court.
They have been even more dangerous in the underdog role, going an incredible 9-1 ATS in their last 10 games when listed as the underdogs! The Grizzlies will also have somewhat of an advantage down low tonight as Kendrick Perkins will once again be misssing from action for the Thunder. While Perkins doesn't put up fancy numbers, he is a dominating presence around the glass and does a lot for this team that can't be recorded on the stat sheet. The Thunder have been struggling on the defensive end and missing Perkins may well have something to do with it.
Historically when the Grizzlies and Thunder have squared off they have produced some low scoring games typically decided in the high 80, low 90's range. Very rarely have we seen either team break 100 points in this recent rivalry and that is what we believe it is going to take for the Thunder to cover this big number. As we stated earlier, the Thunder have a number of issues that need to be addressed, but their losing ways will not go on forever and they are getting better. That being said, in what has been such a close, back and forth series between two top teams, we find it hard to believe that the Thunder will dominate a defensively tough Memphis team that has proven resillient. Memphis has won 5 of their last 6 games and is a great rebounding team like the Cavaliers. In a game that could arguably even go either way and may come down to the final couple possessions, we feel taking the points is the best option. Take Memphis with the generous points.
Other notable facts to consider:
- Memphis is 5-2 ATS as a road underdog of 3.5 to 6 points this season. (They are 4-3 SU)
Road underdogs looking to avenge a previous loss are 75-62-3 ATS this NBA season!
- Memphis is 6-3 ATS against Northwest division opponents this season.
The Memphis defense has allowed just 85 points per game since January 5th ranking #1 in the league in this span!
- Oklahoma City is 2-6 ATS in its last 8 games when playing Memphis.
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