Thunder Will Keep It Close With Nuggets Thursday: BET OKC ATS

A couple of 4-3 teams matchup Thursday when the Denver Nuggets visit the Oklahoma City Thunder at Paycom Center for an 8 p.m. ET tip-off.

OKC stormed back from a double-digit deficit to beat the Orlando Magic 116-108 at home Tuesday, covering as 3.5-point favorites. The Thunder are 6-1 against the spread (ATS) entering Thursday.

Denver is 3-4 ATS on the other hand and was upset 121-110 by the lowly Los Angeles Lakers as 2.5-point road underdogs Sunday.

The Oklahoma City Thunder's defense collapses on Denver Nuggets 2-time MVP Nikola Jokic at Ball Arena in Denver.
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s defense collapses on Denver Nuggets 2-time MVP Nikola Jokic at Ball Arena in Denver. (Justin Tafoya/Getty Images)

The Nuggets beat the Thunder 122-117 in Denver on Oct. 22 but failed to cover as 9-point underdogs. Oddsmakers adjusted to this matchup and have lowered Denver’s spread by 2.5 points from the 1st meeting with OKC.

However, I don’t think the correction is large enough because the Thunder’s aggressiveness will frustrate the Nuggets.

Betting Details (DraftKings)

  • Moneyline: Nuggets (-250), Thunder (+210)
  • ATS: Nuggets -6.5 (-110), THUNDER +6.5 (-110)
  • Total (O/U) — 228.5 — O: -110, U: -110

OKC will win the turnover battle

Per CleaningTheGlass.com (CTG), which removes garbage time from its stat tracking, the Thunder have the 3rd-best adjusted offensive turnover rate (TOV%) and best adjusted defensive TOV%.

OKC does a good job converting turnovers into points (1st in points off of turnovers per game). But, Denver doesn’t get back on D when turning it over (20th in points off of turnovers per game allowed).

This is a spot where the Nuggets using C Nikola Jokic as their primary ball handler could backfire. If Jokic tries to dribble through traffic, the Thunder are going to pick his pocket.

The Thunder attack the basket

OKC leads the NBA in drives per game and attempts the 7th-highest volume of field goals at the rim, per CTG. Also, the Thunder average the 4th-most paint points per game (PPG).

Even though Jokic is an underrated defender, Denver has a weak interior defense. The Nuggets are 20th in paint PPG allowed and are 27th in defensive field goal percentage vs. attempts at the rim, per CTG.

Oklahoma City Thunder Shai Gilgeous-Alexander driving to the cup against the Orlando Magic at Paycom Arena in Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City Thunder Shai Gilgeous-Alexander driving to the cup against the Orlando Magic at Paycom Arena in Oklahoma City. (Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images)

Furthermore, Thunder PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (SGA) is playing at an All-NBA-caliber and is going to blow past Nuggets PG Jamal Murray all game.

SGA is 4th in PPG (31.5) on 51.8% shooting, 4th in PER, and 5th in Win Shares per 48 Minutes. The Thunder are +26.2 points per 100 possessions when SGA is on the floor, according to CTG.

OKC is more profitable in these spots

The Thunder are 5-0 ATS vs. the Nuggets in their last five meetings dating back to last season with a +13.0 ATS differential and +2.2 margin of victory.

Since the beginning of 2021, OKC has the best cover rate in the Association (54-31-4 ATS) and is 37-21-1 ATS when spotted 6 or more points.

Lastly, the Nuggets are 10-13 ATS as road favorites since the start of last season and 5-8 ATS as 5-point favorites or greater with a -4.2 ATS differential.

BET: Thunder +6.5 (-110) at DraftKings Sportsbook, down to +5.5

The Oklahoma City Thunder's odds vs. the Denver Nuggets courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook as of Thursday, November 3rd at 1:40 p.m. ET.
The Oklahoma City Thunder’s odds vs. the Denver Nuggets courtesy of DraftKings Sportsbook as of Thursday, November 3rd at 1:40 p.m. ET.

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Written by Geoff Clark

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