Thunder vs Warriors Prediction, Picks | Best Bet for Thursday
Chet Holmgren #7 of the Oklahoma City Thunder dribbles the ball during the game against the Golden State Warriors during the In-Season Tournament. (Photo by Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images)
Thunder vs Warriors Prediction, Picks for Thursday, Nov. 16
Here's everything you need to know about Thunder vs Warriors on Thursday, Nov. 16 — our expert prediction and betting picks for today.
The Warriors are reeling. They've lost four straight games and two key starters in the process. Now, with the deck stacked against them, they'll host the upstart Thunder, who have won four of their last five and are a sparkling 3-1 away from home this season.
Will the Warriors manage to find what they need for a long-awaited win, or will it be the Thunder's night? Let's get to our Thunder vs. Warriors prediction and pick.
Thunder vs Warriors Prediction
As I alluded to earlier, the Warriors will be without two big names here. The first is Draymond Green, who was recently suspended for a his viral chokehold on Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert. The other is Steph Curry, who missed that game against the Timberwolves with a knee issue.
Without the two of them on Tuesday against Minnesota, and with Klay Thompson earning an ejection, the offense cratered. Golden State mustered up just 103.1 points per 100 possessions in a three-point loss, but the silver lining was that this team once again hunkered down on the defensive end.
Golden State ranks ninth in efficiency on the defensive end, and when Green is not on the floor, the effect has been felt on the offensive side. So, with the Thunder sitting two spots ahead of the Warriors defensively, I think this will be a low-scoring affair. I do expect the Thunder to prevail in a scenario with the Warriors' depth largely unproven, but it should be close.
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Oklahoma City is riding high at the moment, coming off two giant wins over the Suns and Spurs in the past week. As noted earlier, they're knocking on the door of the top five in defensive efficiency and offensively have been a top-10 group as well. They're sixth in the league in expected wins according to Cleaning the Glass and fifth in points per play in the halfcourt.
The continued growth of a special backcourt consisting of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey combined with the introduction of Chet Holmgren has made this team incredibly hard to stop on the offensive end. They've played incredibly fast, ranking fourth in Pace, and they've gotten most of their work done inside, ranking inside the top five in shot frequency at the rim. Even with that, though, the Thunder have the sixth-highest success rate from three through 11 games.
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The Warriors have been on the opposite end of the spectrum offensively. As has been the case in years past, the Warriors have been one of the most trigger-happy teams in the league from three, but they rank just 21st from deep at just 34.8% this year. Missing Curry here certainly won't help their cause, nor will the fact that the Thunder rank fourth against the three-ball according to Cleaning the Glass.
One impressive number for Golden State through its first 12 games has been its 51.7% rebounding rate, which ranks eighth in the NBA. This was not an area where the Warriors thrived a year ago, and they've also had to deal with Green being in and out of the lineup a few times this season. Credit should go to Kevon Looney for doing a quite thankless job, and it's worth pointing out that the Warriors rank top 10 in the league when it comes to defense at the rim.
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Thunder vs Warriors Picks, Odds
Despite the fact that the loss of Green hasn't been felt in a huge way defensively given the early returns without him, this matchup is really going to test the Warriors' frontcourt without their defensive anchor. While the Thunder do have excellent size and Holmgren has been dominant at the rim, they're still shooting right around the league average inside of four feet at 65.5%.
A key factor here, too, is the Thunder's poor performance in the rebounding department, where they rank just 28th in the early going of the season.
The Warriors' rebounding numbers have dipped marginally without Green on the floor this year, but they're still grabbing 51.2% of available boards when the veteran has been on the bench. With so much action at the rim, I do think it's worth taking the points here with Golden State given it has been significantly better on the glass and around 1.5 percentage points better at defending the rim than its counterparts.
This should be a slow game decided by defense, and I trust the Warriors more than the Thunder in such a game. They're a whopping 4-1 against the spread as underdogs this year and 1-0 ATS as home dogs.
Pick: Warriors +3.5 (-115)
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