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NBA-Friday night-Betting preview

Game of the Night: Bucks at Thunder – 8:05 PM EST

It took some time, but Oklahoma City (20-15 SU, 14-21 ATS) is finally putting things together by winning eight of its past nine games. The most recent victory came in Wednesday’s 124-107 home triumph over the Raptors as Paul George led OKC with 33 points, while Russell Westbrook posted a 30-point, 13-assist effort. The Thunder avoided a letdown following Monday’s home win over Houston, while improving to 8-1 in their last nine games at Chesapeake Energy Arena.

The Bucks (18-15 SU, 13-15-5 ATS) have struggled to find consistency all season long as their past 10 games heading into Thursday read like this: win three straight, lose three in a row, win consecutive games, lost back-to-back. The most recent skid included losses to Charlotte and Chicago, as the Bulls handled the Bucks for the second time in an 11-day span, 115-106 as 7 ½-point underdogs. Milwaukee’s 10-game OVER streak came to an end on Thursday as the Bucks rallied past the Wolves, 102-96 to cash as four-point favorites.

When these teams met earlier this season on Halloween night in Milwaukee, the Thunder crushed the Bucks, 110-91 as 2 ½-point favorites. Westbrook compiled a triple-double although he scored only 12 points, while OKC knocked down 12 three-pointers in the victory. The Thunder have captured five of the past six matchups with the Bucks since 2014, while winning four consecutive home meetings.

Grounded Rockets

Houston (25-8 SU, 16-16-1 ATS) led the Celtics by 26 points on Thursday prior to a late meltdown in a 99-98 road defeat, while dropping their fourth consecutive game. The Rockets suffered their first road setback against an Eastern Conference opponent as Houston travels to Washington on the second end of a back-to-back. Houston has won in three of four opportunities with no rest, but has managed a 1-3 ATS record in this situation.

The Wizards (19-16 SU, 17-18 ATS) look to rebound following a surprising loss as six-point favorites at Atlanta on Wednesday, 113-99. Washington dropped to 0-4 ATS the last four games as a road favorite, but the Wizards are 10-3 ATS this season in the role of an underdog. Houston has won in its past four visits to Capital One Arena, all decided by eight points or less.

Blah La Land

The Lakers (11-22 SU, 16-17 ATS) have gone through a cold spell recently by dropping their last four games and seven of their previous eight contests. Luke Walton’s team has lost six straight games at Staples Center, including a 109-99 setback to the struggling Grizzlies on Wednesday as 3 ½-point favorites. The Lakers are a beat-up squad right now, as Brook Lopez and Lonzo Ball are sidelined, while rookie standout Kyle Kuzma is dealing with a quad injury after shooting 4-of-24 from the field on Wednesday.

It’s the third chance for the Lakers to beat the Clippers this season as the two L.A. rivals meet up. The Clippers (14-19 SU, 17-15-1 ATS) have had their way with the Purple and Gold in two victories this season, while staving off the Lakers in late November by five points. Doc Rivers’squad has played better lately by winning three of four games, while forward Blake Griffin hopes to return to the lineup on Friday after missing the last 14 contests with a sprained MCL.

Southwest Streaks

The Mavericks and Pelicans are playing solid basketball as the calendar is nearing a turn to 2018. Dallas (11-25 SU, 17-18-1 ATS) is coming off a pair of consecutive underdog victories over Toronto and Indiana, as the Mavs picked up only their third road win over the season by downing the Pacers on Wednesday, 98-94. Rick Carlisle’s team has allowed less than 100 points in seven of the past 10 games, while cashing the UNDER seven times.

New Orleans (18-16 SU, 19-14-1 ATS) equaled its longest winning streak of the season on Wednesday by capturing its third straight victory in a 128-113 blowout of Brooklyn. Rajon Rondo dished out a career-high 25 assists for the Pelicans, who improved to 5-2 ATS in the last seven contests. New Orleans knocked off Dallas in the first matchup this season at the American Airlines Center, 99-94 as 4 ½-point favorites in early November, only one of two ATS losses in nine division games for the Mavs.

Bulls’ Gold

Who would have thought that the hottest ATS team in the league was once 3-20? Chicago (12-22 SU, 20-13-1 ATS) has covered 11 of its past 12 games, while posting an impressive 9-3 mark in this span. Two of those three losses came at Boston and Cleveland, but the Bulls have taken care of their business at home by winning six straight games at the United Center. The start of this ATS streak came in a 98-96 defeat at Indiana as 10-point underdogs on December 6, as the Bulls squandered a 17-point advantage.

The Pacers (19-16 SU, 20-15 ATS) have slipped up of late by dropping low-scoring affairs to Detroit and Dallas. In Wednesday’s 98-94 defeat to Dallas, leading scorer Victor Oladipo sat out with a sore right knee as he is expected to be sidelined once again on Friday. Indiana seeks its third victory over Chicago this season, while posting a solid 6-3 record in its past nine games away from Bankers Life Fieldhouse.

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