Thunder favoured to extend Sixers epic losing streak
Daniel Coyle, American Sports Correspondent | November 13, 2015
Philadelphia 76ers continue the search for their first win of the new NBA season, and an end to an 18-game overall losing streak, when they visit Oklahoma City Thunder on Friday night as heavy 13.5-point underdogs.
The Sixers have lost eight straight to kick off the NBA campaign, continuing the run of futility that saw them lose 10 straight down the stretch this past spring, and have now endured losing streaks of at least 17 games on three occasions in the last two years.
Not only has Philly struggled to find the win column, they have also been consistently beaten by wide margins, losing by 16 or more points on four occasions, and by an average margin of 13.6 points this season.
However, the club has managed to eke out three wins against the spread in the early going, but travel to OKC as a double-digit underdog for the fifth time in their last nine.
The Sixers also rank at or near the bottom of most team statistical categories, averaging just 92.9 points per game while being outscored by a league-worst 109 total points.
Can you hear the Thunder?
Conversely, the Thunder ride a two-game SU and ATS win streak, and are off to a respectable 5-3 SU start following a year of struggle last season.
OKC has averaged 124.5 points per game in their two recent wins, routing Phoenix Suns and Washington Wizards by 21 and 24 points, respectively.
But the Thunder will be without star small forward Kevin Durant, who is once again sidelined with injury after missing 55 games last season due to a variety of ailments.
The 2014 NBA MVP is only expected to miss 7-10 days with what is described as a strained left hamstring, but it is important to note that the club was a very ordinary 27-28 without him in the lineup last season.
With or without Durant, the Thunder have dominated Philadelphia in recent years, winning their last 12 meetings, but failed to cover as double-digit favourites in two dates last season.
Cavs to nix Knicks
Cleveland Cavaliers, meanwhile, will look to extend their early lead atop the Eastern Conference standings when they visit New York Knicks on Friday as 6.5-point favourites.
The Cavs have won seven straight since, but have been an unreliable bet, losing five straight ATS, and are 1-7 ATS in their last eight when favoured by five or more points.
The Knicks have shown improvement early on following last year’s brutal 17-win campaign, winning two of their last three, SU and ATS, and are a solid 12-7 ATS in their last 19 overall.
New York has lost four of five to the Cavaliers, but have rewarded punters by covering big spreads in three of their last four against Cleveland.
Golden State can close on Cleveland
In other NBA betting action, Golden State Warriors will once again try to close the gap on Cleveland in the NBA futures betting, when they vie for their 11th straight win on Saturday night against the woeful Brooklyn Nets.
The undefeated Warriors have dominated early on, winning eight of their first 10 by double-digit margins, but continue to trail the Cavaliers, who remain perched as 11/4 NBA championship favourites.
GSW sits as a close second at 3/1, followed by San Antonio Spurs at 7/2, and the Thunder at 7/1.
Atlanta Hawks continue to trail at 28/1, yet to earn oddsmaker respect despite their strong 8-2 record, but can make a case for climbing the odds when they visit the Boston Celtics on Friday night as 0.5-point underdogs.
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