Originally posted on NESN.com  |  Last updated 3/6/13
Fresh off of victories over the Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers this week, the Western Conference favorite Oklahoma City Thunder will set their sights east on the Boston Celtics. Can the Thunder continue to show why, despite trailing the San Antonio Spurs in the standings,they are favored to win the conference on the NBA betting line? With the superstar duo of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook firing on all cylinders heading into the final stretch of the season, it’s not hard to see why the Thunder have generated such optimism from fans and oddsmakers alike. Their 3-1 odds on the NBA futures trail only the reigning champion Miami Heat. Against the Celtics on Sunday, OKC will hope to knock off yet another esteemed playoff contender. While Boston may not be as formidable as they were five years ago, their play in the absence of point guard Rajon Rondo has confirmed that they have at least some veteran gas left in the tank. In the matinee matchup, greybeards Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce will look to outgun Durant and Westbrook for the second time this season. While it sounds unlikely, especially considering the game will take place in Oklahoma, so did the notion that the C’s would escalate their game when their star player was sidelined with a long-term injury in the first place. Now, health and age concerns accounted for, Boston remains an Eastern Conference threat. With space to advance up the standings, they now have 30-1 odds of winning the NBA championship. Considering that the Celtics also won their only meeting against Oklahoma City earlier this season, it’s not out of the question to predict that they’ll do it again. The interconference clash also serves as an opportunity for Boston forward Jeff Green to return to the place in which he debuted back in 2007 — sort of. While Green was technically drafted alongside Durant back when the franchise was located in Seattle, it was in Oklahoma from 2008-2011 that he truly blossomed into a legitimate professional-level contributor. Might the return to his former stomping grounds trigger a big game out of the 26 year old? Regardless, with the postseason fast approaching, neither Boston nor Oklahoma City can afford to give away opportunities to fortify their places in their respective standings. This is the type of balanced matchup that pushes NBA betting to the next level. Get NBA odds for the playoff race at Bovada.

This article first appeared on NESN.com and was syndicated with permission.

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