There aren’t many nicknames better than “Durantula”.
This is apt because there may not be a better player in all of basketball than the nickname’s namesake, Kevin Durant.
This is especially true of the Oklahoma City Thunder forward’s January efforts, in which he’s averaging 37 points while contributing almost six rebounds and nearly six assists per game this month.
Durant is coming off a 36-point performance in Wednesday’s 111-105 victory over the San Antonio Spurs, helping the Thunder cover as 6.5-point road underdogs. What’s more, this run is occurring while All–Star running mate Russell Westbrook is on the sidelines following knee surgery.
Needless to say, this incredible string of performances has not gone unnoticed by oddsmakers.
“Durant’s form has obviously been very impressive recently, and I would say that's putting an extra half to whole point on the spread dependent on who they are playing,” says Aron Black of Bet365.com. “Normally, Durant would be worth two to 2.5 points but with Westbrook out I would say he’s affecting the line by 3.5 to four points.”
Durant’s tremendous play has OKC cashing in for loyal bettors in five-straight games, heading into Friday’s game at the Boston Celtics. The Thunder are 8-4 to start January, with a 5-7 Over/Under count.
With many observers talking up Durant’s MVP chances over reigning MVP LeBron James, it seems value in wagering on the former Texas Longhorn to win the Association’s top individual honor may be slipping with every bucket No. 35 makes.
“Durant is currently -200 with us while LeBron is +138,” Black says of the NBA MVP futures odds. “But if Durant carries on as he is, he will go down to about -240 with LeBron at +160. The rest of the market are other name players starting from +1,600. So it’s obviously, bar injury, it’s a two-player race.”