Bucks-Thunder Betting Guide: Expect a High-Scoring Affair in OKC?

Bucks-Thunder Betting Guide: Expect a High-Scoring Affair in OKC? article feature image

Photo credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Giannis Antetokounmpo

Betting Odds: Milwaukee Bucks at Oklahoma City Thunder

  • Spread: Bucks -1
  • Over/Under: 235
  • Time: 6 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: ESPN

>> All odds as of 3:30 p.m. ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time NBA odds and track your bets

Two of the longest, most-athletic teams will meet today when the 35-12 Bucks visit the 30-18 Thunder.

It’s projected to be a close, high-scoring affair. Where’s the value? Our analysts dive in.

Betting Trends to Know

What a unique spot for the over/under Sunday night between the Thunder and Bucks. Oklahoma City is 16-7 (69.6%) to the over at home this season, the second-most profitable team to the over at home behind just the Rockets.

Since Dec. 1, the over is 9-2 in 11 Thunder home games, covering the total by 7.1 points per game.

Since the Supersonics moved to Oklahoma City in 2008, 16 games have been played in Chesapeake Energy Arena with an over/under of 225 or higher. The over is 12-4, going over the total by 5.1 PPG.

The highest total at Chesapeake Energy Arena was 235 between the Thunder and Pelicans in November this season. — Evan Abrams

Bettors like the over tonight with 65% of tickets and 87% of dollars on the over, pushing the total up from 233 to 235.

When there is a larger percentage of money (at least 10% more) than tickets on the over and the line moves, it has been profitable to follow the line movement and bet the over. — John Ewing

Mears: What’s Wrong With OKC’s Defense?

Over the past month, the Thunder have been pretty disappointing, ranking 16th overall in the NBA with a -0.1 Net Rating (their offense comes in at 13th and their defense 21st).

From the beginning of the year through December, this was perhaps the league’s best defense, allowing just 104.6 points per 100 possessions. They were especially adept at forcing turnovers with their incredible athleticism, easily leading the NBA in that category.

USA Today Sports. Pictured: Russell Westbrook

But since the first of January, their defensive metrics are rough:

  • Defensive Rating: 112.9 (21st in the NBA)
  • eFG% allowed: 54.0% (21st)
  • Turnover rate: 14.5% (12th)
  • Defensive rebound rate: 27.5% (22nd)
  • Free throw rate: 20.9% (19th)

Digging a little deeper, the issue has mostly been rim protection: Over the last month, they’ve allowed the ninth-most shots at the rim and opponents have hit them at a top-seven mark.

Typically, that’s due to allowing transition opportunities, but that’s not the case with the Thunder. They’ve allowed the second-fewest transition opportunities since Jan. 1, and they’re top-five in limiting opportunities off steals and live rebounds.

It’s weird. OKC has allowed a good number of shots at the rim before this down month, but it was great at defending those.

It’s a long season, and perhaps the Thunder are in the midst of a stretch where they’re coasting, but it’s hard to know when they’ll turn the switch back on.

They will, but I’m skeptical it’ll happen tonight against a hot Bucks team that ranks second in the league in shots at the rim and first in field goal percentage on those attempts. I’ll follow the trend above and also bet the over. — Bryan Mears

Editor’s note: The opinions on this game are from the individual writers and are based on their research, analysis and perspective. They are independent of, and may not always match with, the algorithm-driven Best Bets from Sports Insights.