Wizards vs. Thunder Odds & Pick (Sunday, August 9): How to Profit Off Washington’s Terrible Defense
Joe Murphy/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Wizards vs. Thunder Betting Odds
Looking for Monday’s Thunder game? Click here.
|Wizards odds||+9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Thunder odds||-9.5 [BET NOW]|
|Moneyline||+360/-460 [BET NOW]|
|Over/Under||224 [BET NOW]|
|Time||12:30 p.m. ET|
The Washington Wizards face off against the Oklahoma City Thunder at 12:30 p.m. ET in the first of seven Sunday NBA games.
The Wizards have struggled in the seeding round in Orlando as they have lost all five of their games by between eight and 13 points without their top three players — Bradley Beal, John Wall and Davis Bertans — in the bubble.
While the Wizards were eliminated from playoff contention on Friday, the Thunder are still in the thick of a clogged Western Conference. They enter Sunday tied with the Jazz for the 5-seed, just a game behind the Rockets in fourth and two games ahead of the Mavericks in seventh.
Where is the betting value in this matchup? Let’s break it down.
Shabazz Napier was the lone Wizard in the bubble on Saturday’s injury report. He is listed as probable for Sunday’s action due to a sprained right ankle. Napier, along with Ish Smith, is one of two players older than 23 consistently in the Wizards’ rotation.
The Wizards are just 1-4 ATS in the bubble and own the worst Net Rating among all 22 teams at -9.9. The Wizards also remain dead last in points allowed per possession this season and have allowed the second-most points per possession among all NBA teams dating back to 1996 (when the league began tracking per-possession statistics).
Although they have been eliminated from postseason contention, the Wizards are still plenty motivated as many of these young players are competing for bigger roles on the team in 2021 while also showcasing their talents to other NBA teams.
Thomas Bryant is one of the young Wizards to stand out in the bubble. The center has averaged 20.2 points and 9.8 rebounds while shooting 53/40/70. He also has shown some progress on the defensive end, as he gained valuable experience guarding the best center in the league, Joel Embiid, on Wednesday.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder will be without two key contributors Sunday: Sixth Man of the Year candidate Dennis Schroeder (birth of child) and Steven Adams (lower leg) both won’t play.
The Thunder have had an up-and-down bubble, alternating wins and losses. Most recently, they lost an overtime thriller on Monday against the Nuggets and then impressed against the Lakers, holding L.A. to a season-low 86 points in a win on Wednesday.
They followed that performance with a quick start against a Grizzlies team that was winless in the bubble by racing out to a 37-19 lead. However, the Grizzlies stormed back to take the lead in the second quarter and blew out the Thunder, 121-92.
OKC was without two of its top three centers in the loss to the Grizzlies with Adams and Mike Muscala out, but Muscala will be back in the rotation on Sunday. This is important because the only other center on the roster, Nerlens Noel, is a decent rim protecter but also has an extremely high foul rate.
Wizards vs. Thunder Pick
Although the Wizards have been battling hard in the bubble, they are simply overmatched. They were already terrible defensively coming into Orlando and losing several of their most talented players hasn’t helped.
Coach Scott Brooks has identified two main aspects where his Wizards must improve: staying in front of the ball and rim protection.
Bryant has made considerable strides, but on the season, opponents have shot 61% against him on contested layups and dunks (25th among 30 qualified centers who have challenged as many shots as him).
These defensive deficiencies for the Wizards play right into Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s hands. The Thunder guard not only has a crafty set of tools to get by defenders on the perimeter (crossovers, spins, hesitation moves, euro-steps, etc), but he also has incredible body control and elite length for his position which makes him a lethal finisher around the rim.
With Schroeder out as the backup point guard, SGA will have more opportunities than normal at the point against the Wizards’ poor on-ball defense. Furthermore, expect Chris Paul to operate with ease against and set up some wide open looks for Gilgeous-Alexander.
After SGA posted one of his worst offensive outings of the season on Friday, we’re getting pretty good value on Gilgeous-Alexander’s points prop against this porous Wizards defense.
For my money, the best value pick is a Same-Game Parlay at FanDuel: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Over 20.5 points + the Oklahoma City Moneyline (+130 odds). Our Labs NBA Insiders tool has SGA projected to score 23.2 points at the time of writing..
If you have a higher risk appetite, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander 25+Pts/Oklahoma City To Win +310 is also a good value.
The Pick: Parlay of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Over 20.5 points and Oklahoma City To Win (+130 odds)