Nuggets vs. Thunder Odds, Picks & Betting Predictions: Is the Betting Market Sleeping on OKC?
Photo credit: Zach Beeker/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Dennis Schroder and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
- The updated betting odds for Friday night's matchup between the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder make OKC a slight home favorite.
- Should the Thunder be an even bigger favorite on their home court?
- Below our experts detail their picks and analysis to help you lock in your bets.
Nuggets at Thunder Picks, Betting Odds & Predictions
- Spread: Thunder -1.5
- Over/Under: 215.5
- Time: 8 p.m. ET
- TV: ESPN
With the All-Star break now over, the West’s best will push towards the playoffs. With teams so bunched together, every game between playoff teams will be meaningful in terms of seeding.
The Nuggets are a game up on the Clippers right now for the second seed, while the Thunder are tied with the Mavericks for those 6/7 spots.
With both teams motivated and rested, which has the advantage tonight in Oklahoma City? Our experts break it all down.
Betting Trends to Know
The Thunder have been the most profitable team against-the-spread this season, going 36-19 (66%) ATS for +15.7 units. However, as favorites OKC is just 12-11 ATS and has failed to cover as chalk in February (0-3 ATS).
In the past seven seasons, only 14 of 210 teams have covered the spread 60% or more of the time before the All-Star break like the Thunder. Those teams went a combined 461-274 (63%) ATS before the break and 186-205 (48%) ATS after. History suggests the Thunder are due for regression. — John Ewing
Sharp Action Report
In Friday primetime and on national television, this game should have no trouble drawing a nice crowd of bettors. And to this point, most of those bettors haven’t had much trouble picking a side.
With the second- and sixth-place teams in the West opening at a pick’em, I bet you can guess which one has attracted the majority of bettors. But you wouldn’t necessarily know that 72% of tickets were landing on Denver by the way this line has moved.
Even with most of their customers taking the Nuggets, oddsmakers have put a minus-sign next to the home team, making the Thunder 1.5-point favorites as of the early afternoon. That should tell you something about the bettors taking OKC.
Sports Insights’ Bet Signals, which track and record instances of market activity caused by sharp action in real-time, have identified six such instances on this matchup. All six have landed on the Thunder spread, confirming the professional backing of the (now) favorites. — Danny Donahue
Sharp angle: Thunder (moved from PK to -1.5)
Mears: How I’m Betting Tonight’s Game
The Thunder have really flown under the radar over the last couple of months. They’ve been one of the best teams in the league in that stretch, ranking sixth in the league in Net Rating since Jan. 1. The Nuggets in that span have been 11th with a +3.0 mark.
Denver’s issue has been on the defensive end of the floor. The Nuggets over the last two months have ranked third offensively, putting up a blazing 116.4 Offensive Rating. The defense, though, has hovered around a bottom-10 unit.
What’s not great is that they’ve allowed high-quality shots consistently. They’ve given up a bunch of 3-pointers and shots at the rim, and opponents have hit those attempts at a top-10 rate since Jan. 1. The Nuggets are getting healthier with Mason Plumlee returning, for example, but the question remains whether that defense can hit a higher gear.
Paul Millsap has been their best defender, but he was out for an extended absence during the start of the new year. The defense with him off the floor has been 8.4 points per 100 possessions worse than with him on. He returned three games ago, but the defense was still bad. To be fair, his minutes were limited, so maybe if those increase and the Nuggets get chemistry back after so many injuries, things will improve.
But that’s a tough ask against a Thunder team that has been great and apparently continues to be the most undervalued team in the market. They were undervalued from a win totals perspective, and they’ve been the best team in the league at covering the spread this year, going 36-19 ATS.
This team is good: The reason why the win total was so low was thoughts that Chris Paul, Danilo Gallinari and Co. would potentially 1) get injured or 2) get traded at the deadline and the team would tank and build around Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and the young guys. They made no moves, however, and this is a very solid team headed towards the playoffs.
At an opening line of a pick’em, that suggested the Nuggets were about 3 points better than the Thunder on a neutral floor. I’m not sure what about the past two months would indicate that’s true. As a result, I think there’s value even at -1/-1.5; a fair line is probably more around -3. I bet the Thunder moneyline at -115 and like that bet, too.
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.