Oklahoma City Thunder NBA Win Total Odds & Pick: Will OKC Compete or Tank the Season?
Kent Smith/NBAE via Getty Images. Pictured: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander
Oklahoma City Thunder Win Total Odds
The Case for the Over
This team was 20-27 (a 34-wins-per-82-games pace) at the end of March, with just two months left in the season. Then they finished 2-23 in one of the most impressive tank jobs you will ever see.
They went 16-19 in games Shai Gilgeous-Alexander played last season, at a 37-win pace. They will be pretty good if they just simply don’t sit out every good player on the roster. There’s more talent here than you’d think.
SGA was one of the best point guards, analytically, across several measures last season, including drives and efficiency. He shot 52-41-81. Lu Dort is all-defense and shot 34% from deep last season, a respectable mark.
Kenrich Williams brings a lot to the table. Aleksej Pokusevski either looks like a unicorn or nothing like an NBA player, but he’s a tough, weird matchup when he plays well.
OKC was 11th in defense on March 15th. For a young team, it’s usually the defense that fails you, and that was a legitimate strength. With more talent, including No. 6 overall pick Josh Giddey, if they get the offense to just 20th-25th, that’s probably enough for an over. They’re well-coached with a lot of organizational stability.
OKC can secure a top-three lottery spot and still hit the over here if the rest of the league distributes wins more evenly. A note from my Magic preview: the team with the lowest win total has hit the over in nine of the past 12 seasons.
The Case for the Under
They don’t want to win. That’s it.
Oklahoma City does not do anything lazily or haphazardly. They don’t “see how things go.” Their entire organizational structure is built on patience and direction. Their plan post-Westbrook was for a multi-year rebuild. They did not land a top-three pick in last year’s draft.
Unless Josh Giddey turns out to not only be the best player in the class but a franchise, transcendent player, then the Thunder will return to the lottery with some better luck to land the guy. You can make the argument that SGA is the guy, but even then, he’s going to need another player next to him; he’s not Durant/Westbrook level.
Even if the trend has been for the lowest win totals to go over, that’s not accounting for teams actively seeking to lose.
They have 14 players on roster with less than three years of NBA experience. They have only one player with more than four years of experience (Mike Muscala). There will be G-League teams with more combined years of NBA experience.
The league, in turn, granted their wish to lose with the fourth-toughest schedule in the league, rest-adjusted. They have the second-fewest rest-advantage games, and 12 of their 14 back-to-backs involve a three-games-in-four-nights situation.
Thunder Win Total Bet
If you’re going to bet it, the under is likely the move. There’s just a very high chance OKC bails on the season the way they did last year.
However, even though this roster has fewer guaranteed NBA players than the Magic, I think this is a stay-away. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and good coaching staff is a combination I do not want to bet against 25 wins.
Their division is brutal, their schedule is demanding, their roster is all youngsters, their franchise direction is long-term.
I just think it’s a stay-away.