NBA Win Total Odds & Pick: Are the Oklahoma City Thunder Worth Betting?
Michael Reaves/Getty Images. Pictured: Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Oklahoma City Thunder Win Total Odds
The Case for the Stay Away
Usually, I do cases for the over and under. This number and team is a mess so I’m not going to waste your time making convincing arguments for both. I’m instead going to try and convince you not to bet the Thunder.
Let’s start with the number. Over the last 10 years, 24 is a key number. In the last 10 seasons, teams with a win total between 24 and 28 are 10-5 to the over.
That’s a hyper-specific data point, Matt.
You’re absolutely right. But what it means is that the team isn’t good enough to crack 30 wins and be in the nebulous “not good but not terrible” range. They’re still definitively bad, but the books couldn’t put it so low as to indicate truly tanking.
Let’s look at sub-24. Sub-24 win totals are 7-6 to the under, almost no differential. The common consensus is that the teams expected to be bad will be worse based on the initiative to tank, but 23 is such a low figure it doesn’t consistently work out that way.
The Thunder are right in the middle of those two figures.
But this is an outlier year because Victor Wembanyama and Scoot Henderson are both in this draft.
Yes, this draft is considered better than the previous few drafts. These two would have gone No. 1 and No. 2 in the last three drafts.
However, Zion Williamson would still go No. 1 in this draft. This is not a LeBron James draft. It’s really good, but it’s not even an Anthony Davis draft, arguably. (Some draft folks I talked to said it was close.)
That said … the Thunder are guided by clear directions, and with Chet Holmgren out for the season, the direction is clear. This is the kind of draft that Sam Presti envisioned when he decided to go the perennially rebuilding route. He’s still making moves like trading Derrick Favors for more assets.
OK, so an under, right?
Look, the young talent here is good. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s injury isn’t expected to endure for that long. SGA is a legitimate No. 1 weapon on a young team that hits 30 wins.
Let me put it this way: If the Thunder decided they wanted to win 30 games and Gilgeous-Alexander is healthy for the majority of the season, they could probably do it.
Josh Giddey is good and getting better. Jalen Williams (Santa Clara, as opposed to Jaylin Williams, Arkansas, also on the Thunder) looks like a legit weapon and has been wowing in the preseason workouts and games. This team is really well-coached.
Ha! You’re kidding, right? They lost by 70 in a game last season!
Yes, really. The Thunder are well prepared every night. They know the game plan. Their offense has structure, their defense has principles.
Mark Daigneault is going to be a really good coach for a very long time, either as a head coach or lead assistant. That gives you an advantage and a big reason why the Thunder were the second-best team in the NBA against the spread last season.
OK, so they have talent and coaching. So an over, right?
Nope! Again, OKC has proven they will follow whatever direction they chose to pursue at any cost. Do you know what’s better than Shai, Giddey, Williams, and Holmgren? Shai, Giddey, Williams, Holmgren, and Wembanyama. Or Henderson. Or Arkansas’ Nick Smith or whoever else comes out of the college process.
So an under?!
Nope! Again, this is about the number, not the team. The roster says over, the team organization says under, and the number says to stay away. So if you cancel those two out, we’re left with no choice but to leave it alone.
Do I think OKC will finish with the worst record? No. Will they make the playoffs? I’d be genuinely shocked if they’re a play-in team.
But they’re in the middle, and that’s where the futures odds market has put them.
Save your money, bet on OKC next season.