Thunder vs. Trail Blazers Game 1 Betting Preview: Value on OKC as a Road Dog?

Thunder vs. Trail Blazers Game 1 Betting Preview: Value on OKC as a Road Dog? article feature image

Mike DiNovo-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard (0).

Game 1 Betting Odds: Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers

  • Spread: Trail Blazers -3.5
  • Over/Under: 225.5
  • Time: 3:30 p.m. ET
  • TV Channel: ABC/ESPN

>> All odds as of noon ET. Download The Action Network App to get real-time odds and live win probabilities on your bets.

The higher-seeded Blazers are underdogs in the series but currently 3.5-point favorites in Game 1 over the Thunder. Is there value on the underdog? Our analysts dive in.

Betting Trends to Know

No. 3 seeds are 75-82-4 (47.8%) ATS in the first series of the playoffs since 2005 and have struggled against division opponents, going 15-25-2 (37.5%) ATS. — John Ewing

More than 60% of spread tickets are on OKC. Since 2005, it has been profitable to bet contrarian favorites like the Blazers in the playoffs. Favorites receiving 45% or fewer of the bets have gone 162-124-9 (57%) ATS in the postseason. — Ewing

Thunder faced the Blazers four times this season, going 4-0 straight up and against the spread, covering the spread by 5.5 points per game. — Evan Abrams

Mears: How I’m Handicapping This Game

This line of Blazers -3.5 suggests they’re slightly better than the Thunder (or even if you think home court is worth 3.5 points) on a neutral court. I’m just not sure why that would be the case, for two reasons.

First, the Thunder are just a brutal matchup for the Blazers. They won all four regular-season games this year, posting a +6.1 Net Rating in the process. They held the Blazers to just 106.6 points per 100 possessions, and they’ll likely have defensive success again in the playoffs.

The Blazers love to run pick-and-rolls with Damian Lillard, and the Thunder are one of the best teams defensively against those sets. They have awesome defenders like Paul George to throw at him, and the length of guys like Terrence Ferguson and Jerami Grant should bother the other players, especially CJ McCollum, who still might not be 100 percent healthy.

And the second reason is that the Blazers are much worse with Jusuf Nurkic off the floor. With him out of the game, they’ve been a ridiculous 12.0 points per 100 possessions worse; that’s one of the highest marks for a player in the entire league. Some might think they’ve been fine without him since his injury — they went 7-2 after he went down — but literally all seven wins came against non-playoff teams or playoff teams resting starters.

Thus, this line is just off, and I think OKC +3.5 is perhaps the strongest bet of the day. I’ll also be looking at the under in this game, partly because I think the Blazers will struggle to score in this one but also because of a notable trend (courtesy of Bet Labs). Over/unders not getting public support in certain situations have been very valuable in the playoffs:

The under of 225 matches for this trend, as it’s getting just 34% of the bets and 35% of the money. I’ll fade the public and roll with the under, as well as OKC +3.5.

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.