The Oklahoma City Thunder is a team with a roster designed for the long term. Accordingly, General Manager Sam Presti’s strategy has been to sing talented young people with great potential. This has led to the arrival of players such as Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey, Lu Dort, and Aleksej Pokusevski, among others.
Consequently, the most optimistic predictions place this team among the candidates for the play-in tournament. In other words, the Thunder has practically no chance of being among the top 6 teams in the (fiercely contested) Western Conference that get a direct pass to the playoffs. It ranked as one of the worst teams in the league in the last few seasons.
Can the Thunder Win The NBA?
Talk of an NBA title in the Oklahoma City Thunder betting is not an honest or realistic statement. According to sources like Bet365 and Betway, the NBA Championship Odds place this team in 27th place (+50,000). Only Houston Rockets and San Antonio Spurs have worse prospects in the entire league.
The Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Miami Heat are on the opposite side of the betting rankings. Additionally, the recovery of Kawhi Leonard has brought the LA Clippers back to the elite of ring contenders. The top 10 bookmakers are completed by Phoenix Suns, Philadelphia 76ers, Denver Nuggets, LA Lakers, and Brooklyn Nets.
Oklahoma City Thunder Best Bets
The Oklahoma team has poor win projections, so the most pragmatic strategy is to bet against them. However, the theory is not so simple as, at first glance, a game against Milwaukee (e.g.) may seem like a sure loss. Rotations, star breaks, and team form come into play (in this case, Antetokoumpo may need some rest).
Oklahoma shares the Northwest Division with Utah Jazz (divisional winner in the 2021-22 regular season), Denver Nuggets, Minnesota Timberwolves, and Portland Trailblazers. They all have stronger squads than the Thunder, so this team cannot be seriously considered a division winner in any reliable prediction.
At the beginning of August 2022, most bookmakers place Denver as the clear divisional winner. The team led by Nikola “the joker” Jokic is followed in the Northwest predictions by Minnesota, Portland, and Utah. Therefore, it is improbable that Oklahoma does not occupy the bottom of the table.
The Golden State Warriors, Phoenix Suns, LA Clippers, and Memphis Grizzlies are the top contenders to win the NBA Western Conference. Of course, Oklahoma doesn’t even accidentally show up on this list. Moreover, it should be noted that the last two NBA champions – the Warriors and Bucks – were not the top seed in their conference in the 2020-21 and 2021-22 seasons (3rd and 4th, respectively).
For this reason, some sports analysts do not always place the conference’s winner during the regular season as the most likely representative in the finals. Even though being the top seed grants a valuable home-field advantage, some coaches prefer their most important players to be in good shape for the playoff.
As with the 2021-22 season, predictions point to Oklahoma having another season with a negative win-loss record. It will be surprising if the Thunder can achieve a better than .330 winning average. Consequently, the most optimistic forecast of the number of victories for this team is no more than 28.
Issuing (and getting right) an NBA champion prediction before the start of the regular season is one of the boldest bets you can make. It is always easier to take risks with this type of bet when the players have already shown their form and the teams have demonstrated their performance.
For these reasons, the teams that appear in the top 3 favorites to win the title are Golden State Warriors, Boston Celtics, and Milwaukee Bucks before the start of the 2022-23 season. Their order varies almost daily due to the trades, exchanges, and additions they have made during the offseason.
Against The Spread Betting (ATS)
Consistent with what was explained in previous paragraphs, Oklahoma will start as an underdog in most of their regular season games. As a result, the Thunder’s ATS is always a positive value and gives the bettor a large profit margin in the event of a win over a contending team.
When might this happen? Oklahoma’s odds of winning against a powerful team (Miami Heat, e.g.) will increase if the Thunder play at home on the weekend and the opponent comes off two or more back-to-back games on the road. In this case, coaches often decide to rest one or two of their superstars. So, this may be one of the games the users prefer to make a risky bet.
Best Oklahoma City Thunder Fixtures To Bet On
Oklahoma City Thunder at Minnesota Timberwolves (October 19, 2022 – opening day)
The team led by Karl Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell has the potential for improved performance in the 2021-22 season. In addition, the Minneapolis team has secured the signing of Frenchman center Rudy Gobert, one of the NBA’s best rim protectors.
It all seems like too much for the young Oklahoma team. Prediction: Minnesota win.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs (November 30, 2022)
This will be a meeting between two forward-looking projects. On this occasion, the home advantage may prove decisive. However, the Texan team is never an easy match because their play system prioritizes the collective over the individual. So it matters little that San Antonio does not have any big stars.
Despite this, Oklahoma’s leaders have an excellent opportunity to show off in front of their fans. Prediction: Thunder win.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets (February 4, 2023)
Houston is among the few teams with a worse prognosis than the Thunder. This team has several young players who have already proven very dangerous. Especially if the Rockets manage to get on a winning streak similar to the one at the beginning of the 2021-22 season.
The Oklahoma team has a valuable fan base that could be an essential factor in this game. Prediction: Thunder win.
This gifted Canadian player, born on July 12, 1998, is one of the most promising young point guards in the NBA. Oklahoma’s management (and the fans) considers him the franchise player. As a sample are his impressive averages for the 2021-22 season: 24.5 points, 5.0 rebounds, and 5.9 assists in 56 total games. In which he had 45.3 FG%, 30.0 3FG%, 81.0 FT%, and 46.6 eFG%.
According to Clutch Points (2022), Josh Giddey “will be a contender for Most Improved Player”. Specifically, this source predicts an improvement in the following statistics (in comparison with the 2021-22 season):
- Points per game, from 14.9 to around 17
- Field goal percentage, from 43.9% to +45%
- Three-point percentage, from 28.5% to at least 33%.
Despite his youth (born on December 20, 2001), this Serbian player already had experience in the rigid European elite when he played for Olympiacos (Greece) during the 2019-20 season. Then, Minnesota Timberwolves drafted him in the 2020 draft (first round, 17th overall) before trading him to the Thunder. He is considered one of the most prospective small forwards in the league.
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