With the NBA season restarting in about two weeks or so, today we are going to dive head first into a sea of blue and orange and look into why The OKC Thunder could have a legitimate shot at making The NBA Final. Now as a sports handicapper it is sometimes a curse to be a fan of the Thunder but also is a blessing at times.
You see I follow the numbers and perceptions, and try to decipher why the odds makers set the lines where they do then try to work out the solution to the problem. I do this with time, perceptions (Sharp/Public), betting trends, steam moves, percentages, and betting signals. I’m basically looking for the best bet within the pre game lines or even the live and second half lines to get a victory over Vegas and the odds makers. I have my own rules and guidelines for this as well, for example; in baseball I don’t play anything over -170 juice, no matter how good it looks on paper. We can get into all of that in a future article but for now lets get into it.
The Thunder are the best ATS team in the league carrying a 40-24 record…but they are also the best covering away team in the league as well with a 23-8 record. These games are all on the road in Orlando where we have OKC coming in at full strength and a leader like Chis Paul to keep these boys in line. The whole virus thing has thrown a wrench into this whole operation. Where as before things were set in stone, now things are fluid and can change at a moments notice.
The Thunder will restart the NBA schedule in a match up vs The Utah Jazz coincidentally the team they were slated to play when it was postponed due to a Rudy Gobert positive test on March 11th, This year OKC have a pretty good track record versus Utah and are a one point favorite right now for the next game on August 1st. After that they will play Nuggets, Lakers, Grizzlies, Wizards, Suns, Heat, and Clippers to round out the regular season.
As of now The Thunder are the 5th seed in the conference and will not play Rockets, Mavericks, or Trailblazers, to finish out the schedule. They play the top 3 seeds as well as Utah in the regular season 8 game finish, best case scenario for OKC will be to finish the regular season as a top 4 seed. If they can do that they will be slated with a team in the bottom 4 and avoid Lakers, Clippers, and Nuggets in the first round. There are a lot of wildcards this year where we could possibly seed one of the top seeds getting knocked off in the first round. Odds of this are slim but the odds are there for a reason. A lot of this will have to do with how bad the players want to be there, we are already seeing players drop out like Avery Bradley for the Lakers or Kawhi Leonard who supposedly is in quarantine protocol right now.
A way for OKC to backdoor into the Final is to be dialed in and play their best ball of the year, they have a great coach in Billy Donovan and a solid core of players who I think will be able mentally focus better than other teams like The Brooklyn Nets who will be limping into Orlando. As time progresses and we are actually able to see what will happen on the court all of this hypothetical and there are a lot of moving parts when it comes to wins/losses, mental capacity of the players, and what story lines can be made up heading into the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
Andre Roberson is in Orlando and practicing with OKC which will be a big boost on the defensive side of the ball, he along with newcomer Lou Dort who can help bolster this roster to help their chances to advance deep into the playoffs. Right now The Thunder are +10000 odds to win the NBA Championship and +5000 odds to win The Western Conference via Bovada Futures. Like everything else these odds will change with time.
*Jack Robinson is the Senior Content Writer at PicksCity.com and Contributing Writer for Inside The Thunder at SI.com who carries a tracked record on all sports and all plays from April of 2018 at 972-788-55 a 55.2% winning percentage via sportsaction.com