2018-19 Oklahoma City Thunder Betting Preview

Date | AuthorAdmir Aljic

Last Updated: 2018-08-23

oklahoma city thunder season previewThe Oklahoma City Thunder had a disappointing 2017-18 season, as they expected a lot more than the first-round playoff exit in six games against the Utah Jazz. The Thunder finished the regular season at the fourth spot of the Western Conference with a 48-34 record (27-14 at home, 21-20 on the road), while they were second in the Northwest Division with the same record as the Utah Jazz, and one win behind the Portland Trail Blazers. Some big changes happened this summer in Oklahoma City, as Carmelo Anthony was sent to the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for the German playmaker Dennis Schroder, so let’s take a closer look at the futures odds and season props for the Thunder which are already available on BetDSI Sportsbook.

Oklahoma City Thunder Futures Odds

Win Total Over/Under at 49.5: Over +105; Under -125
To Win the Northwest Division at +215
To Win the Western Conference at +2050
To Win the NBA Championship at +5000
To Make NBA Playoffs: YES -2500, NO +1200 (Bet365 Sportsbook)

Oklahoma City Thunder Player Movement

Draft: Hamidou Diallo (No. 45 Pick), Devon Hall (No. 53 Pick), Kevin Hervey (No. 57 Pick)

Added: Dennis Schroder (trade with Atlanta Hawks), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarott (trade with Philadelphia 76ers), Abdel Nader (trade with the Boston Celtics), Nerlens Noel (free agency, Dallas Mavericks)

Lost: Carmelo Anthony (traded to Atlanta Hawks), Dakari Johnson (traded to Orlando Magic), Rodney Purvis (traded to Boston Celtics), Nick Collison (retired)

Unrestricted Free Agents: Corey Brewer, Daniel Hamilton, P.J. Dozier, Josh Huestis

The Thunder got the 20-year old shooting guard Hamidou Diallo, who was selected with the 45th overall pick at the 2018 NBA Draft by the Brooklyn Nets, to fortify the backcourt with one of the most athletic players in this draft. Diallo played one season at Kentucky, averaging 10.0 points, 3.6 rebounds, and 1.2 assists per game, doing most of the damage in the transition. He will need to improve his jump shooting, while at the defensive end, Hamidou Diallo could be a nice addition for the Thunder, as he can guard multiple positions due to his length and lateral quickness. On the other side, Devon Hall and Kevin Hervey would not get a chance to play for Thunder at the start of the 2018-19 season.

The most important change in regards to the previous season is acquiring the 24-year old playmaker Dennis Schroder from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for Carmelo Anthony. The ten-time All-Star had the worst season of his career, averaging 16.2 points, 5.8 rebounds, and 1.3 assists while shooting 40.4% from the field, and just couldn’t settle down in the area. Likewise, Anthony’s contract was too much for the Thunder who wanted to cut down expenses, so they decided to trade him to the Atlanta Hawks who sent Dennis Schroder to the opposite direction.

Schroder wanted to play for a competitive franchise and battle for the NBA championship, so this move should be ideal for the German point guard who averaged 19.4 points and 6.2 assists last season while shooting 43.6% from the field, and just 29.0% from beyond the arc. Schroder possesses a fantastic speed and quickness that allows him to drive the lane but has some problems with his range. He should be a backup point guard who can also play alongside Russell Westbrook, so we should see them together on the floor quite often this season.

Oklahoma City Thunder 2018-19 Roster

Russell Westbrook is one of the most dominant players in the league, no doubt, but he couldn’t carry his team through the playoffs last season. In the 2016-17 season, Westbrook was a true beast with 31.6 points, 10.7 rebounds, and 10.4 assists per game, recording 42 triple-doubles to set the NBA record for the most triple-doubles in a single season. Last year, his numbers were slightly worse – 25.4 points, 10.1 rebounds, and 10.3 assists per game along with 25 triple-doubles, but it was expected as Paul George and Carmelo Anthony joined the team last summer. Westbrook is a spectacular player, but he obviously needs to forget about the stats and try to win games with more team play. After two years of recording triple-doubles on a regular basis and setting the records, the seven-time All-Star should realize that he has to change something in his game.

Paul George joined the Thunder last summer after playing seven years with the Indiana Pacers, and the five-time All-Star had a solid first season in Oklahoma but nothing spectacular. He played in 79 games, averaging 21.9 points, 5.7 rebounds, and 3.3 assists in 36.6 minutes per game, while in the playoffs, he improved his stats, recording 24.7 points, 6.0 rebounds, and 2.7 assists. However, he couldn’t help the Thunder to beat the Jazz, although he should have been the guy to make the difference in the Playoffs. George is a prolific scorer who can make buckets in so many different ways but will have to cooperate well with Russell Westbrook or the Thunder will have another painful season.

Steven Adams will continue to contribute as a starting center after playing 76 games last year, all 76 as a starter, recording 13.9 points and 9.0 rebounds while shooting 62.9% from the field and 55.9% from the free-throw line. Adams is an excellent screen setter who works hard to make open lanes for his teammates, while he particularly cooperates well with Russell Westbrook, making the majority of his points from Russell’s assists. On the other side, Adams is a great defender who protects the rim and maximizes possessions.

The 26-year old guard Andre Roberson is another good defensive stopper in the Thunder starting lineup, but Andre is a guy who really struggles at the offensive end. His shooting mechanic is awful, so you can often see an air-ball coming from his hands, while in 39 games last season, Roberson averaged 5.0 points, 4.7 rebounds, and 1.2 assists on 53.7% shooting from the field and 22.2% from beyond the arc. Andre will battle the Spaniard Alex Abrines for the place in the starting five, and Abrines is far more dangerous offensively than Roberson, especially from beyond the arc. The 29-year old power forward Patrick Patterson will be another important member of the Thunder’s rotation after playing in all 82 games last season, averaging just 3.9 points and 2.4 rebounds in 15.5 minutes per game.

Players Under Contract:

Russell Westbrook (PG), Dennis Schroder (PG), Raymond Felton (PG)
Andre Roberson (SG), Alex Abrines (SG), Timothe Luwawu-Cabarott (SG), Hamidou Diallo (SG)
Paul George (SF), Terrance Ferguson (SF), Kyle Singler (SF)
Jerami Grant (PF), Patrick Patterson (PF), Steven Adams (C), Nerlens Noel (C)

Win Total Prediction and Betting Picks

The Oklahoma City Thunder played solid defense last season, recording the ninth-best defensive rating in the league (107.2), so the bettors can expect more of the same this season. On the other side, they were scoring 110.7 points per 100 possessions, but they needed a better pace (96.7), especially in the playoff series against the Utah Jazz. The head coach Billy Donovan will continue to insist on reliable defense, and if he finds the way to improve the offense, his team could go deep into the playoffs this season.

The bookies at 5Dimes Sportsbook consider the Thunder as the strongest favorites to win the Northwest Division with the odds at +215, but it’s a tricky wager as the competition is pretty stiff in the Northwest where all five teams had at least 46 wins last year. I don’t believe the Thunder are capable of winning the Western Conference at +2050, but they should have a strong regular season and record more than 50 wins. Russell Westbrook is a +1500 favorite to win the 2019 NBA MVP Award, and the bettors should be careful, as this could be the season when Russell finally subordinate himself to the team’s success.

The Pick: Over 49.5 (+105)

Prediction: Western Conference Semi-Finals

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