Years removed from the great deflection of Kevin Durant, the Thunder find themselves in familiar territory: with two superstar players on the roster and a team that can't seem to get over the hump.
In lieu of Durant, it's now Paul George. It felt like a foregone conclusion the franchise would once again let a star player slip away in free agency, but George signed a four-year contract to stay in Oklahoma City, to the dismay of many. George is one of the best two-way players in all of the league and a perfect compliment to Russell Westbrook.
Speaking of Westbrook, he remains the most polarizing player in the NBA — dazzling with gaudy, do-it-all stat lines one night, and confusing others with one ill-timed shot after another. Efficiency has never been Westbrook's calling card, and now into his 30's, it probably never will be either.
Still, a one-two punch of Westbrook and George is as good a combo as there is in the league. However, it's going to take more than those two to win an NBA title — as the previous Durant-Westbrook tenure proved.
With both Westbrook and George under contract long-term, this team isn't going away any time soon. For serious bettors, it's in your best interest to know them in and out. Here's an in-depth betting guide to get you on the right path, featuring tips, odds, standings, and more!
Oklahoma Thunder City Next Game
Oklahoma City's upcoming opponent — and the latest odds to that matchup — can be found below. Lines are affected by numerous variables, including injuries, who's home and away, and recent trends.
Speaking of home court, the Thunder benefit from one of the rabid fanbases in all of the NBA. Oklahoma City has openly embraced the team since its move from Seattle to there in 2008. As the lone professional team in the city, the Thunder are extra personal to the Sooner State — unlike many other cities which are flooded with pro teams to distract them. It's something to keep in mind when you're on the fence about a home-game spread involving OKC.
An NBA regular season isn't for the faint of heart. Stretching from mid-October to mid-April, it's draining for players and bettors, alike. The year is filled with momentum swings up and down. Being a successful bettor is largely about predicting those ebbs and flows ahead of time.
Here's your chance with the Thunder's full 82-game schedule below. Go ahead and circle road trips right now. Two or even three games away from OKC aren't too big of a deal, but anything after that, and fatigue could very well trip up the Thunder, particularly in the later games. The same goes for back-to-back games. Those second legs are always trap games. You'll want to do this same due diligence with OKC's opponent. Just doing this will set you apart from everyday bettors.
Oklahoma City Thunder Standings
The Western Conference just seems to get better and better. If having to contend with the Warriors' dynasty wasn't enough, teams out West, including the Thunder, now have to overcome the LeBron James-led Lakers, as well.
One thing is for sure, the standings below will be in constant flux all season long. Don't be surprised if OKC is as high as second place one day and outside the playoff picture another day. Aside from the Suns, all 14 West teams are serious playoff threats.
Adding to the Thunder's plight is travel time. OKC is almost slab down in the middle of the country, meaning they'll log a lot of travel hours against their Western Conference peers. As we mentioned before, be wary of those road trips.
Will OKC Ever Get Over the Proverbial Hump?
If you're weighing Oklahoma City as a futures plays, it's tough to shake the franchise's history.
Think about it, the Thunder are a few more seasons away from being immortalized forever in NBA lore as the best team to never win it all. This predates the George-Westbrook marriage and goes back to 2009 when OKC had Westbrook, Durant, and James Harden all under one roof. It can be argued all four are top-10 players in the world today, yet the Thunder have nothing to show for this unprecedented run of talent.
Our answer to the previous question is yes and no. That's not a cop-out answer, either. Yes, you should put some money on the Thunder to get over the hump and finally win the West and NBA title, but not a lot.
The only scenario we see OKC claiming the West is if Golden State succumbs to injury, which isn't out of the question.
The way we see it, the Thunder are a bad break to Steph Curry from stealing the West. But if that doesn't happen? No chance, hence why we suggest staying tame with the wager amount.
Here's what the Thunder has going for them, though: elite defense. In today's three-point-shooting heavy NBA, defense has largely fallen by the wayside, except in Oklahoma City. Stifling defensive effort is head coach Billy Donavan's calling card and players are buying in.
George and Westbrook are both All-Defensive team candidates. Big contributors like Steven Adams and Andre Roberson give them length without sacrificing athleticism. And defensive intensity doesn't drop off in the bench, either. All this makes Thunder a good pick to hit the under more often than not.
All in all, there's a lot to like about the Thunder — two superstars at their peaks, good coaching, a strong fan base, etc. Our advice is just not to fall in love with them. History has proven to us why.
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