Those big, fancy buildings in Las Vegas? The really nice ones where you wager money and sometimes win? I believe they call them casinos. They don’t make all of the money to build those by being wrong, so let’s take a look at what the sportsbooks can tell us about what to expect for this season of Thunder basketball.
Spoiler Alert: It’s not great. When it comes to the 2022-23 season, Oklahoma City is a long shot to make any noise. This shouldn’t come as a surprise with #2 Overall draft pick Chet Holmgren being out for the season with a Lisfranc injury to his right foot and the possibility of drafting Victor Wembanyama, the Thunder will once again likely be at the bottom of the standings and near the top of draft boards.
I still expect this Thunder team to play exciting basketball and be fun to watch, I just wouldn’t count on a ton of wins. Don’t just take my word for it, let’s look at what the odds tell us courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook.
Starting with the longshots.
NBA Champions: +50000 (500/1)
Not great. In fact, it is the least great. At +50000 the Thunder are tied for the longest shot of winning the title alongside the Magic, Pacers, Spurs, Pistons, Rockets, and Jazz.
Western Conference Champions: +24000 (240/1)
You may start to notice a trend here, again the Thunder are tied for the longest odds and again with the Spurs, Rockets, and Jazz.
Northwest Divison Winner: +24000 (240/1)
The Thunder have the same odds to win the division as they do to win the conference. That could be a credit to how good the division is, but I doubt it.
If you can’t tell, it seems pretty unlikely that the Thunder will be included in any sentence with the word champions this season, but let’s take a look at win totals and see what we can expect.
Regular Season Wins: 22.5 – Over (-110) / Under (-110)
Historically, being tied with the San Antonio Spurs is a good thing. Unfortunately for Oklahoma City this season, it is not. 22.5 wins is the lowest team total and it is just the Spurs and Thunder there at the bottom. I would be curious as to what this number would be with a healthy Chet Holmgren, but we will have to wait another year to find that out.
20+ Regular Season Wins: -280
25+ Regular Season Wins: +105
30+ Regular Season Wins: +430
Based on these numbers, we can say that it is pretty likely that Oklahoma City will win over 20 games this season. With 25 wins being right around even money, that makes me lean towards the Thunder going over the 22.5 wins number but just barely.
To Make the Play-In: +1600 (16/1)
Prior to Chet’s injury, I was sneakily excited about the Thunder’s play-in chances. I think there is some real talent on this team with everyone healthy, but when you lose the #2 overall pick, those chances drop.
Here is where we can find some bright spots for this Thunder team. Both Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Josh Giddey are getting odds on the board, and I think there is possibly some money to be made here.
Let’s start with the Thunder’s cornerstone piece, SGA.
Points Per Game Leader – +80000 (80/1)
I don’t love this as a wager, but it is interesting to see where Shai is projected to finish among the scoring leaders. At +8000 he has the 21st best odds to lead the league in scoring.
To Average 24+ PPG: -280
To Average 26+ PPG: +100
To Average 28+ PPG: +380
Here is some good news Thunder fans. After averaging 24.5 points per game last season, the odds show SGA taking a leap here. With even money odds to average 26 points per game this season, I would expect Shai to be in the 25.7-26.2 points per game range and I really like the value of that bet.
Now on to SGA’s back court partner, Josh Giddey.
Rebounds Per Game Leader: +24000 (240/1)
Giddey has the same odds to lead the league in rebounds as the team does to win the Northwest division or the Western Conference. It is not going to happen, but that is not why I included it. Giddey shares the same odds to lead the league in rebounds as former Thunder players Russell Westbrook and Paul George, as well as LeBron James. If Giddey can put up the rebound numbers that Westbrook did in a Thunder uniform, fans everywhere will be happy.
Assists Per Game Leader: +6000 (60/1)
This is a category that I could see Giddey leading the league in at some point in his career, but this will not be the season. Oklahoma City just doesn’t have the high level shot makers required to have a player lead the league in assists. At +6000 Giddey comes in with the 14th highest odds and again shares the same odds with LeBron James. Thunder fans won’t be upset if Giddey puts up assist and rebound numbers similar to LeBron.
To Average 6+ APG: -280
To Average 7+ APG: -170
To Average 8+ APG: +190
As a rookie last season, Giddey averaged 6.4 assists per game. In the preseason, he averaged 6.6 assists per game in just 22.6 minutes. The odds show an expectation of Giddey to get to over 7 assists per game, but I LOVE the value of Josh Giddey to average 8+ assists per game. I would expect if he plays around his rookie season average of 31.5 minutes per game this season he will average over 8 assists.
Now that we’ve looked at the odds, it is clear that this will be another down year in the win column for the Thunder, but that doesn’t mean we can’t make a little money on the season. My three favorite bets are below:
3. Over 22.5 wins (-110) – OKC is close to even money to win 25+ games, I think anything more than 25 is a stretch but that 23 or 24 is extremely possible.
2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander to average 26+ Points Per Game (+100) – SGA averaged 24.5 points per game last season and has added things to his offensive game every year of his career, there is no reason to expect that he won’t do the same this year.
1. Josh Giddey to average 8+ Assists Per Game (+190) – I LOVE THIS BET. Entering his second season, Giddey has shown nothing short of complete control of the game in his Summer League and Preseason appearances and I expect that to continue into the regular season. Already one of the most exciting passers in the league, his assist numbers will continue to climb and there is tremendous value in this bet.