Vegas is sleeping on OKC Thunder – revised NBA 2020 Final predictions

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images)
Shai Gilgeous-Alexander #2 of the OKC Thunder (Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images) /

Oddsmakers provide OKC Thunder with true motivation placing them low on the list to reach NBA 2020 Finals.

Yesterday marked three months since the NBA postponed the match between the OKC Thunder and Utah Jazz and very shortly after put the season on hiatus. Flash forward to the current day with the association on a path to bring 22 teams back to finish the season. Orlando will serve as host via the Wide World of Sports Complex at Walt Disney World.

With the format approved, oddsmakers jumped on revising the odds of the 22 teams winning the 2020 NBA Finals. To no one’s surprise, the LA juggernaut squads and Bucks remained favorites although there were some surprises.

As per Keith Smith’s Twitter post, the Celtics were among the high risers comparative to where they ranked pre-suspension. The Bean Town crew vaults to fourth with 12 to 1 odds shaving eight points off the March odds.

Did Vegas undervalue OKC Thunder?

Action Network offers the odds from a variety of sites although some haven’t updated their picks since the league went on hiatus. Based on this information here’s the consensus of sites:

  1. Bucks: 5 to 2 (+250)
  2. Lakers: 5 to 2 (+255 tied with Bucks but slight edge given to Bucks)
  3. Clippers: 18 to 5
  4. Rockets: 13 to 1
  5. Celtics:  19 to 1
  6. Raptors: 20 to 1
  7. Nuggets: 25 to 1 (+2500)
  8. 76ers: 25 to 1 (+2596)
  9. Heat: 30 to 1 (+3000)
  10. Jazz: 30 to 1 (+3143)
  11. Mavericks: 40 to 1
  12. Pacers: 100 to 1
  13. OKC Thunder: 100 to 1
  14. Pelicans: 150 to 1
  15. Blazers: 175 to 1
  16. Nets: 175 to 1
  17. Grizzlies: 250 to 1 (+22827)
  18. Magic: 250 to 1 (+25000)
  19. Suns: 250 to 1 (+27274)
  20. Kings: 300 to 1 (+30000)
  21. Spurs: 300 to 1 (+33344)
  22. Wizards: 500 to 1

Another club that feels like a bait and pay bet, from the statisticians is the Rockets who land at 20 to 1 in fifth place. Perhaps the drastic weight loss of James Harden is playing into this narrative.

To that end, maybe the number crunchers in Vegas don’t want to see how they are inspiring the defending champs and in particular the vets on the Raptors who they’ve ranked sixth at 25 to 1 to repeat. Note to the oddsmakers – the Raptors will arrive fully healthy after only hitting that mark twice all season and that in the first few weeks of the season.

Yet, the true Vegas shade and disrespect was saved for the OKC Thunder who end up inexplicably tied with the New Orleans Pelicans and Indiana Pacers at 13th with 100 to 1 odds. Say what?

Again, as per the Action Network compilation of predictions, some sites are even placing the Pacers ahead of the Thunder.

It’s one thing to state the Thunder aren’t going to win the title but to rank them even with the  Pelicans (who aren’t currently playoff seeded) feels like Vegas stealing money from Zion Williamson fans.

While it’s fair to assume the team is major underdogs to win the title, the OKC Thunder has five major strengths that will serve them well in Orlando as TI outlined.

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The perplexing part of the equation is what analysts and oddsmakers are choosing to ignore. For example, the loss of Bojan Bogdanovic and chemistry issues in Utah should be considered.

Likewise, the Heat and 76ers struggled to win on the road while the Nuggets won’t have the high altitude advantage of home. Perhaps I’m relying too much on bias, but I fail to see how the Rockets won’t get exposed in a half-court setting without a big man or size upfront.

Then again, the Thunder much like the team from up north doesn’t typically get enough respect for the season they’ve had or the numerous areas they rank among the league leaders.

Hey, a good dose of inspiration never hurt anyone. That said, if I had disposable income there are a few dark horses worth taking those odds including our guys from Loud City!

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