The Oklahoma City Thunder are looked at as one of the only things standing in the way of the Golden State Warriors making another trip to the NBA Finals. However, now that the Thunder have joined the ranks of the Western Conference’s elites, can they keep up their almost stunning trend of being a virtual lock as a home team and a home favorite?
Super teams; their flashy, their exciting, and Las Vegas LOVES them. The Thunder are back in that category after one season of Russell Westbrook and a whole lot of mediocrity. Now with Carmelo Anthony and Paul George on the roster, this team is going to be very, VERY good.
The question of how good will come out over time, but the thing that I am most concerned with is our ability to make money off their NBA Odds. We see it time and again when big-time players come to a new team to join forced with more superstars. The sportsbooks or the betting public overvalues them.
Super Team ATS Dip
When Lebron James joined the Heat in 2010, they were coming off an average 43-43-1 ATS season including the playoffs, but James and Chris Bosh joined the fray and it barely raised their profile ATS that first season. It eventually did and the following 3 seasons they went 154-140-2 ATS. However, that’s a cash rate of just 52.4%.
The biggest reason Miami wasn’t better ATS in that first season was their start to the year. I think they started that 2010-11 season losing over 60% of their games ATS before turning it around after the first 20 games or so.
The Warriors are a better and more recent example. The year before Kevin Durant left Oklahoma City to go to Golden State, the Warriors were the top team combined in the playoffs and regular season at 59-45-2 ATS. Last season with Durant, they had the same amount of losses and pushes, but with 7 fewer wins ATS. Their cash rate went from 56.6% to 53.5%. That’s the difference between profit and pushing.
Thunder Home Court ATS Outlook
So, here we are with the Thunder adding a superstar and an aging superstar to their roster to make one big swing at the Warriors. We have a long way to go before the start of the postseason, but there has been one constant with the Thunder over the years with and without Durant; their home court ATS covering.
The Thunder were 26-16-1 ATS at home last season, which was the best home-court advantage in the NBA. Since 2012, the Thunder have been the best home team in the NBA ATS, going 130-98-4 ATS (57.0%) in the regular season and the playoffs.
If you had blindly bet $100 on every Thunder home game since 2012, you’d be up over $2,000 in that stretch assuming every pick was -110 odds.
The Thunder are usually favorites at home, and of those 232 home games since 2012, they have been favored in 211 of them. Of those games, they are 117-91-3 ATS as home favorites since 2012, and last season they were 22-12-1 ATS as home favorites (64.7%).
It gets even more profitable if you look at the actual spread for those home games. In games where the Thunder were small home favorites of -4 ½ or less, they were just 4-5-1 ATS last season. Compare that to when they were at home and favored by -5 or greater, where they were 17-6 ATS in 2016-17.
Last year with the exit of Durant, the Thunder were really undervalued overall, but the trends continue for the Thunder as home favorites of -5 or higher. Since 2014, the Thunder are 66-49-4 ATS in the regular season as home favorites of -5 or greater. They have not had a losing season as a home favorite in the last four seasons. The question is can that stand this year with the profile raised a ton on this team?
Carmelo and PG13 Regression?
Right now the NBA Odds on the Thunder to win the NBA Championship next season is at +1200. That’s behind the Warriors, Cavaliers, and Celtics, tied with the Spurs at +1200, and just ahead of the Rockets at +1600 from Bovada sportsbook.
In a talented Western Conference, there is a chance that the Thunder regress some ATS, especially at home and as home favorites from where they were a season ago. However, trends suggest that they should still be a solid play one way or another at home.
It may take a while for the chemistry to come together for these three stars, but they played together for the first time in the preseason the other night and the three stars put up a combined 55 of OKC’s 96 points.
There will be some bumps along the way, but when another poor team comes to town, I will be leaning towards laying the points with OKC. The Thunder have a college crowd in a pro sports arena, and that has always been one of their best advantages at home. This plays in betting as well, and the evidence is in their home court winning percentage both SU and ATS.