The Thunder Are Finally Regressing ATS

Oklahoma City has failed to cover the spread in their last five games

Ed Schipul, Flickr
  • Wagering on the Oklahoma City Thunder against the spread has been a profitable investment for sports bettors this season. The Thunder are 38-24 ATS. However, as BetQL predicted would happen several weeks ago, Oklahoma City is finally regressing. The Thunder have failed to cover the spread in their last five games and are only 12-12 ATS in their last 24 games.

  • The Thunder have declined as an ATS force because their offense does not really excel on key metrics. The Thunder’s offensive rating ranks in the middle of the pack. Oklahoma City ranks at or near the bottom of the NBA in terms of pace, three-point field goals, fast break points, and points in the paint.

  • On the season, Oklahoma City is 22-10 ATS as an underdog. However, the Thunder have failed to cover six of their last 10 games against an opponent that currently has a winning record.

  • The Thunder have also struggled recently as an ATS favorite. On the season, Oklahoma City is 16-14 ATS as a favorite. But the Thunder have failed to cover six of their last eight games as an ATS favorite. The challenge with betting on the Thunder as a favorite is that their point differential is the worst among Western Conference playoff teams with a winning record.

The Thunder’s ATS Regression Was Inevitable

The Thunder’s shift from an ATS powerhouse to a run-of-the-mill ATS team was always inevitable. Oklahoma City has failed to cover in their last five games. After starting the season 26-12 ATS, the Thunder are just 12-12 ATS in their last 24 games.

The Thunder’s pedestrian offense is one reason why their ATS success from earlier in the season was unsustainable. Their Offensive Rating is just the 14th-best in the league. Oklahoma City ranks in the bottom half of the NBA in points per game, pace, and points in the paint per game. The Thunder hit the third-fewest three-point field goals per game of any team and are dead last in fast break points per game. Their offense does not really excel at anything other than free throws made per game and not turning the ball over. 

Struggles Against Winning Teams

While the Thunder are an impressive 22-10 ATS as an underdog, they have failed to cover six of their last 10 games against an opponent currently with a winning percentage over .500. Oklahoma City was not particularly close in these six ATS losses as they failed to cover the spread and lost by an average of 17.08 points.

In these last 10 games against winning teams, the Thunder only averaged 106.5 points per game, which is less than their season average of 110.6 points per game. In that same sample, the Thunder surrendered on average 113.1 points per game, which is more than their season average of 108.5 opponent points per game. Therefore, it’s clear that they were overmatched against quality opponents.

Struggles Against Bad Teams

The Thunder have recently struggled to cover the spread against bad teams, too. OKC is 16-14 ATS as a favorite this season, but have failed to cover the spread in six of their last eight games as a favorite. These six games came against the Cleveland Cavaliers, the Detroit Pistons twice, the San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, and Chicago Bulls. All five of these teams have a winning percentage of under .500 and none of them would make the playoffs if the season ended today.

In the last six games that the Thunder failed to cover as an ATS favorite, the Thunder outscored their opponents by a combined 18 points. The Thunder’s point differential on the season is just 2.1, which is the worst point differential of any playoff team in the Western Conference with a winning record. Oklahoma City has been playing close games all season, even against the worst teams in the NBA. Close games against bad teams will inevitably lead to situations where the favorite wins but does not cover the spread for their backers.

Looking Ahead

The days of when a bettor could blindly wager on the Thunder ATS and come away with a winning ticket are gone. The Thunder’s regression to the mean is real and will likely persist for the duration of the season.

However, the Thunder’s regression does not mean sports bettors should just fade Oklahoma City for the remainder of the season. Sports bettors should treat the Thunder no differently than the 29 other teams in the NBA. Bettors should proceed with caution with the Thunder and wager on them only when the situation is favorable for them. For example, the Thunder have covered their last five games as an ATS underdog against teams with a winning percentage below .500.

On Friday night, the Thunder travel to New York to face the Knicks. Click the button below to unlock the best bets for that contest (and every other game on the slate)!