2014 Oklahoma City Thunder Predictions and NBA Futures Odds
by George Monroy - 10/2/2014
Windows open and shut all the time in the NBA-just ask the Miami Heat and Cleveland Cavilers. One day you're a contender and the next day you're not. Last season the Oklahoma City Thunder suffered another premature, and disappointing, playoff exit that may have left the organization and its fans wondering if they will ever win an NBA title with Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook.
One year its LeBron James standing in the way, the next its injuries derailing the team, and last year it was the textbook execution of the San Antonio Spurs. Three seasons ago General Manager Sam Presti traded away James Harden to avoid paying the luxury tax and bet on the Durant-Westbrook combo to eventually win an NBA title. For the Thunder, however, 2014 may be one of their final shots at a championship as the talk Durant leaving for Washington in 2016 has already begun.
2014 Oklahoma City Thunder Betting Story Lines
Saying that Oklahoma City's championship window may be closing sounds panicky and overstated. However, the organization continues to face the mounting pressure of winning an NBA title before Durant and Westbrook bolt for greener pastures. 2010's trade of Harden may feel like ages ago, but for Thunder fans and its core players the move reeked of arrogance and overconfidence from its general manager. Oklahoma had a championship roster ready to compete, and Presti essentially blew it up for monetary reasons.
Oklahoma City has been a solid team since then, but they have not won a title or even made a return NBA Finals visit when most experts and fans predicted such from the Durant-Westbrook-Harden threesome. Another 60-win season and trip to the Western Conference Finals will simply not cut it, and nothing less than an NBA Finals appearance will be acceptable for Oklahoma City. At this point in the team's run, Coach Scott Brooks' job may be on the line.
2014 Oklahoma City Thunder Additions and Departures
The Thunder suffered a few key losses over the offseason with the departures of Thabo Sefolosha, Caron Butler and Derek Fisher, who provided quality minutes and leadership off the bench. The team added Anthony Morrow, Mitch McGary and Sebastian Telfair and will need production from at least one of those players if it is to actually compete for a title this season.
One of Oklahoma's biggest weaknesses last season was its tendency for players to stand around and watch Durant and Westbrook take over the offense. That approach may work during the regular season, but during the postseason against elite teams like San Antonio the strategy is a recipe for disaster. McGary is already being talked about as the steal of the draft and could be the player that Oklahoma City needs provide quality minutes off the bench.
2014 Oklahoma City Thunder Futures Odds
NBA Title Odds: +650 (third best)
Western Conference Odds: +300 (second best)
Division Odds: -350 (best)
Kevin Durant MVP Odds: +300 (second best)
Russell Westbrook MVP Odds: +5000
Scott Brooks Coach of the Year Odds: +3000
Nearly every Oklahoma City futures wager is a live bet. The team is on its way to another fantastic season, and an NBA title is well within reach. The Thunder may be the second-best team in the NBA and could blast their way to a championship if Durant continues to take his game to another level. The best futures wager on the board is Durant's MVP odds, which fall second to James' odds only because of his popularity amongst bettors.
James will be sacrificing his scoring and overall minutes in order to be fresh for a long postseason grind, and he is no longer worried about adding MVP trophies to his mantle. There is very little reason to expect that Durant won't average 30 points and lead his team to 60 wins, which is a sure-fire recipe for an MVP award.
2014 Oklahoma City Thunder Futures Odds Picks
Playoffs: Western Conference Finals appearance
Durant MVP: Wins second straight year
Division: First place
Many fans and experts believe this season is Oklahoma City's chance at finally winning an NBA title; and to be honest, they are not wrong. The team certainly has the talent to do so, yet the major problem is navigating a loaded Western Conference and then facing San Antonio before making that Finals appearance. Expect the Thunder to produce the best record in the NBA and help Durant win his second straight MVP, but do not expect them to get past the San Antonio Spurs. However, all of Oklahoma City's futures bets are live wagers and solid options to take for the upcoming season.
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