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Thunder vs. Celtics Prediction: Top Finals Contenders Clash

Written by: Grant Mitchell
Published April 3, 2024
12 min read

The Oklahoma City Thunder (52-33) dropped to third in the Western Conference with a loss on Tuesday but have a chance to move back into first if they can beat the league-leading Boston Celtics (59-16) on Wednesday.

The Thunder arrived ahead of schedule by all realistic expectations. They are elite on both ends and, despite being the second-youngest team in the NBA, are also one of the road teams, which shows they are mature beyond their years.

The C’s ran through the season like a bullet train and haven’t shown any signs of slowing down, aside from a pair of puzzling losses to the Atlanta Hawks. They are 32-3 in their building but lost to the Thunder in their lone meeting earlier in the season.

Here, we will go over the betting odds and share our favorite picks for the Thunder vs. Celtics matchup.

Thunder vs Celtics Prediction

Thunder vs. Celtics Betting Odds for Wednesday, April 3

The Thunder are 42-32-1 (56.8 percent) against the spread, the fourth-best mark in the league. They’re also 7-5-1 (58.3 percent) ATS as a road underdog and 11-7 (61.1 percent) ATS with a rest disadvantage as they are on the second night of a back-to-back.

The Celtics are 39-33-3 (54.2 percent) ATS and 20-15 (57.1 percent) ATS as a home favorite. They’re also 8-7-1 (53.3 percent) ATS with a rest advantage.

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Teams Spread Moneyline Total
Oklahoma City Thunder +8.5 (-110) +290 Over 230.5 (-115)
Miami Heat -8.5 (-110) -375 Under 230.5 (-105)

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Thunder vs. Celtics Prediction

Oklahoma City Thunder Preview

OKC is one of the most well-rounded teams in basketball, ranking fourth in both offensive and defensive efficiency, culminating in the second-best net rating (+7.1) in basketball.

That said, the past few weeks were not the Thunder’s best stretch of basketball. They’re scoring was down and their defense was slightly worse, dropping them to 15th in net rating (+3.6).

Despite the mild regression, the Thunder still handled their business, going 10-5 straight up. A large part of that was because of their deliberate style of play, which involves lots of drives to the hoop for lay-ups, fouls that turn into free throws, or kick-outs to open three-point shooters. 

The last part of that is supported by the team’s outstanding proficiency from beyond the arc as they shoot 39 percent from deep, the best mark in the league.

OKC is also tremendous at creating points off of turnovers and typically wins the transition battle, ranking in the top 10 in both points scored and points allowed.

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jalen Williams both did not play against the Philadelphia 76ers last night and should be full of energy. Shai uncharacteristically scored 24 or fewer points in four straight games, but Williams was great in three of the four.

One of the biggest concerns for the Thunder looking ahead to more marquee matchups is the waning shooting of Chet Holmgren. The 21-year-old rookie shot 26.7 percent from three-point land and averaged just 14.3 points in March, both of which were well below his season average.

Boston Celtics Preview

The C’s, like the Thunder, are one of the best all-around teams in the league. That shouldn’t come as a surprise, seeing as they could win as many as 66 games before the year ends. 

Boston’s greatest asset is its versatility. They can run and defend all sorts of actions and personnel groups because of their combination of speed, size, and athleticism, and even experimented with new looks as of late such as Kristaps Porzingis switching one-five. 

The Celtics have the best net rating in the league and one-upped their season mark to +12.4 over the last 15 games led by a scorching-hot offense. They also outscored opponents by an average of 15.4 points per 100 possessions on their home court. 

While OKC’s fatal flaw is its inability to crash the glass, Boston has no trouble rebounding the basketball. They rank seventh in rebound rate over the last few weeks and are much taller than the Thunder.

Similar to OKC, the Celtics dominate the three-point line in nearly every game they play. They shot a league-high 41.4 percent while making more threes per game than any team since the All-Star break and also kept opponents to just 34.9 percent from deep during that same stretch.

Looking back at their January loss to the Thunder, Porzingis and Jayson Tatum scored a combined 64 points, but they allowed OKC to go 18-40 (45 percent) from three as Gilgeous-Alexander went off for 36 points. 

Tatum is still playing at an elite level, while Jaylen Brown was outstanding in March, averaging 27 points and 5.5 rebounds on 51.5 percent shooting.

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Thunder vs. Celtics Betting Pick

This is a real opportunity for the Celtics to make a statement at home against one of the best teams in basketball.

Boston is the better team on paper and in practicality, even though they did lose the previous meeting. The question is whether or not they can win by at least nine points, which is a tall task considering the level of difficulty.

While we expect the Celtics to win, we believe the Thunder can keep the game close enough to cover, especially since their two best players are rested. If they are scratched, this becomes an entirely different story.

How to Watch Thunder vs. Celtics on 4/3/24

  • When: Wednesday, April 3 @ 7:30 p.m. ET

  • Where: TD Garden. Boston, MA

  • TV: ESPN

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AUTHOR

Grant Mitchell

480 Articles

Grant is a sports and sports betting journalist who prides himself on delivering breaking news and insightful analyses of the industry. Grant graduated from Virginia Tech in 2021 and is feverishly pursuing his ambitions in the sports betting field.

In his free time, Grant can be found passionately watching sports, doing a workout, or searching for adventure with his friends.

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