Paul George of the LA Clippers suffered a sprained right knee late in the team's Tuesday night loss to the Oklahoma City Thunder and is now on course to miss the rest of the regular season. The Clippers' title hopes may be dead and gone as a result.
Life without George will begin on Thursday, when the Clippers face the Thunder once again. But we are already seeing LA's betting odds to win the 2023 NBA Finals take a hit following the news that he won't be re-evaluated for at least two to three weeks. Mind you, the key word here is "re-evaluated." That doesn't mean George will be ready to hoop for the play-in tournament or first round of the playoffs. That's just when we can expect the next update. There will likely be a ramp-up period that follows, which suggests the injury may keep Paul George sidelined until the second round of the playoffs.
This, of course, assumes the Clippers even make it that far. Their season has largely been a roller coaster. Oddsmakers didn't know what to make of them even with George in the fold. Their job is harder now. And yet, that hasn't stopped linemakers from making the Clippers favorites to beat the Thunder. You can see the latest NBA online betting odds for this matchup below:
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+110||+105||+110|
As usual, make sure you double-check these online NBA betting odds right up until you place your wager. Our LA Clippers vs. Oklahoma City Thunder betting odds are accurate as of all games played on Wednesday, March 22. There will be adjustments made to the lines ahead of opening tip-off on Thursday, March 23, at 10:30 p.m. EST.
You needn't worry about any of these tweaks so long as you have signed up with a dependable odds provider. That's where our reviews of the top online sportsbooks are especially useful. All the information within them will help you spot the best online NBA betting sites in 2023.
Let's get back to more pressing questions. Should the Clippers be favorites without Paul George to beat the Thunder? Or will Oklahoma City pull off a second consecutive upset on the road? Read on to see our Clippers vs. Thunder picks.
Beating the Clippers Twice in a Row is Hard, But The Thunder Are Capable of Doing It
These NBA "double-headers" usually end with teams splitting the set; seldom does one squad win both games. Playing the same team makes it easier to game plan and adjust, particularly when you have a day off in between.
Still, the Thunder seem poised to pull off an upset over the Clippers.
LA needs time to figure out their identity without Paul George. That's not an easy task. He's averaging basically 25 points and five assists over his past 25 games while serving as the Clippers' second-best defender and highest-volume three-point shooter. LA won't be able to supplant everything he does by relying more heavily on Terance Mann and Eric Gordon. There's also the chance head coach Tyronn Lue asks both Marcus Morris Sr. and Russell Westbrook to provide more shot creation. We've seen both movies before. And they're disasters.
Meanwhile, the Clippers defense stands to suffer more than their offense. All of a sudden, Mann, Morris, Nicolas Batum or Robert Covington will have to pick up the slack against top-tier perimeter options. That's not a sustainable model—especially when Westbrook, a defensive liability, continues to log so many minutes.
George's absence will require a period of self-discovery for the Clippers. That invariably benefits a Thunder team that is getting peak play from Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Josh Giddey and Jalen Williams.
OSB Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder (+110)
The Point Spread is Tough to Figure Out in LA vs. OKC
Below you can see the latest NBA point spread betting odds for the Clippers vs. Thunder matchup on Thursday night:
- LA Clippers, -2.5 (-115)
- Oklahoma City Thunder, +2.5 (-115)
Tuesday's game ended with the Thunder eking out a one-point victory. Combined with Paul George's injury, that explains the smaller spread here. Teams also tend to play each other more tightly on the second end of these double-headers.
For our money, we prefer betting on the Thunder to win outright. But if you're nervous that their offense won't be able to play fast enough against the Clippers defense, rolling the dice on their point spread does increase your margin for error.
OSB Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder, +2.5 (-115)
Expect Offense to Take Center Stage for Both the Clippers and the Thunder
Here are the latest NBA over/under betting odds for the Thunder vs. Clippers game:
- Over 232.5 (-110)
- Under 232.5 (-110)
Defense took the spotlight when these two teams met on Tuesday night. LA and Oklahoma City combined to score fewer than 205 points.
Why are oddsmakers expecting this game to be so different? Because both teams struggled from three the first time around, combining to go just 16-of-68 from behind the rainbow—a 23.5 percent clip. That conversion rate will climb for at least one of them, and it'll probably rocket up for both.
Without Paul George in the lineup, the Clippers will also have to rely heavily on players like Mann, Westbrook and Gordon who skew offense first. Indeed, LA home games have hit the "over" just 25 percent of the time this season, which is the lowest mark in the league. But the complexion of this second meeting is about to look a lot different. We expect offense—and, thus, the "over"—to reign supreme.
OSB Prediction: Over 232.5 (-110)
Take a look at this list of the top online sportsbooks so you can decide which one to use for all of your NBA betting: