Last night, the Oklahoma City Thunder went into Staples Center, tried really hard, and lost by five points.
On Monday, the Thunder did the same thing in the same arena against the Clippers, and lost by two points.
In the real world, those are moral victories; all for nought; two losses in the always-tough Western Conference.
In the betting world (assuming you put your money on the underdog Thunder), those are two wins; the Thunder were 11-point underdogs against the Lakers and 7.5-point underdogs against the Clippers, and they covered both of those spreads easily.
That’s been the story all season for this beautiful mashup of a roster, whose net rating of minus-.4 suggests a team much closer to .500 than 5-9.
Rejoice, Thunder fans: This used to be a team with three future MVPs, now its calling card is its ability to lose by only a little bit to really good teams.
OKC has been an underdog in all six of its road games. In real life, they’ve lost all of them.
In the betting world, they’ve covered four of them, including three with spreads of nine or more.
At home, the Thunder have been underdogs four times; they’ve covered three of those times.
The only time it’s not particularly advantageous to choose the Thunder in a spread is at home when favored. And even then you’d be breaking even at 2-2.
The lesson: This team is more allergic to getting blown out than Lindsey Graham is to standing for something.
The advice: The Thunder are hosting the Lakers on Friday night. The Lakers will be favored by something like 7.5 points (we’ll update you Friday).
Do what you have to do -- liquidate your useless hobby; chase down your debts; avoid your high school friend’s pyramid scheme; go to the nearest college campus and find a kid with salmon shorts and ask to use his betting app (he’ll have one) -- so you can pick OKC to lose by less than eight points.
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