NBA Betting Preview (March 4): Thunder vs. Lakers Odds

The Oklahoma City Thunder seized sole possession of first place in the Western Conference with a big win over the Phoenix Suns on Sunday night, but they’ve struggled against LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers this season.

Los Angeles, which has taken two of the previous three meetings against the Thunder, will also have the rest advantage on Monday night when it hosts Oklahoma City in the season series finale between the two teams.

Bet on Thunder vs. Lakers

OKC +1
LAL -1

The Thunder rebounded with a 118-100 road victory over the Suns after having their six-game losing streak snapped by the lowly San Antonio Spurs last Thursday. They now hold a half-game advantage over the Minnesota Timberwolves for the top spot in the conference.

Los Angeles led by as many as 11 points in the first half on Saturday against the Denver Nuggets, but couldn’t hold on and ultimately fell 124-114 at home. The Lakers are clinging to the 10th spot in the West as the final play-in team.

Let’s take a closer look at this matchup using bet365‘s odds:

Thunder vs. Lakers odds

Thunder Moneyline Odds-105
Lakers Moneyline Odds-115
Over/Under239 points (over -110, under -110)
SpreadLakers -1 (-110)
Time/DateMarch 4, 10:30 p.m. ET
TVBroadcast: TSN4
Stream: NBA League Pass
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All odds courtesy of

About the Thunder (42-18 SU, 38-22 ATS, 35-24-1 o/u)

Shai Gilgeous-Alexander led all scorers on Sunday against the Suns, falling just short of a triple-double with 35 points, eight rebounds, and nine assists in 38 minutes. The Canadian is making a serious case for an MVP Award this year and is on pace to become only the third player in NBA history to average at least 30-plus points and two-plus steals while shooting 50% or better from the field (Stephen Curry and Michael Jordan).

SGA’s supporting cast is also rising to the occasion this season, as the Thunder have shot 50% or better from the field in 31 games this season, the most games in a single season in team history (the previous high was 29). Additionally, the Thunder rank second in the league in offensive rating (121.4) and are tied for fifth in defensive rating (113.5). The team also ranks top-three in the league in both steals (8.2 per game – third) and blocks (6.8 – first). Gilgeous-Alexander leads all players with 2.1 thefts per game while rookie big man Chet Holmgren is fourth in blocks (2.6 per game).

The young Thunder aren’t worse for wear on short rest, as evidenced by their 7-3 straight-up record on the second night of back-to-backs this season.

About the Lakers (33-29 SU, 27-35 ATS, 33-28-1 o/u)

Saturday was all about James, who became the first player in NBA history to reach 40,000 career points. He came into the contest needing just nine points to reach the milestone, and he wasted no time accomplishing the feat in the second quarter with a layup. He finished with 26 points, nine rebounds, and three steals in 37 minutes. The King became the NBA’s all-time leading scorer last season against OKC on Feb. 7, 2023, when he passed Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (38,387 points) on the list.

Health has been a serious issue all season for the Lakers. The team has 181 man-games lost to injury and James, in particular, has been a mainstay on the team’s injury report for the last several weeks with an ankle problem. Jarred Vanderbilt, Gabe Vincent, Christian Wood, Rui Hachimura and Cam Reddish have all missed good chunks of time with various ailments as well. Despite the injuries, the Lakers still sit just 2 1/2 games back of the Sacramento Kings for the sixth seed in the conference, which would help them avoid the Play-In Tournament. However, the Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks, and Suns are wedged in between the Lakers and Kings in the standings and will also be battling for playoff positioning down the stretch.

LeBron James under 39.5 PRA


Injury concerns

It’s a long list for the Lakers:

  • Reddish (ankle) is probable.
  • James (ankle) is questionable.
  • Anthony Davis (Achilles) is probable.
  • Vincent (knee) is out.
  • Vanderbilt (foot) is out.
  • Wood (knee) is out.

Forward Jaylin Williams (knee) is questionable for the Thunder.

  • The over is 6-2-1 in the Lakers’ last nine home games.
  • The Lakers are 1-5 ATS in their last six games.
  • The over is 9-2-1 in Oklahoma City’s last 12 games.
  • Oklahoma City is 7-1 ATS in its last eight games.
  • D’Angelo Russell is on a nice scoring run for the Lakers, averaging 19.5 points per game over his last six contests while scoring no less than 17 in each of those games. We’re still waiting for a line at bet365, but other sportsbooks have his points line set at 16.5.
  • James has also been finding the basket with ease while chasing the scoring milestone, averaging 29 points per game over his last contests. He’s -115 to score over 25.5 points. The King has also eclipsed his posted totals in the assists category in seven straight games, averaging 9.8 per game during that stretch.
  • It might be worth looking at SGA in the blocks category. He’s recorded at least one block in nine of his last 10 games and 15 of his last 20. He’s -160 to swat away at least one shot.

Wagers to consider

  • It’s too hard to pass up on the Thunder moneyline here at nearly even-money odds against a hobbled Lakers team. OKC’s depth off the bench should be advantageous here with the team on short rest.
  • Jalen Williams over 20.5 points: -115. Williams has exceeded this total in four straight games, averaging 23.5 during that span. He’s also posted point totals of 25, 28, and 21 in the three previous meetings against the Lakers this year. Holmgren, OKC’s second scoring option after SGA, has a very tough matchup against Davis on Monday, so that could prompt the Thunder to lean on Williams for some more scoring than usual.
  • James under 39.5 PRA: -115. I’ll be bold and fade James in this one despite the data showing otherwise. He’s been powering through his lingering ankle injury and has been playing inspired basketball lately in pursuit of the 40,000 points milestone. With that goal now achieved and the pressure that comes along with it relieved, I’ll bet he slightly eases off the gas pedal and puts up just modest numbers on Monday. Pursuits of milestones like these often take an emotional toll on a player.