The big bad boys of the West are back at it, but with new additions to the club of contenders, we are looking at a slaughterhouse conference in the NBA.
In the end, this is what the wild, wild West has offered us in the last decades.
No team is safe, no team can rest on their laurels, because if they do, they will be steamrolled by the competition. You could make the argument that six or seven teams have championship-caliber rosters in the Western Conference.
Also, lots of megastars play on this side of the NBA. From SF LeBron James and PG Steph Curry to young prospects like PF Zion Williamson and PG Luka Doncic.
The Western Conference is a war, and the courts are the battleline. In 2021, you can expect an even larger battle between the franchises.
Let’s dive into the odds to win the West for this upcoming season.
Let’s start by saying it was an unusual season in lots of sorts ways. First off, the Utah Jazz was the best team in the whole NBA. Finishing with a 52-20 record, the Jazz looked destined for a major push in the NBA playoffs.
They ended up losing in the second round against the Clippers, in a somewhat underwhelming finish for a sensational season.
The second seed in the West was the shocker of the season. The Phoenix Suns were one of the worst teams in 2019 but signed PG Chris Paul and he changed everything. The Suns had a big season and ended up as the runners-up, losing in the finals.
However, they eliminated the then-defending champs in the Lakers and took care of the Clippers, and the MVP C Nikola Jokic, and the Denver Nuggets. The Suns became a force to be reckoned with.
In third place, the Denver Nuggets finished as a top-tier seed under the guidance of Nikola Jokic. He went on to win the MVP of the season, but a season-ending injury to number two option PG Jamal Murray was a tough pill to swallow when it came to the playoffs.
Denver is a nice team, with the order, fantasy, and a knowledge of their strengths. It’s what an NBA team is supposed to be.
The Clippers ended on the fourth seed. It’s a commonly known thing that they use load management, especially on their main man, SF Kawhi Leonard. Once the playoffs started, it was a whirlwind time for them.
They came back and won the first round against Dallas. They also managed to get rid of Utah, but fell in the Conference Finals, as Kawhi Leonard got injured.
Dallas got to the playoffs as the fifth seed, but Luka Doncic’s heroics weren’t enough to go past the first round. Doncic proved, once again, he is box office, but without any help around him, it’s a tough path to a championship.
PG Damian Lillard guided the Portland Trail Blazers to a sixth seed. Still, once again, Lillard saw his dream of winning a chip cut short. A first-round exit launched rumors of the exit of Lillard.
If you’re wondering where the Lakers—the defending champs—landed, it’s here. In the seventh seed. The Lakers were not a good team.
They had LeBron and PF Anthony Davis, and that took them to the playoffs, but injuries to them prevented a higher seed. In the playoffs, LeBron experienced his first exit in the first round.
The eighth seed belonged to Memphis after they got past the Warriors in the play-in tournament. The ninth then was occupied by Golden State.
The San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, Minnesota Timberwolves, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Houston Rockets followed in the pecking order.
Now the good part! How are these teams going to perform next season?
Well, search no further, as we are bringing you a Western Conference preview right now!
Utah Jazz – The first seed will belong to Utah Jazz once again. They kept all their stars. PG Mike Conley should be healthier, and with SG Donovan Mitchell getting better by the second, the backcourt is a top one.
Add sixth man of the year Jordan Clarkson, and defensive wall C Rudy Gobert, and a very solid roster makes them a solid bet on being the first seed.
Los Angeles Lakers – The reason LA could end up missing in the first place is that they are old. They need to manage. They need to pace themselves. Eleven of their players are 30 years old or even older. What matters is the playoffs.
Los Angeles Clippers – The LA counterparts, the Clippers, are a team that should have a leap. It’s their second year under HC Ty Lue, and Kawhi should be healthy. They have a solid roster, an elite head coach, and a superstar to aim for, Larry O’Brien.
Denver Nuggets – Denver will boost themselves as PG Jamal Murray will be back on the court. Alongside MVP Nikola Jokic and rising star SF Michael Porter Jr., the Nuggets are a team that shouldn’t be underestimated.
Phoenix Suns -The Suns will step back a bit from 2020, considering the rest of the teams stay somewhat healthy. CP3 is back with the team, and SG Devin Booker is coming off a career year, a certified top scorer.
Add the development of C Deandre Ayton, and they will be in the mix back again.
Golden State Warriors -It’s time for the Golden State Warriors to get back to title contention. Steph Curry will have his splash brother back in SG Klay Thompson.
Threes will rain, and lockdown defense will be there as PF Draymond Green and SF Andre Iguodala aim to cancel any opposing threat.
Dallas Mavericks -The Mavs are a team to watch, due to Luka Doncic playing there. But also, it’s the start of Jason Kidd’s era as Dallas’ HC. Whether they can add a piece to support Luka or make PF Kristaps Porzingis a decent number two is vital for their aspirations.
Portland Trail Blazers – If Lillard doesn’t find a new home, then Portland will once more be in the playoffs. Joined by his SG stud, CJ McCollum, the Blazers will score but are undersized in defense. That’s why their ceiling is so low, no pun intended.
Minnesota Timberwolves – The Timberwolves may cause some noise. Hear us out. Karl Anthony Towns is a big presence at Center, PG D’Angelo Russell is back, healthy, and with an All-Star level. Then, a second-year leap waits for SG Anthony Edwards.
Add a lockdown perimeter defender like PG Pat Beverley, and Minnesota can cause some mayhem in the middle seeds.
Memphis Grizzlies – Memphis will bring box office, PG Ja Morant, back to the court. The electric player will have pick-and-roll heaven as the frontcourt of PF Jaren Jackson Jr. and C Steven Adams will produce the goods.
New Orleans Pelicans – After losing key players like PG Lonzo Ball, it’s intriguing what the Pelicans can do. They replaced him with rising prospect Devonte’ Graham.
Add PF Zion Williamson’s third year in the league, and the scoring ability of SF Brandon Ingram, and what they have is a bright future ahead.
Sacramento Kings – The Kings have a fast-paced basketball style, but the lack of superstar pieces is palpable. It all falls into what PG De’Aaron Fox can do and for the outside shooters to be effective. Too many holes to fill in the roster, though.
San Antonio Spurs – The dynasty of the San Antonio Spurs is long gone. They shipped their best player to Chicago in SF DeMar DeRozan and now are in full rebuild mode. Few exciting prospects and their journeymen are nothing special. This may be the worst team Gregg Popovich has ever coached.
Oklahoma City Thunder – As for the Thunder, they have tons of draft picks in the upcoming years. Aside from PG Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the talent on that roster is scarce right now. They are a team that wants to contend in the future, but for the present their offer is lackluster.
Houston Rockets – The Houston Rockets are far from being interesting. They drafted a future star in SG Jalen Green. However, availability questions over PG John Wall and an otherwise aging team creates holes.
With not much low post presence on the roster, it’s another reason Houston is not getting near the postseason.
Before placing any kind of bet, it’s always recommended to shop lines. This will help you find the best NBA odds out there and put more money in your bankroll balance.
Following effective line shopping, there are some stats you need to know before any action. The first thing is to know the odds.
The lower the number, the more chances a team must win said bet. If the number has a minus (-) sign attached to it, it’s the amount of money you need to layout to get a $100 profit. If the number has a plus (+) sign, it represents how much you will collect based on a $100 wager.
The following step is looking at the handle. This shows the percentage of the total amount wagered on the NBA Western Conference winner for each of the franchises.
If the Suns have a 12% handle, this means 12% of all the money wagered on the Western Conference winner is going to Phoenix.
Then, go and look for the percentage of bets. This refers to the number of bets -not the number of dollars- wagered on a specific team. For example, the Lakers have 88% of all bets, but this doesn’t convert into how much was wagered.
For instance, they could have 55% of the handle, meaning smaller bets are coming the Lakers’ way.
Now that we gave you these useful tips, we can focus on how to bet on the Western Conference winner. It is a simple process.
First, log into your sportsbook account. Check your bankroll, look for bonuses and decide how much you want to lay on the line. The next step is to look for the NBA tab. Then, from the drop-down menu, select the futures tab. It may also appear as “Team Futures”.
After that, click on the Conference Winners option to see all teams’ odds. Last but not least, select the team you predict is winning the Western Conference.
Submit your bet from the betting slip on the right-hand side of the screen, and hope for the best.
As a friendly reminder, we advise you to do your research on each team. Check for new trades, signings, injuries, staff movements, and more. Also, the deeper the roster, the better a team is prepared to deal with adversity.
It’s an 82-game regular season, some teams use load management to preserve their stars, this affects the seedings. Also, take into consideration that the odds will be changing as the season progresses.
So, if you’re looking to bet on some dark horse, wait and see how they start the season.
Don’t forget to check out the betting odds for the Eastern Conference.