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Odds to Win the NBA Western Conference: Clippers and Lakers Ready to Take the Leap

NBA Western Conference Betting Odds July 19, 2019

The NBA’s Western Conference has seen a massive shakeup at the top and for the first time in four seasons, the Golden State Warriors are not the favorite to represent the West in the NBA Finals. That distinction belongs to the Los Angeles Clippers, who made the biggest splash in the offseason by nabbing Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.

Online sportsbook BetOnline has the Clippers as +225 faves to win the Western Conference and advance to their first NBA Finals in franchise history. Following the Clips are their Staples Center roommates, the Los Angeles Lakers, at +300. Next on the oddsboard are the Houston Rockets (+400), Golden State Warriors (+800) and Utah Jazz (+900) to round out the top five.

Clippers and Lakers Jostling for Top Spot

After being fairly insignificant for the last few seasons, the Clippers and Lakers stole back the spotlight and now have four of the top 10 NBA players on their rosters. These two franchises completely reshaped the NBA landscape with their offseason moves and will likely be in the thick of it come playoff time.

The Clippers are now stacked because they were a 48-win team without Kawhi Leonard and Paul George and didn’t have to sacrifice any roster depth to add these two studs. And while I can praise Kawhi and George as the reasons for why they’re the faves, the fact that they can still roll out Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell against opposing second units makes them very dangerous.

As for the Lakers, they can’t be dismissed as chopped liver. They’ll have a very motivated LeBron James, who missed the postseason for the first time since his second season in the NBA, and now have arguably the best center in the league in Anthony Davis. However, if I had to make a choice between the two teams, I’d still have to go with the Clippers because I’m dubious of the Lakers’ supporting cast.

The Lakers had to scavenge through the scrap heap of remaining free agents after holding out hope for Kawhi to sign with them and ended up settling on somewhat mediocre players. Don’t get me wrong, I think Danny Green, DeMarcus Cousins and Jared Dudley are good players. But when you stack up this roster vs the Clippers or some of the other contenders in the West, I feel like they’re one injury away to having this house of cards collapse on itself.

Is Anyone Backing the Warriors?

The reigning Western Conference champions for five straight seasons, this is the best price (+800) that bettors have seen for the Golden State Warriors to win the West in a long time. And personally, I think they can still easily win their conference because they have Stephen Curry and Draymond Green.

Steph is likely going to have a huge season offensively (second-best odds to win NBA MVP) and Draymond is still a beast defensively, so I think talk of the Warriors’ demise is a bit premature.

The X factors for how far they can go come down to when Klay Thompson can return from his ACL tear and how well D’Angelo Russell meshes with their offense. Thompson isn’t expected back till February or March and if you’re the Warriors, there’s no point to rush him back because you need him for the postseason.

As for Russell, I’m actually much higher on this acquisition than most and he’ll be an excellent scorer/playmaker to incorporate into Steve Kerr’s offense. Russell averaged 21 points per game last year with not nearly the amount of high-end talent in Oakland and I also think he can initiate the offense to take some pressure off Curry and let him come off screens and unleash the three-pointer.

I think the Warriors at +800 are a steal and these odds will drop significantly once the season gets underway.

Nuggets And Jazz Are Dark-Horse Candidates

The obvious two teams that have good value and rosters that can contend are the Denver Nuggets (+1000) and Utah Jazz (+900). Both teams made the playoffs last season and made some roster tweaks that can only help their chances to make the NBA Finals.

The Nuggets flamed out of the second round after a tough seven-game series with the Blazers but the organic growth within the organization is hard to fade, especially with the development of center Nikola Jokic into a top-10 NBA player.

Jokic led all centers in assists per game and the Nuggets have depth at every position to make a deep postseason run. My favorite move was their acquisition of Jerami Grant from the Thunder to play up front with Jokic.

Too many times last season the Nuggets were a victim of a Paul Millsap defensive miscue and it cost them against the Blazers. I think Denver’s on an upward trend and it wouldn’t shock me to see the Nuggets at the top of the Western Conference standings when the season concludes.

Compared to the Nuggets, the Jazz made the splashier moves in the offseason by trading for Mike Conley from the Grizzlies and signing Bojan Bogdanovic from the Pacers. Conley will be the Jazz’s best point guard since they traded Deron Williams in 2011. Guard play has been a source of frustration for Utah when they played the big boys in the playoffs ever since that trade.

Conley’s shooting and defense doubles down on what the Jazz do best as they were already one of the best defensive teams in the NBA and they will be a pest to play against. I’m not as high on them compared to the Warriors or Nuggets but I do think they have a great shot to make it to the Western Conference final.

Odds To Win NBA Western Conference 2019-2020
Los Angeles Clippers+225
Los Angeles Lakers+300
Houston Rockets+400
Golden State Warriors+800
Utah Jazz+900
Denver Nuggets+1000
Portland Trail Blazers+2000
Dallas Mavericks+2500
San Antonio Spurs+4000
New Orleans Pelicans+5000
Oklahoma City Thunder+6600
Sacramento Kings+8000
Minnesota Timberwolves+10000
Memphis Grizzlies+15000
Phoenix Suns+25000

Odds as of August 14 at BetOnline