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NBA Northwest Division Futures: Nuggets Primed To Win Division For First Time Since 2010

NBA Northwest Betting Odds January 4 2019

The NBA’s Northwest Division might have the most competitive collection of teams in the Western Conference and the team that leads the NBA overall standings is the favorite to take the division crown.

Online sportsbook Bovada has the Denver Nuggets as +170 favorites to win the Northwest Division, followed by the Oklahoma City Thunder at +205, the Portland Trail Blazers at +395, the Utah Jazz at +650 and the Minnesota Timberwolves at +1200.

Each team can argue it has a legitimate shot to win the division so let’s break down each one and see where the value is:

Denver Nuggets +170

Leading the NBA at 25-11 SU in 36 games, the Nuggets may be a tough team to knock off their perch because of how well they play at home. Denver is 15-3 SU in 18 home games, including some big-time wins over the Raptors, Warriors, Celtics, Thunder and Lakers. What might be most impressive about the Nuggets’ winning ways is how they’re pulling this off despite going through stretches without Gary Harris and Paul Millsap, who have combined to miss 23 games this season. I still like their value at +170 especially given how they’ve improved defensively (third in the NBA in points allowed per game).

Oklahoma City Thunder +205

My pick to face the Warriors in the Western Conference final, the Thunder have the biggest swing to where they could finish the season. They could end up having the best record in the league or they could sneak in the playoffs as an eight seed. OKC leads the league in forced turnovers and Paul George is playing at an all-time level. The only thing that bothers me is the Thunder haven’t been that good on the road (11-9 SU in 20 games) and are 2-3 SU in five divisional games. I love the team but at +205, I think there’s better value on the Nuggets or Blazers.

Portland Trail Blazers +395

Last year’s division winner hasn’t been as sharp as it was last season but the Blazers are all but guaranteed 30 wins just by proxy of the Moda Center. Portland is 14-6 SU in 20 home games this season and dating back to last season has gone 35-11 SU in 46 games in Oregon. If you’re just looking at pure value, the Trail Blazers are the team to bet on at +395.

Utah Jazz +650

It’s been a bit of a fall from grace for the Jazz after I picked them to win the division prior to the start of the season. Utah’s stout defense has not been up to snuff for a division contender as they’re allowing over 107 points per game this year compared to last season when they held teams to 99.8 for first in the NBA. Donovan Mitchell’s progression has been halted as his stat line is near identical to last year and members of the supporting cast such as Ricky Rubio and Jae Crowder are not playing at a level needed to be a division challenger. 

Minnesota Timberwolves +1200

I like the pieces on this team but Minnesota would need to go on a hell of a run to make the playoffs, let alone win the division. The T-Wolves are 17-21 SU in 38 games, have dropped four of their last six games and are 3-4 SU in seven divisional games. With a nine-game deficit and the competition within the division, I wouldn’t recommend a divisional bet, even at +1200.

2018-19 NBA Northwest Division Odds
Denver Nuggets+170
Oklahoma City Thunder+205
Portland Trail Blazers+395
Utah Jazz+650
Minnesota Timberwolves+1200

Odds as of January 3 at Bovada

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One of the more competitive divisions in the NBA, the Western Conference’s Northwest Division is sure to have some drama as four of its five teams made the playoffs last season. Oddsmakers have the Oklahoma City Thunder as the favorite to win the division and it would be their first divisional crown since the 2013-14 season.

Online sportsbook Bovada has the Thunder in the top spot followed by the Utah Jazz at +240, Denver Nuggets at +450, Minnesota Timberwolves at +500 and last year’s winner the Portland Trail Blazers at +650.

Each team has a legitimate case for why they can win the division so let’s break down their chances:

Oklahoma City Thunder

Odds at +210

For a team that has two of the top 15 players in the NBA, the Thunder really underachieved last season. Oklahoma City finished with a record of 48-34, one game back of Portland for the division lead. In one of the few times where a subtraction may be an addition, the Thunder sent Carmelo Anthony packing and got PG Dennis Schroder in return. That move should greatly help OKC in the early parts of the season as Russell Westbrook may need to miss the first week or two due to a procedure on his knee. I would probably avoid the Thunder at +200 just because of the low value, potential injury risk and the fact that they finished 7-15 SU in 22 divisional games last season.

Utah Jazz

Odds at +220

This is the crew that I think should be the favorite and could potentially go to the Western Conference final. This squad has all the pieces to contend with the Warriors and Rockets with a starting five that epitomized the word “team” last season. The Jazz may have the best home-court advantage in the NBA with teams seeming to always have their turn in Salt Lake City during a grueling road trip. The Jazz only allowed 99.8 points per game at home last year which tied them with the Spurs for the best mark in the league. Guard Donovan Mitchell may be the best up-and-coming player in the NBA so, at +240, this would be the team I would wager on.

Denver Nuggets

Odds at +450

A very interesting team based on their ability on the offensive side of the ball, the Nuggets fell short of making the playoffs last year by just one game. Center Nikola Jokic increased his output in points, rebounds and assists in 2017 and the Nuggets may actually be able to get a full season out of PF Paul Millsap, who was a heavy disappointment in his first season in Denver due to injury.

The Nugs ranked sixth in points per game last season but their defense left a lot to be desired as they allowed over 108 points per game (ranked 22nd) while ranking dead last in the NBA in opponents’ three-point percentage. This squad didn’t really add anyone to fix that issue in the offseason so it could be tough sledding in a competitive Western Conference to make the playoffs, let alone win the division.

Minnesota Timberwolves

Odds at +550

The Jimmy Butler situation in Minnesota is something to monitor because it could be the difference between the T-Wolves winning the division or finishing in the bottom five of the league. Minnesota was a decent team last year with Butler on the floor as they went 38-21 SU with him in the lineup compared to 10-13 SU without him. Butler has been reportedly unhappy with the work ethic of some of his teammates and with him being in a contract year, the Timberwolves may need to cut bait and try to deal him so they don’t lose him in the offseason for nothing. This at +500 is a stay-away for me as Butler is bound to miss games (only played more than 70 games in a season once in his career) and there’s too much other competition within the division.

Portland Trail Blazers

Odds at +650

Arguably owning the best backcourt in the NBA outside of the Warriors, the Blazers snuck up on a lot of us when they roared to 48 wins last season and won the Northwest Division. So, why are they not favored to repeat? Well, the stench of being swept by the Pelicans in the first round is still tickling oddsmakers’ nostrils. Their defense was supposed to be suffocating after ranking fifth in points allowed per game last season so when they got swept by a superior talent in Anthony Davis, it was apparent that the flaws in the Blazers roster would do them in.

That being said, Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are too good to let this team fall below 45 wins and a potential playoff spot in the West. With each team in this division having injury concerns and being so reliant on one player, all it takes is one injury for the Blazers to be back near the top. If you’re looking for the best value, Portland is the team to back.

2018-19 NBA Northwest Division Odds
Oklahoma City Thunder+210
Utah Jazz+220
Denver Nuggets+450
Minnesota Timberwolves+550
Portland Trail Blazers+650

Odds as of October 16 at Bovada