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Oct 17, 2017

NBA regular season: Western Conference betting preview

NBA regular season: Western Conference betting preview

Credit: Getty Images

With plenty of outright markets available ahead of the new NBA season, a primary focus for bettors will be the conference winners. There’s an abundance of team quality and talent in the West, but which franchise will win the conference? Read this article for an expert’s view of the Western Conference winner odds.

The Western Conference remains the stronger and more entertaining conference in the NBA this season. During the offseason, teams have been loading up the best they can and preparing a challenge to dethrone the mighty Golden State Warriors. So, how should bettors rate each teams’ chances in the outright Western Conference betting?

Dallas Mavericks

In: Josh McRoberts, Dennis Smith Jr., Jeff Withey.

Out: DeAndre Liggins, Jarrod Uthoff.

The 2016/17 season was the worst one in the Mark Cuban era. Dirk Nowitzki is heading into his 20th season with the Mavericks now wedged between going for a full rebuild or trying to add pieces to support the 39-year-old for one last playoff run.

There isn’t much going for Dallas - as their Western Conference winner odds (151.280*) suggest. Harrison Barnes had a good season last season but they’ll need all-round improvements if they are to get over the 35.5 regular season wins mark (the under is priced at 1.763*).

Denver Nuggets

In: Trey Lyles, Paul Millsap.

Out: Danilo Gallinari, Roy Hibbert, Mike Miller.

Denver is one of those teams that had a furious run at the end of the season and only just missed the playoffs. Nikola Jokic really upped his game and put on a good display during this stretch. The addition of Paul Millsap will bring talent, leadership and toughness to this deep but fairly young Nuggets team.

If Denver’s defence was anywhere near as good as their offence, they’d be real contender to challenge Golden State. Unfortunately, it’s going to take more than a couple of seasons to solve that issue and odds of 91.170* are a fair reflection of their chances - even the over 45.5 regular season wins (1.961*) might be a stretch.

Golden State Warriors

In: Omri Casspi, Nick Young.

Out: Matt Barnes, Ian Clark.

Everyone is expecting the Warriors to breeze the Western Conference (1.288*) and they are heavy favourites to go all the way in the playoffs and win the NBA Championship (1.512*).

The 2017/18 Golden State Warriors could well be the best team in NBA history.

The focus for the Warriors in the offseason was tying down their big guns and strengthening the supporting cast. Curry, Durant, Iguadola, Pachulia and Livingston have all been re-signed, while more firepower has also been added to the roster with the addition of Nick Young and Omri Casspi.

Bettors will perhaps struggle to find any negatives when analysing Golden State’s Western Conference winner odds. It could well be the best NBA team in history ever - can they get one more regular season win than the 67 they managed last year? Odds of 1.892* say they can.

Houston Rockets

In: Tarik Black, Luc Mbah a Moute, Chris Paul, P.J. Tucker.

Out: Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Montrezl Harrell, Louis Williams.

Houston’s new backcourt of Paul and Harden is without doubt one of the top two in the league. Troubles of the rich - it will be interesting to see what kind of schemes Coach D’Antoni can come up with to incorporate CP3 in the game since Harden demands the ball so much.

P.J Tucker and Luc Mbah A Moute have also been added to the roster for their defensive prowess but if the Rockets are to be a serious contender for the Western Conference title (9.020*) they will still need some big improvements on defence. However, over 55.5 regular season wins at 1.934* certainly looks achievable.

Los Angeles Clippers

In: Patrick Beverley, Sam Dekker, Danilo Gallinari, Montrezl Harrell, Marshall Plumlee, Willie Reed, Milos Teodosic, Louis Williams.

Out: Alan Anderson, Brandon Bass, Jamal Crawford, Raymond Felton, Luc Mbah a Moute, Chris Paul, Paul Pierce, J.J. Redick, Marreese Speights.

Doc Rivers’ roles with the Clippers have been reduced to one. Management was not happy with his decisions as Head of Basketball Operations and now he is back to just being the coach.

Chris Paul was the leader and heart of the Clippers for several years but he wanted out and was traded to the Rockets. The point guard duties have been given to Patrick Beverley and NBA rookie, but well-experienced and European star, Milos Teodosic.

The addition of Danilo Gallinari and a healthy Blake Griffin should keep them competitive but the frontcourt isn’t the problem for the Clippers - it’s a lack of accurate three-point shooters. Western Conference winner odds of 61.110* are fair, Doc Rivers will certainly expect his team to break the 43.5 regular season wins mark (1.662*) 

Los Angeles Lakers

In: Lonzo Ball, Andrew Bogut, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brook Lopez.

Out: Timofey Mozgov, Thomas Robinson, D'Angelo Russell, Metta World Peace, Nick Young.

While the Lakers are not a threat to make the playoffs yet, they do have a young and exciting team with a couple of good fit veterans acquired to lead the starting unit.

There’s plenty of rumours about the Lakers landing their traditional franchise superstar for next year with talk of LeBron or Paul George joining.

Rookie sensation and number two draft pick Lonzo Ball has been impressive in the summer league and pre-season - he’s currently second favourite in the NBA Rookie of the Year market (3.750*). The Lakers also traded D’Angelo Russell to the Nets in a deal that brought in Brook Lopez.

Bettors will more likely thinking like Lakers fans and thinking about the years ahead instead of the 2017/18 season. There’s plenty of rumours about the Lakers landing their traditional franchise superstar for next year with talk of LeBron or Paul George joining. Under 33.5 regular season wins (1.793*) looks the best Lakers bet this season, but who knows what the future has in store.

Memphis Grizzlies

In: Mario Chalmers, Tyreke Evans (SAC), Ben McLemore (SAC),

Out: Tony Allen (NOP), Vince Carter (SAC), Troy Daniels (PHX), Zach Randolph (SAC).

This could be a rough year for the Grizzlies. A big part of the grit-and-grind core is now gone with the departures of Zach Randolph and “The Grindfather” himself Tony Allen. Although their defence isn’t too much of a worry, the Grizzlies will certainly struggle to keep up with their conference rivals in terms of offence for some time.

Grizzlies fans will be hoping this is the year that Chandler Parsons finally earns at least some part of the $94 million contract he signed in 2016 (he only played 34 games last season). Marc Gasol and Mike Conley will be healthy again this season which will go some way to keeping Memphis somewhat competitive - they are currently 1.735* to win more than 37.5 games in the regular season.

Minnesota Timberwolves

In: Aaron Brooks, Jimmy Butler, Jamal Crawford, Taj Gibson, Justin Patton, Jeff Teague. 

Out: Omri Casspi, Kris Dunn, Jordan Hill, Zach LaVine, Adreian Payne, Ricky Rubio, Brandon Rush. 

The Timberwolves may have quickly gone from pretenders to contenders. Coach Thibodeau teams are well known for their defence, but the Minnesota didn’t exactly show that last year - to immediately remedy that situation they acquired ex-Thibodeau players Jimmy Butler and Taj Gibson.

Butler is a two-way star player who never takes off a play and is sure to teach Towns and Wiggins how to be winners. Minnesota also swapped point guard Ricky Rubio for Jeff Teague. This might be the year the Wolves finally make the playoffs for the first time since 2004 (they are 26.050* to win the Western Conference).

New Orleans Pelicans

In: Tony Allen, Ian Clark, Rajon Rondo. 

Out: Quinn Cook, Tim Frazier, Quincy Pondexter.

A full year of Davis and Cousins may show management if the experiment works or if pressing the reset button once again is the best choice going forward.

The Pelicans added aged defensive specialist Tony Allen and point guard Rajon Rondo to the roster in the offseason. The latter was a bit of a head-scratcher as they just re-signed Jrue Holiday to a five year $126 million contract, but the general consensus is that Holiday will move to shooting guard while Rondo plays the point.

A 39.5 regular season win total might be optimistic for the Pelicans (the under is priced at 2.010*).

Oklahoma City Thunder

In: Carmelo Anthony, Raymond Felton, Paul George, Patrick Patterson.

Out: Norris Cole, Taj Gibson, Enes Kanter, Doug McDermott, Victor Oladipo, Domantas Sabonis.

One of the teams that made the most noise during the offseason was the Thunder. Russell Westbrook has now got some serious help and will most likely form a dangerous partnership with Paul George. 

The move for George is one of many moves that may have boosted OKC into the elite group of teams (the trade for Carmelo Anthony another). However, they some capable players in making these deals (Oladipo, Kanter and Gibson) so depth is one of the main reasons Oklahoma’s Western Conference winner odds are higher than some might expect (11.00*).

Phoenix Suns

In: Anthony Bennett, Troy Daniels.

Out: Leandro Barbosa, Ronnie Price.

Not much can be expected from the Suns this season. They are slowly adding pieces that will improve their future - Devin Booker is their talent and entertainment centrepiece for now. The Suns could fast-track their development even more if they can find takers for Tyson Chandler and Eric Bledsoe.

It’s not just the lack of elite players that have Phoenix as the highest priced team to in either conference (426.780*) it is the inconsistency in performances, even when they seem to get it right. The Suns will need to be lucky to eclipse the 28.5 regular season wins mark that has been set (the under is currently 1.900*).

Portland Trail Blazers

In: Archie Goodwin, Anthony Morrow.

Out: Allen Crabbe, Festus Ezeli, Tim Quarterman.

There have been no substantial changes on the Blazers roster in the offseason. The only move of any real interest was trading Allen Crabbe to the Nets for Andrew Nicholson (essentially a financial move).

Portland barely made the playoffs last year and that task has become even more difficult with the emergence of the Timberwolves and Nuggets as stronger contenders this year - bettors will most likely be looking to take advantage of what looks like a high regular season wins total of 42.5 - the under is currently priced at 2.020*.

Sacramento Kings

In: Bogdan Bogdanovic, Vince Carter, De'Aaron Fox, George Hill, Zach Randolph.

Out: Arron Afflalo, Darren Collison, Tyreke Evans, Langston Galloway, Rudy Gay, Ty Lawson, Ben McLemore.

Sacramento added George Hill, Zach Randolph and Vince Carter as much needed veterans to help their young roster both on and off the court. De’Aaron Fox was their first pick in this year’s draft - many believe he could be a superstar in the near future but the Kings needs players for the here and now at the moment. 

Although Sacremento are in great need of some star quality players, the chemistry is pretty low as it is. They were pretty fortunate to notch 32 regular season wins last year and given that five of their most used players have now left, even 27.5 looks like it will be a struggle (the under is 2.040*).

San Antonio Spurs

In: Rudy Gay, Joffrey Lauvergne.

Out: Joel Anthony, Dewayne Dedmon, David Lee, Jonathon Simmons.

It would appear that the Spurs are heading into another 50+ regular season win year in 2017/18 but their chances of winning the Western Conference is another matter altogether.

It is their inability to deal with a pacey offence (of which there are plenty in the conference) that will put bettors off the Spurs' Western Conference winner odds.

Kawhi Leonard will hope to get back to his best after a couple of injuries - he will probably be at full strength within the next month. After a couple of minor moves in the offseason, it is the improving relationship between Coach Popovich and LaMarcus Aldridge that is the real positive for San Antonio.

The Spurs look set for the playoffs but it is their inability to deal with a pacey offence (of which there are plenty in the conference) that will put bettors off their Western Conference winner odds (10.020*) and perhaps make the under 54.4 regular season wins (1.943*) the most attractive option.

Utah Jazz

In: Jonas Jerebko, Ricky Rubio, Thabo Sefolosha.

Out: Boris Diaw, Gordon Hayward, George Hill, Trey Lyles, Shelvin Mack, Jeff Withey.

Playing as a team is a part of success in the NBA and it’s some Utah do incredibly well. However, The Jazz looks to be one of those teams that will decline this season. They still have Rudy Gobert and hopefully a healthier Derrick Favors but lost their main man in Gordon Hayward - what’s made it worse is they got nothing in return.

The only decent acquisition they made was that of Ricky Rubio, who fits well with Coach Snyder’s defensive emphasis and whose ball distribution is better than that of any Jazz PGs in years. Yet the focus should be on offence - Hayward papered the cracks last season and scoring will be a major problem in 2017/18.

Ready for the start of the new NBA season? Get the best Western Conference winner odds at Pinnacle.

Odds subject to change

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