Is there really much to talk about when it comes to winning the NBA’s Western Conference title this season? Probably not. The Golden State Warriors have won it the past four seasons and are heavy -370 favorites for a fifth in a row at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
It’s almost not fair to the other Western clubs as the Warriors start five All-Stars a night in Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Kevin Durant and DeMarcus Cousins. Before these Warriors, no team had five All-Stars on the court at the same time since the 1975-76 Boston Celtics. That club did win it all, beating the Phoenix Suns in six games. Barring injury to Curry or Durant, the Warriors are winning the West.
For the sake of argument, however, the best value on the board might be the Oklahoma City Thunder at +1100 on the NBA Western Conference odds. They have an MVP candidate in Paul George having his best season, Russell Westbrook averaging another triple-double, and they got better before the All-Star break by singing forward Markieff Morris. The former Washington Wizard was traded to the New Orleans Pelicans and then released.
Morris last played on December 26 after suffering a neck injury, but assuming he’s healthy is a terrific addition as he was averaging 11.5 points and 5.1 rebounds. There’s a reason nearly every contender was courting him.
The key in the West is to finish second or third because then you avoid the Warriors until the conference finals. Oklahoma City comes out of the break in third, two games behind the second-place Denver Nuggets.
Denver (+1100 on those NBA odds) also recently got better because it saw the season debut of former All-Star guard Isaiah Thomas in the team’s final game before the break. In 2016-17 with the Boston Celtics, Thomas was one of the NBA’s Top 10 players, but a hip injury has derailed his career since. If he’s finally healthy, he could be a huge boost to the Nuggets’ second unit. Teams can’t match the Warriors’ starting five, so the only chance is to beat them with depth.
Why are the Los Angeles Lakers just +900 at online sports betting sites to win the West? Oh yeah, the LeBron James factor. The Lakers seem to be imploding a bit after all those Anthony Davis rumors and currently sit 10th in the West, three games out of the last playoff spot. Wagering on the Lakers to win the West is a sucker’s bet.