The National Basketball Association is made up of 30 teams (29 in the United States, and one – Toronto – in Canada). These 30 teams are split up into two conferences. One is called the Eastern Conference (i.e., the “NBA East”), and the other is called the Western Conference (“NBA West”). Each conference, which features 15 teams in total, is further divided into divisions. Each division includes five teams.
The West is broken down into three divisions: the Southwest, Pacific, and Northwest. The eight teams that finish the regular season with the best record in the conference qualify for the playoffs. One team makes it out of the Western Conference Playoffs, qualifying for the NBA Finals, where it squares off with the lone team to emerge from the East. Bettors are able to wager on who will win each conference and division. We are here to help you understand the odds to win the West and each of its divisions, leading to a big pay day in 2019.
Understanding NBA West Odds
Before we dive into the West breakdown, we will quickly recap how to read the odds. Below, you’ll see each team name with a plus or minus sign next to it. If the team has a minus sign after its name, the number that follows indicates how much money you would have to wager to win $100. For example, the Rockets have -110 odds of winning the Southwest – that means you would need to wager $110 to win $100 if Houston won its division.
The plus sign, alternatively, shows how much you would win on top of a $100 bet. For example, the Spurs have +110 odds to win the Southwest. That means if you bet $100 on the Spurs, you’d cash out with $210 if they won the division.
Odds to Win the NBA Southwest Division
Houston Rockets -1000 (Open: -500)
San Antonio Spurs +500 (+650)
Dallas Mavericks OFF (+1900)
New Orleans Pelicans OFF (+800)
Memphis Grizzlies OFF (+3900)
The Rockets have finally gotten hot and risen to the No. 3 spot in the Western Conference, close to where everyone expected them to be in the preseason. Within the division, the Spurs have managed to hang around and are only 3 games behind. Just 12 games remain for each team, though, and just one head-to-head meeting (and that’s in Houston). So it seems unlikely that San Antonio could track down the favorites here, and certainly not likely enough at just 5/1 odds.
Odds to Win the NBA Pacific Division
Golden State Warriors -100000 (Open: -2000)
LA Clippers +8000 (+2900)
Sacramento Kings +150000 (+3400)
LA Lakers OFF (+900)
Phoenix Suns OFF (+2400)
Death, taxes and the Warriors winning the Pacific Division. OK, so Golden State isn’t quite the New England Patriots with the AFC East yet, but it sure seems like the gulf between the Warriors and the rest of this division continues to grow. The Clippers have been one of the NBA’s biggest surprises, and they’ve continued a solid playoff pace even after jettisoning Tobias Harris at the trade deadline for draft picks and cap room, but they still have no hope of keeping up Golden State, even as the Warriors have looked disinterested in half of their regular-season games. The Warriors’ magic number in the division is six, and that should happen in the next week or two.
Odds to Win the NBA Northwest Division
Denver Nuggets -700 (Open: +400)
Oklahoma City Thunder +700 (+220)
Portland Trail Blazers +700 (+550)
Utah Jazz +3500 (+250)
Minnesota Timberwolves OFF (+400)
Denver’s pace has slipped slightly, but so has Oklahoma City’s, and the Nuggets now hold a commanding 4.5-game lead over Portland, which has peeked ahead of the Thunder for second place (and home-court advantage in the first round), and a 5-game lead over OKC. That means those who gambled on the Nuggets at 4/1 to win the division in the preseason are sitting pretty. Is there any value in taking one of the other contenders at 7/1? Possibly, considering Denver has a tough finishing slate, including nine of its final 14 games on the road, including two head-to-heads with Portland and a game at OKC. The Thunder seem more likely to get hot, but they also have an extra game to make up.
Odds to Win the NBA Western Conference
Here are each team’s odds to win the NBA Western Conference Championship in 2018-19.
Golden State Warriors -350 (Open: -312)
Houston Rockets +600 (+500)
Denver Nuggets +1000 (+4000)
Oklahoma City Thunder +1100 (+3000)
San Antonio Spurs +2800 (+3000)
Utah Jazz +3500 (+3000)
Portland Trail Blazers +4000 (+5000)
Los Angeles Clippers +7000 (+8000)
Los Angeles Lakers +8000 (+700)
Sacramento Kings +15000 (+15000)
Minnesota Timberwolves +50000 (+3000)
New Orleans Pelicans +150000 (+4000)
Dallas Mavericks +150000 (+8000)
Memphis Grizzlies +150000 (+20000)
Phoenix Suns OFF (+6000)
Analyzing the NBA West Odds
Golden State, as mentioned before, has looked somewhat disinterested for much of the regular season, and yet the Warriors still have the NBA’s third-best record and sit in the top seat in the Western Conference with about 15 percent of the season to go. But are there reasons to believe Golden State might not make it back to the NBA Finals for a fifth straight season as they chase a third straight NBA title?
Not really. Golden State’s odds to win the West have slightly decreased over the past month, from -370 to -350, but the Warriors are still a heavy favorite.
Having said that, if you’re looking to place a bet, those odds are probably still too heavy to bet a huge chunk on the Warriors, given that an injury or a great performance (pressure’s on, James Harden) from an opponent could cost Golden State a series. After all, it’s almost happened a couple of times in the Western Conference finals during the dynasty.
But who is the long shot worth betting on? Probably Houston, which also seems like it’s simply gearing up for the playoffs with some lackluster regular-season stretches and has built its team to compete with Golden State — and took three of four from the Warriors during the season.
Denver, however, currently has a 3-game lead on Houston for the No. 2 seed in the West, meaning the Rockets possibly would have to get through a tough first-round matchup with the Clippers or Jazz and then find a way to win in Denver at least once to even reach the Western Conference finals, where unlike last year, Golden State would have homecourt.
How about Denver or Oklahoma City, the next two choices? Neither has shown the consistency needed to make you have faith they can get by Golden State in May, but both also have the firepower to allow you to dream.
The best value on the board appears to be Houston at 6/1 or Denver at 10/1, but it’s not worth a big gamble when the Warriors’ dynasty sits on the other side.
One thing is for sure: LeBron won’t have his chance to stop Golden State. The Lakers have slipped almost completely out of the playoff picture, and their odds to win the West have increased almost tenfold, from +900 to +8000, in the past month. LeBron’s first season in Southern California has been anything but a Hollywood story.
Strategy for Betting NBA West Futures
Futures bets are a type of NBA betting line based on an event that will be decided further down the road. For example, this includes the odds to win the division or odds to win the conference, as we’ve mentioned above. There are a few important strategies to keep in mind when you’re betting futures like these. Let’s go over them so you have a better chance at winning your bet:
Note How the Team Finished the Season
Seeing how the team finished the previous year is a telltale sign of how they’ll perform in the coming year (assuming the roster is similar). For example, a young team that won 10 games to the end the season could carry that momentum over. Or a team that lost seven of its last eight games could be foreshadowing even greater struggles. Keep an eye on a team’s momentum of and how it finished the previous season.
Track the Offseason Changes
There’s plenty of movement in the modern NBA, so keep your finger on the pulse of transactions. Some teams will fire coaches and change their entire team philosophy. Some teams, feeling they are on the right track, will merely add to what they have. Monitor the news from free agency as well as the NBA Draft. Teams can acquire key players that can change the course of their season (like the Lakers acquiring LeBron James this summer). Paying attention makes it much easier to predict a team’s outcomes.
Know the Strength of Schedule
Once the annual schedule is released, every team’s strength of schedule gets graded. That’s important to track, because some teams will play easier schedules and some will have harder foes to match up with. For example, the Thunder, Jazz, and Nuggets are in the same division, so they’ll play each other more frequently. That figures to be much more challenging than the Rockets playing against lesser competition. Take note of who has an easier or more difficult schedule, as that’s important for betting futures.