Training camps have begun and tip-off is less than a week away, so it’s time to preview the upcoming NBA season. With all the movement in the offseason it is likely that some new teams will rise to the tops of their divisions. Let’s take a look at the Northwest Division. – All odds according to Pinnacle Sportsbook, although other places like Bodog offer online NBA betting on these props as well.
Oklahoma City Thunder (+525 to win Western Conference, +1361 to win NBA title) Last Year: 50-32, 4th in division- With Kevin Durant signing an extension this summer, it looks like this is going to be one the league’s best teams for years to come. Durant further established himself as one of the top five players in the league with his performance in the FIBA World Championships. Durant proved that he can take over when it matters and win the big games for his team. Surrounding Durant is a solid young core in Russell Westbrook, Serge Ibaka, Thabo Sefolosha, and Jeff Green. The Thunder also addressed their needs this offseason by acquiring a shooter in Daequan Cook and a big man in Cole Aldrich. Aldrich could be the key to success as this team does lack size. After taking the Lakers to six games last year, look for the Thunder to contend for the conference title this season as this young team continues to improve. Prediction: 56-26, 1st in division.
Portland Trailblazers (+1183 to win Western Conference, +2740 to win NBA title) Last Year: 50-32, 3rd in division- With all the injuries this team sustained last season, it’s incredible that they managed to finish at .500, let alone 18 games over. This team has a great starting lineup, led by Brandon Roy and LaMarcus Aldridge, but an even more impressive bench. The Blazers are at least two-deep at every position, which is why they were able to overcome the injuries last season. As long as the bigs (Greg Oden, Marcus Camby, Joel Pryzbilla) stay healthy, this team could very well win a title this year. The balance and depth of this team matches up well against the Lakers, making Portland a great value bet. Prediction: 54-28, 2nd in division.
Utah Jazz (+1461 to win Western Conference, +3212 to win NBA title) Last Year: 53-29, 2nd in division- This is a new-look Jazz team, but one that is still one of the league’s best. Deron Williams is one of the two best point guards in the league, and will look to lead a Jazz team that is without three of its top six scorers from last season. Still, the Jazz made some noise by acquiring big man Al Jefferson and veteran shooter Raja Bell. On paper, this team has a great inside-out game with Williams and Jefferson, but they each are accustomed to different tempos which could cause some problems. It feels like one more piece of the puzzle is needed before this team can be considered a serious title contender. Prediction: 49-33, 3rd in division.
Denver Nuggets (+1045 to win Western Conference, +2680 to win NBA title) Last year: 53-29, 1st in division- The team chemistry has always been in question and now the team morale has to be low after all the rumors surrounding Carmelo Anthony. Also, it has been reported that Kenyon Martin isn’t happy about the Al Harrington signing. This team has a lot of talent, enough alone to get them to the playoffs, but a team that isn’t happy won’t have much success. This team has been a force in the past, so if morale does pick up they could be a team to watch, but until further notice, stay away. Prediction: 49-33, 4th in division.
Minnesota Timberwolves (+10310 to win Western Conference, +32057 to win NBA title) Last year: 15-67, 5th in division- They won 15 games last season, traded away their best player, Ricky Rubio is still in Spain, and their big free agent signing was Darko Milicic. What else do you need to know? Prediction: 18-64.
Overall- This division might be the best in all of basketball. Last year, four teams made the playoffs and finished with over 50 wins. Those four teams should make the playoffs again this season and are worthy of consideration. The Thunder and Trailblazers have the best chance at title contention and offer good value.
Remember that you can get winning NBA picks from the best basketball handicappers out there. Also our NBA lines page will feature live point spreads on all the NBA betting action the entire season, a must have tool for NBA bettors this season.