It’s been a topsy-turvy season for the NBA and the Northwest Division reflects that a lot on the NBA betting lines. A quick look at the standings, the Utah Jazz on top and the Oklahoma City Thunder at the bottom may not reveal how chaotic this division has been.
As we examine each team’s betting record, specifically against the spread (ATS), you may just be surprised as to which teams have been better for your money.
Oklahoma City Thunder
Surprised? Considering the Oklahoma City Thunder have been an underdog in all but two of their games, they have been killing it on the online sports betting lines. Oklahoma City is 29-16-2 with a cover rate of 64.4%. They are the only team in the division that is in the green (they’re winning bettors money) in cover rate.
When given at 2-3 days’ rest, the Thunder have a sterling 8-2-0 (80%) cover rate and are also 10-4-2 (71.4%) against the Eastern Conference. Never mind that this team is 5-16 straight-up in ten-point games or just 7-24 against teams at .500 or better. The Thunder play hard and can often be overlooked on the betting lines and by better NBA teams.
Next up on the list are the unexpectedly good Minnesota Timberwolves. The team is both one game above .500 on the spread and on their actual record. Their overall ATS record is not good enough to win cash, but as a road underdog, Minnesota is 10-7-0 (58.8%).
The Wolves are also a dependable “can crusher;” they beat the weak teams or the teams they’re supposed to beat. Minnesota is 15-6-0 (71.4%) when lined as chalk and 12-7 against teams below .500. More notably, Minnesota is 8-4 this 2022 and could be a team worth keeping an eye on.
The Utah Jazz are still sitting pretty atop the division. They are three games ahead of Denver though injuries have started to slow this team down. The Jazz have covered and won just two of their last 11 games. Overall, they are taking a beating on the spread: 21-27-1 (43.8%).
Most NBA betting previews will tout the Jazz as a solid pick. They have been one of the more consistent franchises, ranking in the top five in both offense and defense when healthy. However, this has also led to many lofty spreads, which they’ve failed to convert: just 42.2% as a favorite and 32% as a home team.
Speaking of injuries, the Denver Nuggets have been stripped down to Nikola Jokic and role players. The “Joker” has been putting up ridiculous performances and Denver is somehow in a playoff spot with a 26-21 record. However, they are still bad on the point spread at 19-28 (40.4%), the worst in the Northwest.
Nikola Jokic tonight:
64% FG #NikolaJokic #NBAALLSTAR pic.twitter.com/R3KUXKt8Bj
— NBA Central (@TheNBACentral) January 20, 2022
If you’re betting online on the Nuggets, better take them straight-up. Denver is just 8-11 ATS (42.9%) as an underdog and 11-17 (39.3%) as a favorite. The Nuggets have won seven of their last ten games but covered just three of them.
Portland Trail Blazers
Every time we bring up the Portland Trail Blazers, it feels more apt to bring up Damian Lillard’s trade destinations. This team is not only going anywhere, it’s worse this season: eight games below .500 (20-28) and an inability to cover anywhere outside of being a home favorite: 9-7 (56.3%).
On the positive side, Portland has gone 7-6 since Lillard got hurt and is 8-11 without him. With how weak the west is, Portland has a shot at nabbing a spot in the play-ins. But with a 13-24 record against non-losing teams, it may be better for Portland to blow it up.