The NBA season is coming down the home stretch and one thing is clear if you’re planning on betting on the NBA Championship: there are only five options. Sure, there’s going to be a slew of teams that make the playoffs but we’re just being realistic. It’s likely that a handful has a shot to win it all. Taking a look at the NBA standings and the futures, let’s go over what teams are worth your money.
The NBA betting lines show that the Brooklyn Nets are the odds-on favorite to win the Eastern Conference and those numbers are accurate. They’re the only team worth investing in from that side of the league.
The Nets were already the team to beat when they started off with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and a pretty decent cast. Then they swapped a bunch of auxiliary parts and draft picks to get James Harden, who has since become one of the frontrunners to win the MVP award.
The Nets are at the top of the East and they have only had Durant – a 29.0 points per game scorer – for 18 games. On top of that, the team picked up Blake Griffin and LaMarcus Aldridge and both have been rejuvenated.
Are there other contenders in the Eastern Conference like the Philadelphia 76ers and Milwaukee Bucks? Yes. Are they going to be a Nets team with five All-Stars/former All-Stars in the starting lineup? Absolutely not. The Nets are the only team worth betting from the East.
Los Angeles Lakers
The Western Conference is where things start to get a little trickier.
The Los Angeles Lakers are the defending champions but they’ve been tumbling down the standings due to injuries. Both LeBron James and Anthony Davis are currently out of the lineup and the team that once started 21-6 is 10-13 in its last 23 contests. On top of that, James and Davis aren’t on the cusp of return.
The Lakers have fallen all the to the No. 4 seed in the West and there is a risk for them to fall lower. The Denver Nuggets are tied with the Lakers while the Portland Trail Blazers are a half-game back.
With all of this, the Lakers are still the best bet in the West. They’re the defending champs, who cut through the conference without home-court advantage last postseason.
They can do it again. Moreover, this is a much stronger team – when healthy – as they have added a lot. Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell round out the roster while Andre Drummond gives them a huge presence at center. Even without home-court advantage, this is the NBA betting team to beat.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers had a shaky postseason last year (to say the least) but they’re still worth the price of admission given who they have on their roster. Remember, this is a league that’s based on stars and they have two of them: Kawhi Leonard and Paul George.
Things have been rocky at times – especially with so much roster turnover and a new head coach – but when everything clicks for this team, they’re one heck of a tough out. The only question is will they figure it all out team chemistry-wise in time?
The Jazz make this list not because of past accomplishments or pedigree, but because of how they are performing.
As of now, this is the best team in the NBA. They are 38-11 and have a 3.5-game lead in the Western Conference standings.
Donovan Mitchell might not be a superstar but he’s right on the cusp. Center Rudy Gobert is an MVP-caliber season (26.92 PER). Bojan Bogdanovic is healthy, Jordan Clarkson is the favorite for Sixth Man of the Year and Mike Conley Jr. is fitting in just fine (unlikely last year).
This team is a team, it is balanced and among the best defensively. That’ll go far. The only question is can the Jazz – as a unit – overcome the star power of teams like the Lakers and Nets?
The Nuggets are only fifth in the Western Conference standings, so you might wonder why they are included. The answer is because they showed well in the postseason last year and might be a stronger unit this time around.
The Nuggets are built around superstars in Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic. Jokic leads the league in PER at 35.06 while Murray is averaging 21.6 points per game.
The difference this duo has a reasonable cast. Michael Porter Jr. is a year older and is chipping in 16.6 points per game and the team added Aaron Gordon, who fills a big hole at the power forward position. This team is 4-0 with him in the lineup and overall, has won 13 of its last 16 games.
This team needs a lot to go right but if Murray goes off in the playoffs as he did a season ago, the Lakers stay banged up and the Clippers can’t figure things out, this team has the potential to win the West.