The 2020-21 NBA season is all set to kick off on December 22. After playing an entire offseason inside a bubble down in Orlando, NBA teams are going to be back with the home-and-away physical format, though, still inside empty stadiums. That being said, we are all excited that the best basketball league in the world is back. Now, let’s take a look at the latest 2021 NBA Western Conference betting odds, along with detailed information of some of the top contenders, sleepers, and long shots.
Latest Odds to Win 2021 NBA Western Conference
In a competitive Western Conference, can the Grizzlies sneak into the post-season? https://t.co/WPfIhwfUnV— NBA Australia (@NBA_AU) December 7, 2020
|Team||2021 NBA Western Conference Betting odds|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+275|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+300|
|Golden State Warriors||+500|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+1800|
|New Orleans Saints||+2500|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+4000|
|San Antonio Spurs||+12500|
Tier 1: Legitimate Championship Contenders
Los Angeles Lakers, LA Clippers
Unsurprisingly, the Los Angeles Lakers are the preseason favorites to win the Western Conference title for the second season in a row. The Lakers are still headed by a two-headed monster in LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Although the Lakers lost some pieces from their bubble championship run like Danny Green, Dwight Howard, and Rajon Rondo, the Lakers’ offseason gains far outweigh those losses. The Lakers shored up their roster that’s now considerably better than last season’s, as they added Dennis Schroder, Wesley Matthews, Montrezl Harell, and Marc Gasol to improve their backcourt and frontcourt.
Despite falling short of their goal last season, the Clippers remain a legitimate contender to win it all based on odds alone on this NBA Western Conference December 2020 preview. Like the Lakers, the Clippers remain in control of their superstar duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, with the latter just recently inking a massive four-year extension with the team. The Clippers will operate with a new head coach in Tyronn Lue, who replaces Doc Rivers. They made some moves in the offseason, though, not as splashy as the ones by the Lakers, acquiring Serge Ibaka and Luke Kennard. It’s important to note that Ibaka and Leonard used to be teammates and won a title together with the Toronto Raptors, so apart from an improved play on the court, the Clippers also expect a culture change in the locker room.
Tier 2: Threats To The Favorites
Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Dallas Mavericks
The Nuggets overperformed last season, as Nikola Jokic and company spoiled an all-LA conference finals matchup that almost everyone expected to happen by taking down the LA Clippers in the second round of the playoffs in the bubble. In the process, the Nuggets put increased pressure on themselves to carry over that momentum into the new season, where they are hoping Jamal Murray would be able to show that his exploits down in Disney World was more than just a phenomenon but is here to stay. Murray averaged 26.5 points on a 62.6 true shooting percentage in the playoffs last season.
The Warriors are eager to reclaim their status as the alpha dogs of the NBA after failing to make the playoffs last season. That was understandable, though, as Steph Curry and Draymond Green barely played, and Klay Thompson sitting out the entire campaign due to an injury. Instead, the Warriors played their way into a lottery pick, which they parlayed into No. 2 overall selection at the 2020 NBA Draft, James Wiseman out of the Memphis Tigers program. Thompson is set to miss another season after suffering a devastating Achilles injury in the offseason, but with Curry and Draymond both healthy, a full season of Andrew Wiggins, and the addition of Kelly Oubre, the Warriors are looking like a force to be reckoned with again at least in the Western Conference.
The Mavericks have the golden boy of the NBA in Luka Doncic, who will undoubtedly be the center of attention in Dallas. Doncic showed immense progress in just his second year in the NBA. The Mavs will go as far as where Doncic takes them, but at the same time, Dallas is not just all about the Latvian. Kristaps Porzingis won’t be able to play in the early goings of the 2020-21 season, but once he returns sometime in January, the Mavs will get a huge boost.
The Mavs has done some retooling in the offseason, none most notable than the trade they did with the Philadelphia 76ers that saw Dallas trade for Josh Richardson. The 27-year-old small forward fills a big need for the Mavs, particularly on the defensive end of the floor, as they now have a dependable perimeter defender and a great secondary scorer to play alongside Doncic.
Tier 3: Long Shots
Sacramento Kings, Oklahoma City Thunder
The Kings have a long way to go before they can be taken seriously. However, they have dynamic and young stars who might turn Sacramento into the surprise of the season. De’Andre Fox is already among the best point guards in the league. The jury is still out on Marvin Bagley, but when he’s healthy, he can be a problem for other teams. Sacramento also welcomed back Hassan Whiteside, who can provide rim protection and interior presence on both ends of the floor for a Kings team that lacked frontcourt scoring last season. Then there’s Buddy Hield, who should be able to get his starting role after getting benched in favor of Bogdan Bogdanovic, with the latter now in the fold of the Atlanta Hawks.
The Thunder are not just long shots to win the conference, per this NBA Western Conference December 2020 preview. The NBA betting odds are also stacked against them to make the playoffs, considering the number of key players who left the team over the offseason. Gone are Chris Paul, Steven Adams, and Dennis Schroder. They acquired Ricky Rubio and Danny Green via a flurry of trades but dealt them away shortly after. The Thunder seem to be ready to ride the tank in the upcoming season. If anything, the Thunder can count on the continued progress of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.
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