The NBA’s Western Conference has a couple of big-market teams at the forefront of the race odds-wise that are no strangers to team and individual successes alike. But as we’ve seen last season, anything can happen in the conference filled with well-run organizations that have been consistent playoff contenders as well.
NitroBetting is here to deliver the latest news from the on and off the NBA hardcourts. This time, let’s take a look at the latest futures odds for the 2021-22 NBA Western Conference Championship race. Be on top of all the developments by tuning for the NBA odds, previews, and predictions for all the exciting basketball action ahead.
Favorites to Win the 2022 NBA Western Conference Championship
AP NBA Western Conference preview: The Lakers are really, really, really, really, really old. And might be really, really, really, really, really good, too.https://t.co/s1afGFjsT1— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) October 13, 2021
Los Angeles Lakers
- 2022 NBA Western Conference Championship Odds: +190
For as long as LeBron James is a Laker, the winningest franchise in the NBA will continue to be the consensus preseason favorites to win the West. Although James had only been relatively healthy for one of his three seasons in Los Angeles, that one healthy campaign was enough for the Lake Show to capture their 17th NBA title in 2020.
Now with a clean, healthy slate and the arrival of another former league MVP in Russell Westbrook, the Lakers are the rightful gatekeepers of the Western Conference once more. Just imagine what a full season of James, Westbrook, and Anthony Davis would mean for the rest of the league. Throw in a veteran scorer in Carmelo Anthony into the mix and Los Angeles is certainly geared up for another title-contending run.
Golden State Warriors
- 2022 NBA Western Conference Championship Odds: +535
Speaking of health, the Warriors are about to be back in full force when Klay Thompson rejoins Stephen Curry and Draymond Green in the starting five this season. Although Thompson is still a few months away from his season debut, many experts predict that Curry can carry the load for his team in the early going just as he amazingly did all throughout the previous season.
Not only is Golden State’s former two-time regular-season MVP coming off a campaign wherein he finished with a career-high scoring average of 32 points per contest, but the team is also getting an influx of young talent as well, particularly from first-round rookie Jonathan Kuminga. The Dubs could very well have the most potent offense in the league when healthy, and many basketball fans have already jumped back on their bandwagon with better days on the horizon as seen in their second-best odds to win the Western Conference for the first time since 2019.
So You’re Telling Me There’s A Chance?
Portland Trail Blazers
- 2022 NBA Western Conference Championship Odds: +2500
Speaking of offense, the Trail Blazers are never short in that department. Damian Lillard is a one-man playoff wrecking crew who’s about to celebrate his 10th season in the league and is ready to take Portland to the next level along with other standouts like C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic.
Unfortunately, the Blazers have the worst defense in the NBA across the last two seasons. That’s where the hiring of new head coach Chauncey Billups comes in. Billups was a key cog in the title-winning and defense-hardened 2003-04 Pistons team, and it’ll be interesting to see if Billups’ head-coaching debut will indeed turn Portland into a more balanced team that’s still in search of its first NBA Finals appearance in three decades.
New Orleans Pelicans
- 2022 NBA Western Conference Championship Odds: +2500
The coaching carousel continues to revolve around the rebuilding Pelicans, who’ve now hired their third head coach in as many seasons in newcomer Willie Green. The former NBA journeyman has the tall order of turning around a New Orleans franchise that has finished with losing records in each of those last three seasons.
Green does have an ace up his sleeve, though, in the form of 21-year-old phenom Zion Williamson. With a solid core of starters in former Most Improved Player Brandon Ingram and dependable big man Jonas Valanciunas, Williamson and the Pels could be in line for the biggest turnaround this season, especially if Zion can tap into his raw potential as possibly the best power forward in the conference.
Digging Even Deeper
Oklahoma City Thunder
- 2022 NBA Western Conference Championship Odds: +10000
Although the Rockets have the worst odds to win the West this season at (+12,500), the Thunder are just as in an unfavorable shape themselves heading into the new campaign. The fact that general manager Sam Presti admitted that OKC is still two years away from title contention shows that the team is in no hurry to make the playoffs this season; let alone challenge for the Western Conference Championship.
Nevertheless, the Thunder will be a fascinating team to watch if the likes of upstarts Shai Gilgeous-Alexander Darius Bazley, and this year’s sixth-overall pick in Aussie Josh Giddey, can somehow coalesce into a functional and competitive unit. Other NBA long-struggling teams such as the Knicks and Hawks have shot back up to relevancy last season, and the Thunder could be the next team to make that next leap if their young core of talent actually punch above their own weight class.
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*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.