NBA Futures Odds & Picks: Our Best Bets for the West After the Trade Deadline
Jamie Sabau/Getty Images. Pictured: Nikola Jokic #15 of the Denver Nuggets.
Thursday was a wild one as teams bartered and traded feverishly leading up to the 3 p.m. ET NBA trade deadline.
In the end, the West went from a logjam of competitive teams to the conference with (on paper) a potentially dominant team with Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Chris Paul. With that said, it’s only right hat we focus on the Western Conference as we look to make sense of all the moves and find some value in futures markets in the way of a busy day.
Matt Moore, Brandon Anderson and Joe Dellera deliver their thoughts on the bets they are targeting coming out of the deadline. You can check out their thoughts and betting picks below.
NBA Futures Odds & Picks
Nuggets to Win NBA Title
Brandon Anderson: Obviously the huge move this deadline was the Phoenix Suns trading for Kevin Durant. With one trade, the Suns immediately moved to West favorites and it’s easy to see why when you see Durant, Booker, Paul, and Deandre Ayton atop the roster.
It’s going to be nearly impossible to defend that group. No one can really guard Durant anyway, but they’ll try. Booker will get more one-on-one opportunities now. Ayton will get a ton of easy opportunities. Paul can always get to that elbow. Phoenix’s offense should be great — at the mid-range.
The Suns have an odd offensive profile for the modern NBA, lacking in 3s and free throws with an antiquated focus on the mid-range, and that will only be reinforced with the additions of Durant and T.J. Warren.
Phoenix will still be vulnerable to opponents that bomb 3s on variance alone, and the Suns just traded away every good wing on the roster so I have more than a few questions about this team’s defense and its depth — let alone whether the three oft-injured stars can stay healthy for six weeks and get out of the West.
I thought the Nuggets were clear West favorites before this trade, and I think they’re still favorites after, so this trade is buying us immediate value on Denver at +800 to win the title and +370 to win the West at DraftKings.
Nikola Jokic is the best player in the world, somehow having his best and most efficient season ever after winning the last two MVPs. Now Jamal Murray finally looks himself, averaging 25/5/6 on 50/45/90 his last 15 games as Denver piles up a 13–2 record in that span.
The Nuggets are just finally looking whole and already a couple laps ahead of the rest of the West. They’re massive favorites to be the No. 1 seed in the West, 8.5 games ahead of those favored Suns, so they’ll have home advantage the entire West playoffs and probably avoid Phoenix til the WCF. They also added a sneaky nice piece at the deadline in Thomas Bryant, a big upgrade behind Jokic.
Like usual, the team to bet on Trade Deadline Day is the one everyone else is making the moves to chase. I’ll take advantage of the Suns steam and buy “low” on the Nuggets.
Lakers to Make the Playoffs
Joe Dellera: I 100% agree with Brandon. The Nuggets are the team to beat and I won’t belabor the point. They are my best bet out of all the teams in the league to win the NBA Title.
But you didn’t come here to hear me just agree with Brandon, so here’s my angle. The Lakers dramatically improved their roster. They now have proven NBA talent on the team and improved specific weaknesses on their roster.
Namely, they now have a point guard who can successfully make shots while stretching the floor. They are much improved with D’Angelo Russell at the helm as he’s a 39.1% 3-point shooter on the season.
Additionally, the Lakers added Mo Bamba, Malik Beasley, and Jarred Vanderbilt at the deadline but also Rui Hachimura a few days ago. They’ve quite literally added their next five best players onto the team at the deadline to complement LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Couple these players with their existing talent in Dennis Schroder, Austin Reaves, Wenyen Gabriel and Lonnie Walker and this is a much more competitive squad.
The Western Conference is jam packed and the Jazz and Thunder both made moves towards tanking. The Lakers are two losses behind the Trail Blazers for the No. 10 spot but just four loss behind the No. 4 seeded Mavericks. I like their chances in any play-in game with James and Davis at the helm and I’ll take them to make the Playoffs at (+194 FanDuel).
One other bet that I think may have some value is the Warriors to miss the Playoffs at (+330 Bet365). They currently sit in the ninth spot and Stephen Curry is expected to miss at least their next four games prior to the All-Star break, it may be too tall of a task to get out of the play-in range and then it’s hedge-able.
Division of NBA Championship Winner
Matt Moore: I get the Suns. I get the Warriors. I get the Clippers. I get the Lakers (hey, they have LeBron James and actual NBA players now).
This is a berserk number, and I’m someone who agrees with Joe and Brandon that the Nuggets are still the best team. But I’m basically betting “not the Nuggets, Grizzlies, or Mavericks” here. Everyone else is irrelevant.
I get “Will Kawhi Leonard, Stephen Curry, LeBron James, or Kevin Durant be the best player on the team that wins the conference.” That’s a great number.
All of those teams have players that have been to the top. They know what it looks like, what it feels like, when you’re at home in a Game 6 with a trip to the Finals on the line but you have to close it out. Neither the Grizzlies, Mavericks, or Nuggets have been there. (Denver has been closest.)
So I will go ahead and wager that the conference winner will be one of these teams. If I had to bet one team? I’d bet the Nuggets. But I don’t have to here. I get to bet four. (And the Kings!)
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