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NBA Division Winner Betting – Latest Odds, Predictions, and Picks
The NBA season is around halfway through, and there is plenty to talk about.
Iconic franchises like the Spurs, Celtics, and Thunder endured tough starts but are starting to find their form.
The Mavs look rejuvenated after hitting the jackpot with their draft pick Luka Doncic.
The Nuggets, Clippers, and Grizzlies were the surprise packages in the West where champion Golden State has already lost 14 games.
The Raptors and Bucks are dominating the Eastern Conference trailed by the steady Pacers and the Philadelphia 76ers.
There are already signs of what we can expect until the end of the season, so I believe it is a good time to look at what the bookmakers are offering for the division winner markets and other interesting futures worth checking.
The odds included here are courtesy of Bovada sportsbook.
Atlantic Division Winner Odds and Analysis
The Raptors are proving to be a formidable force in the NBA this season. They are the best team on the road so far. The addition of Kawhi Leonard has definitely increased their chances of achieving something big this season.
Danny Green, who also came from the Spurs, is contributing hugely on the defensive end. When you add the high-scoring and tenacious forward Siakam and established star Kyle Lowry, things are really looking good for Toronto.
The Sixers are performing well so far but are probably not having the season they expected. They are solid at home but have had many troubles on the road. They have lost more games on their travels than they have won, and there are no indications that this can change soon.
Jimmy Butler is still finding his feet in the team’s system, and Markelle Fultz is injured again, which casts doubts over whether he will actually have an NBA career.
Embiid and Simmons are doing the best they can to carry the team, and it does work on occasions. However, as it stands, I don’t believe the team has the potential to rival the Raptors and Bucks.
The Celtics were one of the favorites to win the Eastern Conference before the season started. Talk of this quickly died down, though, as they endured a very difficult start to the season.
With Hayward returning to full fitness, they have gradually stabilized their performances and are now much closer to where they want to be.
The star players seem to be performing well enough, but Boston lacks the efficiency they had from the bench last season. For this reason, I don’t think that they will do much more than clinch a playoff spot this year.
The Nets are definitely having a positive year. Even with the loss of Caris LeVert, they managed to rack up seven straight wins in December, which is their best-ever streak since moving to Brooklyn.
D’Angelo Russell is constantly improving in the point guard position and is assisted wonderfully by Jared Dudley. Spencer Dinwiddie is proving to be an excellent addition from the bench, as well.
New York Knicks
The Knicks were always going to struggle without Kristaps Porzingis. Their star player injured his knee last season, and there is still no concrete information on when he is coming back. In any case, it will be hard to salvage anything from this campaign.
There are some exciting players on the roster like Knox, Hezonja, and Hardaway Jr., but the team looks a long way off from mounting a significant challenge in the East.
They will probably use the remainder of the season to give minutes to some of their younger players and will be re-grouping for next year when Porzingis will be healthy, and a new draft pick will be available.
Betting Pick and Prediction
Toronto has pretty much wrapped the division title, and I can’t see any of the other four teams overtaking them. Kawhi Leonard’s impact has been so huge that I now view the Raptors as Championship hopefuls.
Even with stern competition from Giannis and the Bucks, the team is better defensively and is more experienced.
I think that the days of Toronto going out early in the postseason are behind them. As I mentioned, I believe the Raptors with Kawhi are able to challenge any team in the NBA.
So, because the odds for them winning the division are too short for my taste (although it’s practically settled), I will actually go with them winning the Championship this year.
Central Division Winner Odds and Analysis
The Bucks are having their best season since the early ‘90s. They are a definite contender to finish as the top seed in the East. The core of Giannis, Middleton, and Bledsoe has been hot from the start. I also like how Malcolm Brogdon is performing.
We have to give credit to the organization which recognized that they have a good foundation and worked to get some experienced players to go along with that. Ilyasova and George Hill have been very shrewd buys in my opinion.
The Pacers have been the definition of solid this campaign and are a joy to watch. They are proving equally competitive in both home and away games, which is further proof of the fact that they have a working formula.
Even though Oladipo has not been on top of his game in parts of the season, there are plenty of other players who can step up. I have been particularly impressed by veterans Bogdanovic, Young, and Collison, as well as the young core of Sabonis and Turner coming off the bench.
The Pistons are doing as expected, I guess. Despite Blake Griffin’s heroics in the offensive end, the team lacks quality. They are sluggish, and apart from Andre Drummond, they do not have the players to build an adequate defense.
I would personally like to see more of Luke Kennard. He has impressed me this season and looks like he can be a proper NBA player. It has been fun watching Jose Calderon as well. Even at 37 years of age, he still has an eye for the killer pass.
I expect the Pistons to finish just below the .500 mark and possibly even clinch a late playoff spot, but that’s about it.
How the mighty have fallen. Everyone expected that Cleveland would not be a playoff team once LeBron left, but their regression this year is something else. They will probably finish the season with the worst record of both conferences.
They do have some players showing potential. Their leading scorer, Clarkson, is having a good season. Cedi Osman is getting more and more minutes on the court, and their newest draft pick, Collin Sexton, looks promising.
It is evident that Cleveland will now focus on rebuilding and possibly getting a lottery pick this year. And who knows? With the right decisions, they may be back on track next year.
The Bulls are having another season to forget. The product on the court is bad, and they are on course to turn a once-great franchise into the laughing stock of the NBA. I don’t think anyone expects they will make the playoffs, but they can still put the remaining games of the season to good use.
The main focus should be on developing Wendell Carter Jr. The 19-year-old has shown great potential and should be given the minutes to gel with his teammates. The backcourt of Zach LaVine and Kris Dunn also looks interesting.
In any case, the Bulls’ management and coaching staff have a long way to go before they get the team back where it belongs. It is time the franchise made some smart decisions.
Betting Pick and Prediction
Again, I don’t think we will see a surprise here. The Milwaukee Bucks are on course to win the division comfortably. They also have a very realistic chance of clinching the top seed in the East.
Although I believe that the Raptors are the better team, it will not surprise me if Giannis and company pull it off in the end.
Since the odds are not worth it, I am passing up the opportunity to make a final pick in this market.
Southeast Division Winner Odds and Analysis
I like how the Hornets are looking this season. They have some exciting young players on the roster like Malik Monk and Miles Bridges, who are already showing their potential. I think it was smart of the franchise to add Tony Parker. The legendary point guard may not be the same player he once was, but his influence on and off the court will definitely help develop the team’s talents.
Of course, when reviewing the Hornets, we have to talk about Kemba Walker. The star had some mind-blowing performances this season and is by far their best player. It will be important for the team to start entering the playoffs and competing, as I don’t imagine they can hold onto Walker for much longer.
The Heat are in a similar position. They have some good players, but not enough to bring back the glory days.
I do like how Justise Winslow is progressing this season. He was named as Miami’s starting point guard after Goran Dragic suffered an injury, and he is performing quite well. I guess having Dwyane Wade there also doesn’t hurt his prospects.
The Heat have a legitimate chance to catch a playoff spot, but they will have to improve their home record. These last few seeds in the East will be up for grabs, and the Miami outfit is currently the worst-performing home team among the contenders.
The Magic might just have something going this year. The trio of Vucevic, Aaron Gordon, and Evan Fournier is performing well. I particularly like the impact Terrence Ross has from the bench.
The bad news for the team is that it seems Mohamed Bamba will not be the player everyone expected. It is still early days, of course, but the first-round draft pick is struggling hard and is seeing less and less time on the court.
I imagine that there will be a lot of focus on developing him, and I am curious to see whether he will live up to the expectations in the coming years.
If everyone is healthy, the Wizards are hands-down the best team in the Southeast division. Unfortunately for them, that is not the case.
Their star player, John Wall, has been ruled out for the season. Dwight Howard is nursing a back problem, and Otto Porter Jr. has played fewer minutes than any other season bar his rookie year.
I like the fact that the team traded for Trevor Ariza. He is an excellent 3-and-D player and will be able to contribute hugely in these circumstances.
Of course, the burden will fall on Bradley Beal to carry the team. I don’t doubt that the guard will have a good season. The big question is whether he will get enough help from his teammates.
The Hawks don’t look like they will be part of the postseason this year, either. They are probably kicking themselves for not keeping Luka Doncic, given how the Slovenian has transformed the Mavericks. For me, the jury is still out on their chosen player, Trae Young.
He does look promising but also makes a lot of fouls and turnovers. His defense is not that good, and I expected better shooting from him. To his credit, he has been thrown straight into the league and is playing big minutes.
I am prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt for now, given that he does have a good eye for passing the ball.
It seems the Hawks will be building around him and young forward John Collins. If they can develop, and the team adds more talent to their roster, I would entertain the idea of them entering the playoffs.
For now, they will have to wait.
Betting Pick and Prediction
Despite their injury problems, I am itching to back the Wizards here. They have shown they can compete without John Wall and have added a very experienced player in Trevor Ariza. Otto Porter Jr. is healthy again, and Tomas Satoransky is proving to be a very adequate backup.
The other teams have a head start, but none of them is significantly better or more consistent than the Wizards. Given the odds, I can’t pass up the opportunity here.
Northwest Division Winner Odds and Analysis
Denver is definitely the biggest surprise package this season. They started off great, and now after the halfway point of the season, they are still leading the Western Conference. Nikola Jokic is the player creating the big hype there.
He has been phenomenal throughout and recently recorded his 20th career triple-double – an amazing achievement for such a young player. The other player providing the offensive firepower has been Jamal Murray.
Although it looks like everything is going well, I have a few concerns. There have been many injuries in the course of the season, and the Nuggets haven’t had a steady line of defense for most games.
This has not turned into a big problem for now since the offense is so good, but it might haunt them down the road.
Oklahoma City Thunder
The Thunder has been one of the most exciting teams to watch this season. Despite a rocky start, their two best players, Westbrook and George, look to have found the right chemistry. The surprising thing is that Oklahoma is actually one of the best defensive teams so far in the league.
They have achieved this without their best defensive player, Andre Roberson, who is still struggling to get healthy and hasn’t played at all this season. In his absence, Jerami Grant and Terrance Ferguson are getting more minutes and have been performing well.
Dennis Schröder was a good addition to the roster. He has had his ups and downs, but I like the fact that the Thunder now has an adequate backup guard who can come in and make a difference.
I expect that with the return of Roberson to the fold and the trio of Westbrook, Adams, and George playing to their limits, the Thunder may surprise a lot of people and actually finish the regular season as one of the top seeds.
Portland Trail Blazers
The Trail Blazers are pretty much performing as expected.
I always thought they would again reach the playoffs but will fail to convince us that they have the quality to compete for the top. They have a very good foundation with Lillard, McCollum, and Nurkic and are definitely one of the positive teams in the league.
However, I feel like their potential is limited, as the roster simply does not have the needed depth. There have been games in which Seth Curry and Nik Stauskas have been hot coming off the bench, but it is hardly a consistent trend.
I would very much like to see this roster strengthened so that we can witness what Damian Lillard and company can achieve when there is sufficient help.
After impressing last season, the Jazz have been a bit sluggish this campaign.
The trio of Donovan Mitchell, Joe Ingles, and Rudy Gobert is performing below expectations. Ingles still hasn’t found his best shooting, and Gobert is nowhere near the performances that won him the Defensive Player of the Year award.
Mitchell was outstanding last year, and he was doing the rounds as a legitimate contender for Rookie of the Year. Although he is beginning to find some form, the team’s record so far shows the risks of heavily depending on a young player.
Coupled with some injuries to Ricky Rubio and some role players, it looks like the Jazz might miss out on the playoffs this season. The competition in the West is relentless, and if they can’t get the best out of their roster, they will probably have a season to forget.
It’s been a turbulent campaign for the T-Wolves. The Jimmy Butler saga, among other things, has prompted the owners to fire Tom Thibodeau, who was occupying a dual role by serving as both GM and coach. With Butler gone, the franchise will focus on getting the best out of Andrew Wiggins.
After all, with the contract that they gave him, Wiggins should be performing like an All-Star player. There are some signs that he is improving, but he is still a long way from being a decisive factor. Looking at the rest of the roster, I don’t actually find a lot of quality there. Players like Teague, Okogie, and Gibson are average at best, so the burden will fall heavily on Karl-Anthony Towns.
It looks like the franchise will need a few years to rebuild and change its culture, so I expect they will not be able to qualify for the playoffs this season.
Betting Pick and Prediction
The Nuggets are the clear favorite to win the division as it stands. However, I don’t believe they will be able to maintain their rhythm for the whole season. Given the fact that the Thunder are gelling well and will soon welcome their best defender back, I can totally see them overtaking Denver at some point.
That is why I am picking them as the Northwest Division winners.
Pacific Division Winner Odds and Analysis
Golden State Warriors
The champions had a slow start, but as we all expected, they have stabilized over time. The biggest concern there was that Klay Thompson’s shooting was very poor. Despite a record 14 3s in a game against the Bulls, Klay was very inconsistent.
However, their worries have been eased recently as Thompson looks to be back to his shooting best now. It took him a while, but once he gets into the groove, he can be virtually unplayable.
Given the fact that DeMarcus Cousins will soon be available for selection, I expect that tough times await Golden State’s opponents. A starting five of Durant, Curry, Green, Thompson, and Cousins speaks for itself, and nobody will be surprised if they win the top seed this year.
Los Angeles Clippers
The Clippers started the campaign brilliantly. They managed to beat the Rockets twice in the opening stages of the season and achieved wins over the Warriors, Thunder, Spurs, and Lakers. It was quite a statement from a team without an All-Star on the roster.
Tobias Harris and Danilo Gallinari were providing the spark up front, and Lou Williams was terrific off the bench. Avery Bradley and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander were the main creators, and Patrick Beverley and Marcin Gortat were providing the steel and grit in defense.
However, Williams, who is the Clippers’ second-most productive player, was hit by an injury in December, and the team experienced a drop in performance. They were unable to compensate his loss and racked up some defeats.
Despite that, I do believe that the great start they had and the team they have built will be enough to carry them into the playoffs if no major incidents occur.
Los Angeles Lakers
It was inevitable that LeBron James would bring much hype with him wherever he went. The basketball world was quick to praise GM Magic Johnson for finalizing the deal, and people expected the Lakers would be ready to challenge for the top seed this season.
With half of the season now gone, we are seeing a different picture. Although the Lakers are one of the most fast-paced teams in the league and are great to watch, they can be very frustrating as well. The trio of Brandon Ingram, Kyle Kuzma, and Lonzo Ball is promising, but they are very much a work in progress.
LeBron can carry a team by himself, but even he needs some help on the court. Despite the Cavaliers being largely awful last year, he did have some experienced players who could contribute when needed.
The team without James looks average. The defense is not good, and there aren’t enough quality shooters there. I suppose LeBron and Magic have an agreement for the roster to be strengthened again next season.
For now, the minutes the young players are getting will be beneficial for them, but I doubt they will be able to pull off something memorable in the playoffs.
The Kings are definitely showing some promise. Marvin Bagley III, who was the second overall pick in the draft, is currently not living up to expectations, but there are some players that are.
26-year-old Buddy Hield, who is in his third NBA year, is already making headlines. The player was able to hit 134 3-pointers on the halfway point of the season and is on course to beat the franchise record of 240.
Another player who has developed significantly is De’Aaron Fox. He was the team’s first-round draft pick last year. He didn’t have a memorable rookie season but has been amazing so far this year. Fox is tenacious in defense and has turned into an effective shooter. The future definitely looks bright for him.
Another first-round draft pick, center Willie Cauley-Stein, is also enjoying a good season. His ability to rebound the ball and set up screens for his teammates is a large part of why fans dare to dream again this season.
I’m still not convinced they will make the playoffs, but simply putting them in this bracket is good enough progress for me. Given how their young players have been improving, I wouldn’t be surprised if Marvin Bagley is a very different player next year as well.
The Suns were awarded the number-one pick in the NBA Draft for the first time in franchise history. As many expected, they drafted DeAndre Ayton. The big man didn’t have a brilliant start to the season, but he got more accustomed to the role as games went on.
He is far from being able to carry the team but has managed to rack up some impressive numbers. I believe he will come good and be an efficient NBA player; I’m just not sure it will happen with the Suns.
The team has been in bad shape for a while now, and no draft pick has been able to change that for them. On top of Ayton, they have one of the best young shooters in Devin Booker. However, this does materialize into progress for the franchise.
The truth is that their roster is simply not good enough. Their defense is pretty much non-existent, and they lack efficiency on offense.
Ayton and Booker can be valuable pieces, but management has to add to that and quick. I can totally see both their young stars jumping ship if things don’t start to pick up soon.
Betting Pick and Prediction
I don’t think any team has a realistic chance of overtaking the Golden State Warriors here. As I said, Cousins will be available soon, Klay has found his rhythm, and I can see the champions finishing the season strongly.
No betting value can be taken from the division winner market, but I am tempted to pitch a different future here. I expect Golden State will eventually finish as the top seed this season.
Given how Steph Curry has been performing this season and the way the MVP award is given, I think he has a realistic chance of winning it.
In a year when other teams have emerged as favorites for first place, if the Warriors manage to clinch it, I won’t be surprised if their star point guard finally gets what he deserves. The odds are pretty good, so I will throw in the pick as a bonus.
Southwest Division Winner Odds and Analysis
The Rockets had an abysmal start to the season, and that’s sugarcoating it a bit. They were so bad that talk of them missing the playoffs started to make the rounds. The Championship contender from last year was well and truly gone.
However, they now look to be back on track, and there is only one man to credit for that – James Harden. The guard has been pushing the limits of what a player can do in a game of basketball. He is practically taking teams by himself with Chris Paul and Eric Gordon out injured.
It will be interesting to see whether he will be able to sustain this form. If he does, he will be the front-runner to clinch the MVP award once again. However, I do have my doubts.
It is ridiculous to expect that Harden can keep up this run. Furthermore, Chris Paul and Gordon will be available again, and the team’s dynamic will change. We will have to wait and see whether this will complement Harden or derail him.
San Antonio Spurs
After a lot of drama in the summer and a barrage of injured players, the Spurs look to be picking up the pace.
At one point, it seemed like they were never getting into the playoffs. Three of their best defenders in Kawhi, Kyle Anderson, and Danny Green were gone, and Pop had to rely on Bryn Forbes to run the point.
Not exactly an ideal situation for a team that wants to challenge for the top.
The Spurs did get off to a sketchy start. Their offense was working fine most of the time, but their big problems unsurprisingly came from the defense. They were letting in far too many points, and despite the best efforts of Dante Cunningham, it was evident that they needed more.
As always, Popovich did not panic and stuck to his game plan. For him, it was important to build the team chemistry and make the players trust each other on the court. It seems to have worked wonders, as the Spurs are now one of the hottest teams in the league.
The backcourt of Derrick White and Bryn Forbes looks to be the answer to the defensive woes. Big man Jakob Poeltl is also starting to perform when given the chance. Pop has again succeeded in making a functioning unit out of mostly undrafted players and low picks.
It is another testament to the work the Spurs organization puts into scouting and player development. I expect them to finish the season strongly now that they have found their groove.
New Orleans Pelicans
After a good start to the season, the Pelicans have dropped from the playoff spots. Looking at the table, one can quickly identify where the problem lies. The team just can’t win on the road. They have Anthony Davis and a good roster overall, but something just isn’t clicking for the team on their travels.
My opinion on the matter is that although the starters, alongside Davis, can put up crazy numbers, the bench is simply not strong enough.
Davis, Randle, Holiday, Payton, and Mirotic can be a deadly starting five that can compete with any team. But when the time comes to shift things, there is no adequate backup.
On top of that, it seems to me that AD is becoming increasingly disinterested in the team. I get where he’s coming from. He is a great player, possibly a future MVP, but things are just not happening for him with the Pelicans.
I wouldn’t be surprised if a trade is already on his mind, especially if the Pels don’t reach the playoffs this season.
The Mavs are finally back! After years of mediocrity, I can now enjoy watching the team without someone paying me to do that.
Without a doubt, the main reason is Luka Doncic. I must say I understand why other teams passed up the opportunity to get him. There were some sensational bigs in the draft, and as good as he was, Doncic was still a European talent without any NBA contact.
In this case, I believe they missed out, since Luka is simply that good. He has breathed new life into the franchise, and I have no doubts he will be getting the Rookie of the Year award.
Right off the bat, he looked comfortable on the court and has built a solid understanding with DeAndre Jordan on the offensive plays. His ability to pick out a pass and set up easy plays for other players is just a joy to watch.
The only issue I can see for the Mavs is how they will accommodate both Doncic and Dennis Smith Jr., but I guess this is a good problem to have. They will possibly not make the playoffs this year, but I’m just glad that the organization has a bright future ahead, and I can’t wait to see how things will develop in the next few years.
The Grizzlies surprised everyone with their start of the season. They reconstructed almost their entire roster by bringing in Kyle Anderson, Garrett Temple, Jaren Jackson Jr., and Jevon Carter.
This new-look team started solidly in defense and was unpredictable. That led to a string of wins which put the team in amongst the playoff talks. However, reality began to set in and exposed the problem the Grizzlies have been struggling with for years.
Aside from Marc Gasol and Mike Conley, nobody is able to put the ball in the basket. The team is still good on defense, but when their veterans are misfiring, they have no chance.
They won only 22 games last season, so this year is definitely a step in the right direction. However, a good quarter of a season will not change the fact that they have a lot of work to do planning for life after Gasol and Conley.
Betting Pick and Prediction
Given the recent developments in the West and the odds on offer, I will be backing the San Antonio Spurs to win the division. The Rockets started the season disastrously and are currently a one-man army. As good as Harden is, I don’t expect he can keep this up for much longer.
The Spurs have again found a winning formula and finally look solid in defense and competitive on their travels. I believe Pop will be able to maintain his players’ form until the end of the season.
Wrapping It Up
The season is shaping up well and is far more competitive than last year. The teams in the East are better, and there is no telling what will happen in the West.
I hope you enjoyed my halfway-point summary and have found betting value in the picks I offered. Be sure to let me know your opinion in the comments below, and don’t forget to regularly check our blog for the latest odds, predictions, and analysis on the NBA games.