Odds and Top Contenders to Win the NBA 2021-22 Western Conference
For much of the 2010s, the Golden State Warriors dominated the Western Conference. However, losing Kevin Durant in 2019 left the conference wide open.
There are still a few teams that stand out but it’s a much deeper Conference than the East. That means we could get creative when eyeing the 2021-22 Western Conference odds.
Phoenix emerged out of the west last year, but in a supremely injured-riddle playoff run, it’s fair to suggest a similar outcome isn’t on the horizon.
That’s one big reason why a Western Conference odds breakdown is necessary heading into the 2021-22 NBA season. If you’re in agreement, join me for a look at the latest odds, as well as the top contenders for the new year.
Odds to Win the 2021-22 Western Conference
The Los Angeles Lakers are the current favorites to win the Western Conference in 2021-22.
They signed a plethora of free agents this offseason but their biggest move was trading for Russell Westbrook. By all accounts, they were one of the most improved teams in NBA free agency this year.
As stacked as the Lake Show seem to be, the west is still loaded. You can see how deep the Conference is with seven teams under +1500.
The pricing can change, of course, but if there is anything you like from the odds above, consider heading over to BetOnline.
So, who is worthy of a bet in 2021-22? Let’s first break down why the Lakers are favored to win the west, and then touch on who could challenge them this season.
Why Are the Lakers Favored?
Because they have LeBron James? Typically, the team that has James is going to be the favorite for the Conference Title and/or the NBA Title.
Last season, the Lakers were on their way to having the best record in the Western Conference for the second straight season. However, injuries to James and Anthony Davis derailed their season.
They fell all the way to the seventh seed and had to play their way into the postseason. James and Davis played in the playoffs, but neither player was healthy. In fact, Davis barely played in the final three games of the Lakers series loss to the Phoenix Suns.
If you’re looking for reasons why the Lakers won’t win the NBA Finals, I’d start with their health woes.
Injury questions aside, there is no denying L.A. got better. This offseason, the Lakers went to work on upgrading their roster.
He most notably broke the record for most career triple-doubles. Westbrook led the league and set a career-high with 11.7 assists per game. He also set a career-high with 11.5 rebounds per game, while adding in 22.2 points per game.
Adding Westbrook allowed the Lakers to form one of the best super teams in the NBA.
While not as noteworthy as Westbrook, the Lakers went to work filling out the rest of their roster.
Check out the guys they acquired via free agency.
- Kendrick Nunn
- Wayne Ellington
- Malik Monk
- Kent Bazemore
- Carmelo Anthony
- Trevor Ariza
- Dwight Howard
With the exception of Nunn and Monk, most of these players are at the end of their careers.
Obviously, Anthony is the most noteworthy signing of the bunch. The 37-year-old is no longer the all-star and scoring champion we saw in the early 2010s. However, he is capable of making an impact off the bench, especially with his 40.9 three-point percentage from last season.
Ellington and Bazemore give the Lakers more three-point specialists, as they both shot over 40 percent from three-point range last season. Howard will give the Lakers a valuable asset in the paint.
There’s no doubt that James is hungry to win another championship. The 36-year-old is in a great position to lead the Lakers to the best record in the Western Conference.
Top Western Conference Contenders
The Los Angeles Lakers definitely have the upper hand in the Western Conference, but a handful of teams feel they have what it takes to finish ahead of them.
Let’s look at Los Angeles’ biggest challengers to escape the west this year.
Phoenix Suns (+550)
If there’s any team that knows how to beat the Los Angeles Lakers, it’s the Phoenix Suns.
Phoenix surprised a lot of people last season, finishing second in the Western Conference with a 51-21 record. They made their first playoff appearance since 2010.
They fell behind 2-1 in their first-round series against the Los Angeles Lakers before winning three straight games. Star guard Devin Booker had a performance for the ages in the series-clinching victory.
He went off for 47 points on 8-10 three-point shooting. Booker also added in 11 rebounds to make it a double-double.
The Suns made their first Finals appearance since 1993. Phoenix won the first two games of the Finals, but lost the ensuing four to lose the Finals to the Milwaukee Bucks.
It’s hard to come that close and not win, but the Suns have the talent to win the Western Conference.
Booker looked like one of the best shooting guards in the league in the playoffs last season, and easily clocks in as one of the best NBA players under 25. He averaged 27.3 points per contest.
Check out his top performances from the postseason.
|Stat||Game 6 (Lakers)||Game 4 (Bucks)||Game 1 (Clippers)||Game 5 (Bucks)|
|FG%||15-22 (68.2)||17-28 (60.7)||15-29 (51.7)||17-33 (51.5)|
|3PT %||8-10 (80.0)||0-3 (0.0)||3-7 (42.9)||2-4 (50.0)|
The big difference for the Suns last season was Chris Paul.
Paul’s stats don’t stand out, averaging 16.4 points and 8.9 assists. However, you can’t deny the fact that he is one of the most valuable players. There’s a reason he finished fifth in MVP voting last season.
DeAndre Ayton and Cameron Payne both stepped up their game in the postseason. Both guys make up a young core with the veteran Paul leading them.
Phoenix finished just one game behind the Utah Jazz for the best record last season. You know they want to take the crown as they pursue another Finals appearance.
Utah Jazz (+750)
We can sit here and debate about whether the 2020-21 Utah Jazz were for real but the fact of the matter is they finished with the best record in the NBA at 52-20.
The Jazz dropped their first playoff game to the Memphis Grizzlies and some started to wonder if they were pretenders. However, they rebounded and won four straight games to advance to the Conference Semifinals.
The Game 6 loss was especially heartbreaking because they led by 25 in the third quarter. A win would’ve sent the series to a seventh game against a Clippers team that didn’t have Kawhi Leonard.
Things just didn’t work out but Donovan Mitchell, Rudy Gobert, and company are ready to help the Jazz repeat as Western Conference Champions.
Coming off a monster 2020 playoffs that saw him average 36.3 points, Mitchell entered the 2020-21 season with high expectations. The 24-year-old certainly took a step forward.
Check out his numbers.
- 26.4 points
- 5.2 assists
- 4.4 rebounds
- 1.0 steals
- 43.8 field goal percentage
- 38.6 three-point percentage
His points, assists, and shooting percentages marked career highs. It was surprising to see him not make the All-NBA team.
While Mitchell is the leader of the offense, Gobert is the star of the Jazz’s defense.
Gobert won his third Defensive Player of the Year award last season thanks to a career-high 2.7 blocks per game. He also led the league with a 5.2 defensive win share. Gobert should be in prime position to win another Defensive Player of the Year award this season.
The Jazz’s roster is talented, with Mike Conley, Bojan Bogdanovic, and Jordan Clarkson rounding out their star players.
At age 33, Conley finally earned his first all-star game appearance. Clarkson won the Sixth Man of the Year award last season with a career-high 18.4 points per game.
People are underestimating the Jazz but they basically have the same roster that had the best record in the Western Conference. I wouldn’t be surprised if they did it again.
Denver Nuggets (+1200)
For the last three years, the Denver Nuggets have been right on the edge of that elite tier in the Western Conference.
They’ve finished second, third, and third in those three years, respectively. Do the Nuggets have what it takes and jump to the top of the Conference? I think they do.
They finished 47-25, five games back of the Utah Jazz last season. But the Nuggets could’ve challenged the Jazz if not for a slow start.
On March 24, the Nuggets were 26-18. That’s certainly not a bad record but they probably hoped for more. From there, Denver finished the season 21-7.
Denver defeated the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round. However, they were no match for the Phoenix Suns, as they swept the Nuggets in the Conference Semifinals.
So, what does Denver have to compete for the top spot in the Western Conference? It all starts with the league MVP.
Coming off back-to-back seasons where he averaged around 20 points, Jokic came into this season looking to take it to another level.
Judging by his numbers, I’d say he did that and then some.
- 26.4 points
- 10.8 rebounds
- 8.3 assists
- 1.3 steals
- 56.6 field goal percentage
- 38.8 three-point percentage
We’re talking about a 6’ 11” center that has an elite passing ability and can knock down three-pointers at a high clip. How do you defend someone like that?
Murray is the Nuggets other star, but he will likely miss the majority of the season. However, the reason I still believe the Nuggets can finish at the top of the Western Conference is Michael Porter Jr.
In his second season, Porter took a big step forward. He increased his scoring average from 9.3 to 19.0. He shot 54.2 percent from the field and 44.5 percent from three-point range. Porter has all the looks of a future superstar and this could be the season he realizes his potential.
If the Nuggets pull this off, Michael Malone would have a pretty good case for Coach of the Year.
Betting on Who Will Win the Western Conference in 2021-22
The Western Conference is wide open, especially compared to the Eastern Conference. Saying that, I’m going with the Los Angeles Lakers.
It’s tough to bet against LeBron James himself. Add in Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook and you have a championship contender.
Love the Lakers or prefer another bet? Whoever you back this year, just be sure you’re using the best sites for betting on the NBA.