Let’s take a look at the latest odds in the Western Conference and see if there is any way of attacking this market and offer up the most logical NBA pick for our readers.
The NBA’s Western Conference race has evolved into a historical race between Stephen Curry and the defending league champion Golden State Warriors and Tony Parker and the San Antonio Spurs with the conference’s third-place team, the Oklahoma City Thunder playing some really good basketball but still miles behind these two tremendous teams who have gone a combined 93-12 as we head into the All-Star Break. So, is taking a shot on the Spurs at around 9/5 odds worth a shot or is just laying the Paul Bunyan-like lumber NBA odds of almost 1/2 (10/19) that the Splash Brothers will repeat in the West?
It’s Hard To Imagine A Western Conference Finals Without The Warriors & Spurs
Handicapping this marketplace sure seems an awful lot like handicapping the Western Conference Finals or simply trying to ask the rhetorical question, “Can the San Antonio Spurs beat the Golden State Warriors in a 7-games series this season?” For now, despite the Warriors 120-90 thrashing of the apathetic Spurs at the ORACLE Arena in Oakland on Jan. 25 as Davidson product Curry had 37 points in the only previous meeting between the two mega-clubs so far this Regular Season, the question remains unanswered. These two elite teams will meet again three more times this Regular Season: in a month and a week at the AT&T Center in San Antonio on Saturday, March 19 (8:30 p.m. ET/5:30 p.m. PT); Thursday April 7 at the ORACLE Arena in Oakland (10:30 p.m. ET/7:30 p.m. PT); and, three days later in the second-to-last game of the Regular Season, on Sunday, April 10 at the AT&T Center in San Antonio (7 p.m. ET/4 p.m. PT, TNT). So, if the Warriors are going to make NBA history and lock down the top spot in the Western Conference, and with it, Homecourt Advantage, they are going to have to go through Kawhi Leonard (20.2 ppg, 6.7 rpg, 2.5 apg), LaMarcus Aldridge (17.0 ppg, 8.4 rpg) and Danny Green (7.5 ppg, 3.9 rpg, 1.8 apg) and the rest of the focused Spurs. If ever an NBA Western Conference Finals were anticipated, this year’s gonna be the one.
Odds to Win Western Conference (L2 updates to show odds progression; far right oldest)
A List Of “Not Foregone Conclusions” In The Modern Day Western Conference
1—The remarkable Warriors and Head Coach Steve Kerr winning Home-court Advantage in the Western Conference is not a foregone conclusion. Golden State (48-4 SU) enters this weekend’s All-Star Break just 3½ games head of Head Coach Gregg Popovich and the Spurs (45-8 SU).
2—The Warriors (48-4) breaking the Bulls 1995/96 NBA record, Record of 72-10 is also not a forgone conclusion. Injuries, fatigue, complacency and just plain bad Luck and a number of other things could all come into play, but it seems this team will probably break the record, barely. Golden State is a sparkly 31-20-1 ATS (60.1%) at the betting windows right now while Michael Jordan, Scottie Pippen and the Bulls finished with the best ATS mark in the NBA (48-31-1 ATS) that historic 1995/96 season (also 60.1%) and W18 straight SU at one point and finished with a +12.2 scoring differential. Golden State (115.5 AF-103.0 AA) and All-Stars Curry (29.8 ppg, 5.3 apg, 6.6 rpg), Draymond Green (14.2 ppg, 7.7 rpg, 7.2 apg) and Klay Thompson (21.3 ppg, 3.7 apg, 2.2 apg) currently have a +12.5 PD. So, the 1995/96 Bulls and the 2015/16 Warriors are an awful lot alike and when all’s said and done, may have had the two best players in NBA history in Jordan and Curry. Sorry, Wilt. (A Power Forward with 7.2 apg. Let that sink in for a while.) The NBA All-Star Game will be played this Sunday (Feb. 14) evening north of the border at Home of the Toronto Raptors, the Air Canada Centre (TNT, 8:20 p.m. EST/5:20 p.m. PST; Odds: West -6, Total: 273½, Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook).
3—One of these two teams losing a Home game the rest of the Regular Season is not a forgone conclusion. Both, Golden State (24-0 at Home) and San Antonio (28-0 at Home) could very well run the table and both finish with perfect Home records at the ORACLE Arena and the AT&T Center in Oakland, respectively. This is a weird season in the NBA, and like the gap between the Rich and the Poor in most nations on our watery planet, the gap between the Haves and the Have Nots in the NBA seems to grow a little more every season and the Futures Book odds really reflect this reality. Playing the European Soccer league markets (this year), NCAA Basketball and Football, the NHL, MLB and NFL Future Book markets (To Win the Championship) can often be a profitable place and have many teams who can win those individual titles. The NBA is not one of them with the Warriors, Spurs and Cavaliers likely to probably be the league’s Big Three for some time to come.
4—Stephen Curry winning the MVP this season is not, not a foregone conclusion.
Why Nobody Else In The Western Conference Has A Remote Chance
Because they just don’t have close to the fabulous team Rosters that Warriors General Manager Bob Myers and Spurs General Manager RC Buford have assembled, and because they just don’t commit enough energy to playing good Defense, the other teams in the Western Conference have little if any chance to put up a fight against these two goliaths. Often lost in the Warriors (+150 to win NBA Championship, 888sport) and Spurs (+400 to win NBA Championship, Marathon) gaudy SU records and huge Point Differentials is the fact they do focus so much on Defense—just Air Jordan, Dennis Rodman and the 1995/95 Chicago Bulls did. The third-place team in the West, Oklahoma City is regarded by some as a team that might be able to hang and score with the Warriors and Spurs, but Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Oklahoma City allow 101.9 ppg and have become so used to being able to out-gun opponents because of their two megastars that they must feel they don’t have to play Defense for 60 minutes. Fear of the mighty Warriors—the sharpest shooting team in NBA history—and the Spurs must be strong too and when you play in a market like (no disrespect) Oklahoma City, well the markets of the Bay Area and San Antonio are going to almost expect to hang championship banners every year where just getting one would make the Thunder’s sooner state existence. And the 4th-place Los Angeles Clippers (35-18, 13½ GB), 5th-place Memphis Grizzlies (31-22, 17½ GB), 6th-place Dallas Mavericks (29-26, 20½ GB), 7th-place Portland Trail Blazers (27-27, 22 GB) and now 8th-place Utah Jazz (26-26, 22 GB) all have their share of problems, although much credit to the Grizzlies, Blazers and Jazz for playing much better basketball these L2 months. Its must help having a ‘z’ in your nickname.
Anyway, this is basically a market of three decisions for your NBA picks: 1—You don’t play it; 2—You back the Warriors, seek out the best current price (-125, 32Red) and just hope Pop and the Spurs don’t bite you; or, 3—You take your chances on Tim Duncan & the Spurs and find the highest price (+250, Bwin) and go for it, knowing there could be injuries and that those 3 coming games may set some Warriors-Spurs Tone none of us anticipated. Still, the Postseason games will (obviously) matter more. With memories of what happened last season dancing through their heads, Duncan-Ginobili-Parker a year closer to retirement, Aldridge on board now, Kawhi in early 1993 MJ mode and maybe the best Roster in league history, San Antonio should certainly be able to give it a go and will be driven through it all by 67-year-old mastermind Popovich.
NBA Western Conference Futures Pick: San Antonio Spurs +250
Best Line Offered: at Bookmaker
NBA All Star Game Pick: West All-Stars -6 (Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook)