- MyBookie has installed the Nuggets (-125) as the new favorites to win the Northwest
- Denver leads the division with a 10-3 record despite a sluggish start by Serbian center Nikola Jokic
- The Utah Jazz (+120) need offseason acquisition Mike Conley to raise his game
The Trailblazers are the NBA’s living embodiment of the popular “Life comes at you fast” meme.
Back in the summer, things couldn’t be going any better. Coming off a (short) trip to the Western Conference Finals, the team moved fast to lock up guards Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum for the next five seasons.
Fast-forward a couple months and suddenly this headline is staring fans in the face: “Carmelo Anthony signs deal with Blazers.”
Yikes… needless to say, Portland’s season is off to a rough start. Let’s look at the updated division odds at MyBookie and decide whether Denver or Utah will win the Northwest.
NBA NORTHWEST DIVISION ODDS
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+6000|
Denver has now won eight of their past nine games after defeating the Rockets 105-95 on Wednesday night. Surprisingly, their success has come despite center Nikola Jokic struggling to find his game.
The 7-foot Serbian is off to a sluggish start, averaging 16.4 points and 8.8 rebounds per game (lowest in both categories since his rookie 2015-16 season) with career-low rates at every distance: 45.3 percent from the floor, 24.6 percent from beyond-the-arc and 75 percent of his free throws.
ICYMI: Charles Barkley on #Nuggets star Nikola Jokic: “His body would be the last thing I’d be worried about”
— Denver Post Sports (@DPostSports) November 18, 2019
Still, one would imagine the All-Star big man will eventually come around and considering the Nuggets are 10-3 with this reduced-version of Jokic, this is definitely a team to be bullish about.
With one of the league’s best defenses and a deep roster that boasts Jamal Murray and Malik Beasley in the backcourt, Denver is still a nice bet at -125.
After splitting a home-and-home with the T-Wolves, the Jazz are a respectable 9-5 while still being somewhat of a disappointment.
Expectations were sky-high in the summer after Utah brought in veteran point guard Mike Conley and three-point specialist Bojan Bogdanovic to join back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert and star guard Donovan Mitchell.
Donovan Mitchell did him dirty
— NBA SKITS (@NBA_Skits) November 21, 2019
Mitchell has done his part so far, racking up career-highs in points (24.8) and rebounds (5.6) while becoming one of the ten most valuable players in the league, according to FiveThirtyEight’s RAPTOR metric. Gobert also continues to be a beast on the boards, averaging a career-high 13.6 rebounds per game with five consecutive double-doubles.
The Jazz have notched impressive wins over the Bucks and 76ers, but have been up-and-down through the first month of the year.
If Conley can prove he has anything left in the tank in his 13th NBA season, the 32-year-old could help dethrone the Nuggets in the Northwest, however, Denver is the team with the higher ceiling.
NBA Northwest Division Best Bet: Denver Nuggets (-125)