- BetOnline’s updated odds have the Jazz (-150) as the favorites in the Northwest
- The Nuggets (+120) are tied with Utah for the division lead with an identical 32-14 record
- Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander have the overachieving Thunder (+2000) in seventh place in the West
After dumping Russell Westbrook and Paul George in the offseason, this was supposed to be a rebuilding year for the Thunder, but Sam Presti’s club sits just five games out of the division lead entering Wednesday night’s action.
Listed at +2000 to win the Northwest, is there value in betting Oklahoma City to leapfrog the Jazz and Nuggets? Let’s look at the updated odds at BetOnline and place our bets.
NBA NORTHWEST DIVISION ODDS
|Team||Current Odds||Trending||Nov. 21, 2019|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+2000||↑||+6000|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+10000||↓||+1400|
OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER
Chris Paul sat out of Monday’s 107-97 loss to the Mavericks mourning the death of his friend Kobe Bryant. But before that tragic event, the 34-year-old was playing inspired basketball, averaging 17.2 points, 5.0 rebounds and 6.4 assists per game while leading the league in clutch scoring.
Best of all, he’s helped the development of sophomore point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who has almost doubled his scoring (19.6 ppg) and rebounding (6.1 rpg) output while playing an additional nine minutes per game.
Would Chris Paul decline his $44.2 million player option to guarantee a trade to a championship contender? “No chance. That’s not happening. Nope.”
How CP3 found a purpose in OKC: https://t.co/1iDxGMn7NM
— Rohan Nadkarni (@RohanNadkarni) January 21, 2020
Sitting in seventh in the Western Conference with a seven-game pad between them and the ninth-place Spurs, the Thunder should be applauded for making the playoffs — their 10th berth in 11 seasons in OKC — but it’s difficult to imagine them surpassing both Utah and Denver.
In fact, look for Presti to be a seller at the deadline. With Danilo Gallinari’s contract set to expire, the 6-foot-10 Italian has been one of the hottest names on the rumor mill after averaging 19 points per game with Oklahoma City.
UTAH JAZZ OR DENVER NUGGETS?
Prior to Monday’s 126-117 loss to an undermanned Rockets team that was missing both James Harden and Russell Westbrook, the Jazz had won 19 of their past 21 contests to move within four games of the Lakers for the first seed in the Western Conference.
Nikola Jokic vs James Harden : Flop Masterpiece. pic.twitter.com/PtRHqIUfAG
— TrashTalk (@TrashTalk_fr) January 23, 2020
It should be noted, however, that Quin Snyder’s club mostly beat up on sub-.500 opponents during that stretch. And given the Jazz share an identical 32-14 record with Denver, the Nuggets might be the better value at +120 if point guard Jamal Murray can return from a sprained ankle that’s already sidelined him for seven games.
Rebounding from a sluggish start to the season, Nikola Jokic has become a triple-double machine over his past six games, averaging 23.3 points, 11.8 rebounds and 7.5 assists.
Rookie Michael Porter Jr. has also been a revelation in his past five contests, averaging 16.8 points and 10 rebounds while shooting 50 percent from beyond the arc.
Assuming Denver can get healthy, they’re still the best bet to win the division.