Affirming their status as an NBA Championship dynasty with a fourth title in eight years, the Golden State Warriors have brought the gang's key members back together.
No wonder the Dubs are favorites at +300 with BetMGM to defend their crown. Steph Curry remains in his prime. Andrew Wiggins too. Klay Thompson has rested up over the summer to avoid any injury issues. And Draymond Green is undoubtedly energized. Perhaps a little too much, given that ferocious punch that floored Jordan Poole in the preseason. An unnecessary distraction but the kind of Draymond drama that the Warriors have become well-used to during their spell at the summit of the NBA.
Losing Gary Payton II and Otto Porter Jr has knocked their depth. Still, it also creates room: not just for the talented James Wiseman and Jonathan Kuminga but an excellent free agent signing in Donte DiVincenzo.
For a team whose superstars are all on the wrong side of 30, health will again be Golden State’s big question mark – especially with Curry. Last term, they had a net differential of +6 points in the regular season once the Splash Brothers were reunited, with a 13-8 record and a +8.8 net rating.
Contrast that from when Curry went down in the springtime: the duo of Thompson and Green had a differential of just +2 but with a 3-5 record and a woeful -13.7 net rating.
If the Warriors’ backcourt is on active duty, then there’s great value in taking the over of 52.5 wins at -110 from PointsBet – a tally they have obtained every season that Thompson has been on the court since the first championship in this run in 2014-15.
The Joker is back. His pack is restored. The Denver Nuggets should feel buoyant that putting Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and Michael Porter on a court together for the first time since 2021 makes them unmissable from anyone’s NBA Western Conference predictions.
Simply, their NBA Western Conference odds offer excellent value to win big: an attractive take at +240 with Caesars to claim over 54.5 victories. Add Jokic’s back-to-back MVP crowns to the production from two years ago, and there should be optimism aplenty. Last term, the Nuggets scored 2.4 fewer points, with an offensive rating that dropped by 2.5. Return to their Murray-inspired levels, and they should be prime gun-slingers once again, with Aaron Gordon rounding off a killer quartet.
Less than 18 months removed from going all the way to the Finals, there’s plenty of evidence to suggest that the Suns deserve NBA Championship odds that reflect last season’s early playoff exit rather than their league-best 64-18 record. Third favorites with Caesars at +450 to even win the West, the internal trauma caused to Deandre Ayton’s messy contract renewal doesn’t bode well for close harmony in Phoenix.
Chris Paul is now 37. His agelessness is the basketball equivalent of Botox. Indeed, a few wrinkles must be coming his way, and it is a warning shot that his points per game dropped by 1.7 last term, even with a booster from an additional 1.5 free throws. The perennial All-Star is a +210 favorite with PointsBet to be the NBA assist leader, but that hardly feels a guarantee.
And with the ownership grenade that exploded under the franchise’s feet, a heavy leadership burden is falling on head coach Monty Williams. I’d take the Under on 55.5 regular season wins for Phoenix, available at Caesars at -400.
The Memphis Grizzlies have become everybody’s second team, and there is one key reason: the always fun-to-watch Ja Morant. Who knows how far the Grizz’s high-flying human highlight reel might have taken his team if not for his untimely injury during the NBA Playoffs?
Now the tricky part: to build on, or even accelerate, the momentum from a breakthrough campaign, especially when Jaren Jackson Jr will miss significant time through injury. Morant’s scoring average leapt from 19.1 to 27.4 points per last term – another jump puts him in the conversation for leading scorer: he’s an intriguing option at +1500 with PointsBet. However, the Grizzlies may simply consolidate this term over making further strides.
The honor of rising stars may fall to the club that so nearly knocked them off in the playoffs: the Minnesota Timberwolves, whose play-caller Chris Finch is a +950 favorite to be NBA Coach of the Year at Caesars Sportsbook. Adding Rudy Gobert figures to upgrade a defensive rating that was 13th in the league. If their offensive rating can stick around 8th behind the burgeoning tandem of Anthony Edwards and Karl-Anthony Towns, that’s quite the combo.
The return of Kawhi Leonard following a missed year with injury has generated an unusual amount of optimism for the Los Angeles Clippers. NBA Western Conference odds of +325 at PointsBet – second only to the Warriors – is asking for a massive improvement from last term’s 42-40 squad.
Given that Leonard has never managed to feature in more than 74 games in a single campaign and had a career-worst defensive rating of 110 two years ago (albeit accompanied by career-best shooting), does he shift the needle that much? The LA Clippers have added John Wall, who is undoubtedly past his prime. But it all feels … a reach. Enough to take the Under on their regular season win line of 52.5, priced at -110 at PointsBet.
As for their neighboring LA Lakers, they remain an enigma wrapped up in a puzzle with elusive decryption for new head coach Darvin Ham. Russell Westbrook looks like no better fit. Anthony Davis’s health will remain an X-factor, and he was 4.9 points and 1.9 boards off his career peaks even when available last year. Relying on LeBron James to maintain his extraordinary brilliance and carry this club on his shoulders as he enters his 20th season is asking a lot.
The loss of Jalen Brunson from the Dallas Mavericks was a singular setback with no obvious replacement. It throws even more responsibility on Doncic, who is favorite for his first NBA Most Valuable Player award at +500 with Caesars. The Slovenian will be in the frame if he can somehow drag Dallas to exceed their line of 48.5 wins. With fewer options, he’s an enticing candidate to be the NBA’s leading scorer at +475 with PointsBet, especially given his postseason average of 32.5.
Four of the five teams with the shortest odds of ending up with the NBA’s worst record come from the Western Conference. The San Antonio Spurs are +350 to hit rock bottom, Oklahoma City Thunder at +375 (both at Caesars) with the Houston Rockets, and the star-stripped Utah Jazz in the mix too. The issue for all four is that they’ve all enough talent to pick up sufficient wins to potentially hinder a shot at the number one draft pick that seems destined for French prodigy Victor Wembanyama.
The lone beacon of hope from the teams bubbling below involves the New Orleans Pelicans with a leaner, and they hope, meaner Zion Williamson. Before the foot injury that wiped out last season, he had notched 27 points during a conservative 33.2 minutes per game. As a wild card for the leading scorer at +1800 with PointsBet, that’s a long shot worth considering with these attractive NBA Western Conference odds.
1st Memphis Grizzlies/2nd New Orleans Pelicans
The Denver Nuggets to win
The Golden State Warriors to win
The Western Conference Finals in 2023 don’t have a specific starting date. They will begin soon after both Western Conference Semifinals series are completed. However, the 2023 NBA Playoffs are scheduled to start on April 15.
The Phoenix Suns finished the 2021-22 NBA season with the best record in the Western Conference and the entire league at 64-18. However, they lost to the Dallas Mavericks in the Western Conference Semifinals, eventually allowing the Golden State Warriors to win the 2022 NBA championship.
There are 15 teams in the NBA’s Western Conference. Those teams are the Dallas Mavericks, Denver Nuggets, Golden State Warriors, Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies, Minnesota Timberwolves, New Orleans Pelicans, Oklahoma City Thunder, Phoenix Suns, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, and Utah Jazz.
The winners and losers of the draft/draft grades and early season player trading.
The Beasts of the East: the Boston Celtics, Milwaukee Bucks, and Brooklyn Nets star in our NBA Championship predictions.
If you’re new to basketball betting, you’re probably in search of a handy guide to help you. Look no further because here is everything you need to know.
The reigning champions don’t seem ready to abdicate their throne. The Golden State Warriors possess the underrated quality of continuity – plus the unerring shooting of Steph Curry. Not universally favored in the NBA Western Conference odds, the Dubs remain strong contenders to fly the flag in the NBA Finals in June and offer value at +200 at PointsBet to win the Pacific Division.
Like last season, they won’t be short of challengers, even if the Phoenix Suns drop off the pace. The Denver Nuggets have all the pieces back together to be even better than their 47-25 squad from 2020-21 and are worth backing at +145 at BetMGM to win the Northwest Division.
The Memphis Grizzlies and Minnesota Timberwolves are in that intrigue category to build toward championship contention. A fit-again Zion Williamson could also put the New Orleans Pelicans into the divisional frame. A long-shot bet, but fun to back, is a one-two for the Grizzlies and Pelicans in the Southwest Division, +450 at BetMGM.
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Written by Mark Woods - ROI: +7.96%
Mark has covered the NBA and professional basketball globally for 25 years and has written extensively on the sports betting market.
He has featured in various outlets, including ESPN, NBA.com, and the Chicago Tribune, as well as for the BBC and The Guardian in his native UK.