NBA Western Conference Futures Update: Are the Jazz Legit Contenders?
We’ve made it through approximately the first quarter of the NBA season, so it feels like a good time to look at the Futures market on FanDuel Sportsbook. The odds to win the Western Conference have shifted a bit since the start of the year:
Top 10 Odds to Win:
- Los Angeles Lakers: +125
- Los Angeles Clippers: +250
- Utah Jazz: +800
- Denver Nuggets +950
- Dallas Mavericks +1100
- Phoenix Suns +2000
- Portland Trail Blazers: +2600
- Golden State Warriors +3600
- San Antonio Spurs: +8500
- Houston Rockets: +10000
This was viewed as essentially a two-team race heading into the start of the season, and that remains the same on February first. The Lakers are the clear favorites at +125, while the Clippers are just slightly behind at +250.
The Lakers have gotten off to a fantastic start this season. They’ve won 15 of their first 21 contests – which puts them in third place in the Western Conference – but they’re just 0.5 games out of first. They also rank second in Net Rating, outscoring their opponents by an average of +7.63 points per 100 possessions. LeBron James and Anthony Davis remain the heart and soul of this team, but Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has emerged as a reliable third option. He’s been lights-out from behind the arc this season, drilling 47.8% of his 3-point attempts, and the Lakers have increased their Net Rating by +10.1 points per 100 possessions with him on the court (per Cleaning the Glass).
The Clippers are actually slightly ahead of the Lakers in the standings, but they’re slightly behind them in terms of Net Rating. They’ve been dominant on the offensive side of the ball – their average of 117.61 points per 100 possessions ranks third in the league – and they also rank 10th in defensive efficiency. Their star duo of Kawhi Leonard and Paul George may not get the same love as the Lakers’, but this team is a real threat to win the title this season. They were the favorites heading into the 2020 NBA postseason before falling apart in the bubble.
The Jazz have made the biggest move up the leaderboard in the Western Conference. They entered the season as +1600 to win the conference, but they’ve cut those odds in half at the start of February. That tends to happen when you play as the Jazz have played recently. They’ve vaulted all the way to the top of the Western Conference standings, and they rank first in the league in Net Rating. They also won 11 straight games before losing to the Nuggets on Sunday. They may not have the same ceiling in the playoffs as teams like the Lakers and Clippers, but this team is playing as well as anyone at the moment.
The odds for the Nuggets and Mavericks are largely unchanged – both team’s odds have decreased slightly – while the Suns’ odds have improved. They haven’t played their best basketball yet, but they have plenty of talent with Devin Booker, Chris Paul, and Deandre Ayton.
Conversely, the Warriors and Rockets have dropped like rocks. Golden State has not recaptured the same magic without Kevin Durant and Steph Curry, while the Rockets no longer employ James Harden. Neither team is viewed as a real threat at this point in the year.