Betting the Northwest Division



It probably comes as little surprise to NBA betting followers that the three best teams in the division, Denver, Portland and Utah, also were very solid plays at home, notching a 78-53-2 mark against the spread last season, an evolving trend worth watching. Teams are listed in predicted order of finish with straight up (SU), against the spread (ATS), and over/under (O/U) records for the 2008/09 season in parentheses:

DENVER NUGGETS (64-34 SU, 58-39-1 ATS, 50-48 O/U): The Nuggets made it to the Western Conference finals a year ago with Denver native Chauncey Billups (17.7 PPG, 6.4 APG) breathing life into the franchise from the point guard position. The presence of Carmelo Anthony (22.8 PPG), Nene (14.6 PPG, 7.8 RPG) , Kenyon Martin (11.7 PPG) and J.R. Smith (15.2 PPG) should assure another deep playoff run. Future Book Odds Profile: NBA Championship 8/1; Western Conference 5/1; Northwest Division 10/11.

By the Numbers (2008/09 Season)

Home Favorite: 27-17-1

Home Underdog:  2-1

Away Favorite:  11-8

Away Underdog: 15-12

Sportsbook Buster: The Nuggets were 30-19-1 ATS at home last season.

Sports Betting Angle: Denver was 44-24 ATS versus teams from the Western Conference last year.

PORTLAND TRAILBLAZERS (56-32 SU, 48-39-1 ATS, 41-46-1 O/U): Young, deep and talented, the Blazers are a team to fear. Guard Brandon Roy (22.6 PPG) was named to the All-NBA second team and power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (18.1 PPG, 7.5 RPG) appears on the verge of greatness. The addition of Andre Miller (16.3 PPG, 6.5 APG) upgrades the point guard position but former No. 1 pick Greg Oden 8.9 PPG, 7.0 RPG) is still trying to prove he belongs in the pivot over Joel Przybilla (8.7 RPG) and there are questions at small forward. Future Book Odds Profile: NBA Championship 15/1; Western Conference 9/1; Northwest Division 13/5.

By the Numbers (2008/09 Season)

Home Favorite: 23-15-1

Home Underdog: 4-1

Away Favorite:  11-8

Away Underdog: 9-15

Sportsbook Buster: The Trailblazers were 34-23-1 as favorites last season.

Sports Betting Angle: Portland was 1-4 ATS in games following three or more days rest.

UTAH JAZZ (49-38 SU, 42-45 ATS, 45-41-1 O/U): The Jazz secured the eighth and final playoff spot in the Western Conference despite losing 156-player games to injuries last season so, given a return to health, there’s hope for a higher finish this year. PG Deron Williams (19.4 PPG, 10.7 APG), C Mehmet Okur (17.0 PPG, 7.7 RPG) and PF Carlos Boozer (16.2 PPG, 10.4 RPG)  are the foundation and Ronnie Brewer (13.7 PG) looks like a comer at shooting guard. Paul Millsap (13.5 PPG, 8.6 RPG), Andrei Kirilenko (11.6 PPG) and C.J. Miles (9.1 PPG) will contribute and Coach Jerry Sloan will insist on inspired defense. Future Book Odds Profile: NBA Championship 15/1; Western Conference 9/1; Northwest Division 5/2.

By the Numbers (2008/09 Season)

Home Favorite: 20-18

Home Underdog:  2-1

Away Favorite:  10-8

Away Underdog: 9-17

Sportsbook Buster: The Jazz was 5-11 ATS within the division last season.

Sports Betting Angle: Utah was 9-17 as an away underdog last year.

 

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (23-59 SU, 44-36-2 ATS, 41-40-1 O/U): The Thunder is very young but the cornerstones, forwards Kevin Durant (25.3 PPG) and Jeff Green (16.5 PPG) , PG Russell Westbrook (15.3 PPG) and rookie James Harden auger well for the future. It just won’t happen this year. Future Book Odds Profile: NBA Championship 200/1; Western Conference 100/1; Northwest Division 50/1.

By the Numbers (2008/09 Season)

Home Favorite:  3-5-1

Home Underdog: 17-12-1

Away Favorite:  1-1

Away Underdog: 23-16

Sportsbook Buster: The Thunder was 13-5 ATS versus teams from the Southwest Division last season.

Sports Betting Angle: The “under” was 26-15 when Oklahoma City played at home last year.

 

MINNESOTA TIMBERWOLVES (24-58 SU, 37-44-1 ATS, 38-44 O/U): The Timberwolves have a trio of solid players in Al Jefferson (23.1 PPG, 11.0 RPG), Ryan Gomes (13.3 PPG) and Kevin Love (11.1 PPG, 9.1 RPG) and almost nothing else, including a clear game plan of how to avoid another dismal season. Future Book Odds Profile: NBA Championship 250/1; Western Conference 125/1; Northwest Division 65/1.

By the Numbers (2008/09 Season)

Home Favorite:  4-7-1

Home Underdog: 7-21

Away Favorite:  1-1

Away Underdog: 25-14

Sportsbook Buster: The Timberwolves were 11-29-1 ATS at home last season.

Sports Betting Angle: Minnesota was 9-14-1 ATS in games following a SU win last year.

 

This is the fifth of six NBA previews.

Next: The Western Conference’s Pacific Division.