The NBA Northwest Division looks like a two-way race this season with the Utah Jazz the top favorite at -250 odds to win back-to-back division crowns, and the Denver Nuggets their closest competition at +320 odds.
The Utah Jazz jumped out to a hot start last season and, despite a late-season skid, they finished 52-20 and won the Northwest crown. The Jazz ended a string of two straight division crowns by the Denver Nuggets.
|2021 NBA Northwest Division Odds|
- Utah Jazz -250
- Denver Nuggets +320
- Portland Trail Blazers +750
- Minnesota Timberwolves +10000
- Oklahoma City Thunder +50000
With the exception of the lowly Minnesota Timberwolves, the other four teams each won the Northwest Division at least once since 2016. Since the NBA created the division at the start of the 2004-05 season — when the Seattle SuperSonics won the first Northwest title — the Timberwolves are the only team to never win the division.
Utah Jazz -250
The Jazz snagged the #1 seed in the Western Conference playoffs, but were picked off by the LA Clippers in the Western Conference semifinals. The Clippers ended their dreaded curse, while the Jazz were stunned.
The Jazz never won an NBA championship, even though Karl Malone and John Stockton came close in the late 1990s. If they can return to the NBA Finals, it’s because they have the most underrated Big 3 in the league with Donovan “Spida” Mitchell, Jordan Clarkson, and Rudy Gobert. Spida is a superstar scorer, Gobert is the top rim protector, and Clarkson is the NBA’s best sixth man who could start for every team in the league.
The Jazz are strong favorites at -250 odds, which means the Northwest division is theirs to lose.
Denver Nuggets +320
The Denver Nuggets saw their championship hopes fizzle when Jamal Murray blew out his ACL last April. They were swept in the Western Conference semifinals by the Phoenix Suns. If Murray returns to his old form by the time the playoffs begin, the Nuggets will be a tough matchup for anyone.
Forward Michael Porter, Jr is the favorite to win the NBA Most Improved Player award and he’ll carry most of the scoring burden with Novak Jokic until Murray returns.
The Nuggets are a great value pick to win the division at +320 odds because no one will overlook the Jazz this season, and the rest of the Northwest isn’t up to the task.
Portland Trail Blazers +750
The Portland Trail Blazers hired Chauncey Billups in the offseason after they fired Terry Stotts. Both Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were mentioned in trade rumors with the Philadelphia 76ers for Ben Simmons. The team isn’t currently interested in trading away Dame, who played his entire career in Rip City.
During Stotts’ tenure, the Blazers were always one player away from becoming a bona fide title contender. With Billups at the helm, he inherits a team with an outstanding backcourt, but the Blazers are still a couple of players away from becoming a threat in the West.
You can back the Blazers at +750 odds, but they might not even qualify for the postseason. DraftKings has their win totals at 44.5 o/u.
Minnesota Timberwolves +10000
Alex Rodriguez is a part of the group that purchased the Minnesota Timberwolves from Glen Taylor, but that’s been their biggest news in the offseason aside from the Simmons trade rumors. The T-Wolves were interested in teaming up Simmons with Karl-Anthony Towns, but the 76ers didn’t like the trade package. The T-Wolves hope they can acquire Simmons after the season starts, but that’s probably the only reason why their Northwest Division odds are +10000 and better than the OKC Thunder.
Oklahoma City Thunder +50000
The Oklahoma City Thunder were in a rebuilding year and won just 22 games last season under rookie head coach Mark Daigneault. The young and inexperienced Thunder were lucky that three other teams (Magic, Pistons, Rockets) were tanking, so the Thunder didn’t get the dubious honor as the worst team in the NBA. The Thunder are led by Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who is one of the favorites to win 2022 MIP, but it’s only a matter of time before teams inquire about his availability in the trade market. It looks like the Thunder and Timberwolves will slug it out in a bum fight as the Northwest cellar dwellers.