The Denver Nuggets won the Northwest Division over the past two seasons and now, Nikola Jokic, Jamal Murray, and the Nugs are favorites to win another division title at -134 odds (according to a recent update by DraftKings). The Utah Jazz and Donovan Mitchell offer up decent value at +225 odds, while Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers are +350 odds to win their first division title since 2018.
The Northwest Division is beginning its 17th year of existence in the NBA. When the Northwest came to fruition in 2004-05, the Seattle Sonics were still a part of the NBA’s West Coast fabric. After the Sonics relocated to Oklahoma City, the Northwest Division was stretched from Oregon to Minnesota, and down to Oklahoma. The vast expanse of the division, which includes three time zones, makes it one of the most difficult to play in.
|NBA NORTHWEST DIVISION ODDS|
- Denver Nuggets -134
- Utah Jazz +225
- Portland Trail Blazers +350
- Minnesota Timberwolves +5000
- Oklahoma City Thunder +15000
The Denver Nuggets went deep into the postseason last year. The never-die Nugs were on the ropes against the LA Clippers, yet rallied back from down 3-1 in the Western Conference Semifinals. They eventually ran out of gas in the Western Conference Finals against the Lakers. But, along the way, Denver picked up many new fans thanks to the dynamic duo of Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray.
The Mile High Murray and Jokic Show
Denver’s biggest problem in the postseason was their lack of a consistent third scorer. Jokic and Murray were always going to get their points, but the trio of Paul Millsap, Gary Harris, and Michael Porter, Jr. was inconsistent and noticeably absent when the fourth quarter rolled around.
“Michael Porter really showed himself well in those 19 playoff games he had a chance to play in Orlando,” said head coach Michael Malone. “Porter has the chance to be an all-league talent. And I’m excited to see what he can do this year.”
If there’s ever a time for MPJ to finally come into his own as a future All-Star, it’s this season.
Last season, we told you to keep an eye on the Nuggets as a sleeper pick to win the west. Sure enough, Denver went all the way to the Western Conference Finals before meeting their fate against LeBron James and the Lakers.
With the Lakers fighting a championship hangover, the Nuggets look like another worthy pick this season to represent the west in the NBA Finals. This time they won’t fly under the radar. Then again, the Nuggets are offering up amazing value at only -134 odds to win the Northwest division. If you jumped on the Denver bandwagon after their performance inside the NBA Bubble, then grab them now before their odds are bumped at the start of the season.
Value Picks: Utah or Portland?
If you don’t live in the greater Salt Lake City area, then you’re probably unaware of Spida. That’s the alter ego of Donovan Mitchell, the stone-face killer who can jack up 57 points without sweating. Mitchell and Jamal Murray provided one of the best guard matchups during the NBA Bubble. Murray came out ahead, but don’t sleep on Mitchell this upcoming season.
The Jazz still have their core unit in place, including Mike Conley, Rudy Gobert. Jordan Clarkson, Joe Ingles, and Bojan Bogdanovic.
The Jazz are +225 odds to win the Northwest division, which would mark only their second division crown since 2008.
So long as the Portland Trail Blazers have Damian Lillard, they’ll always be a threat. Along with CJ McCollum, the Blazers have one of the best 1-2 guard combos in the NBA.
Carmelo Anthony found a new home with the Blazers. Melo proved to the world that he still had gas in the tank. Meanwhile, his new teammates embraced the veteran and future Hall of Famer.
Enes Kanter returns to Portland to help shore up their front line. They also added Robert Covington in free agency.
The Blazers are worthy of a flier at +350 odds to win the Northwest division, especially if Denver is gassed and the Jazz falter.
Long Shots: Minny and OKC Rebuild
Oklahoma City will be in tank mode this season and eying the top pick in the 2021 NBA Draft. OKC utilized a three-guard offense last season, but now they only have one-third of their firepower remaining with Shai Gilgeous-Alexander. OKC traded veteran point guard Chris Paul to the Phoenix Suns. The Lakers acquired Dennis Schroder, who was a Sixth Man of the Year candidate.
The New Orleans Pelicans acquired big man Steve Adams from OKC. His new teammate, Zion Williamson, commented on Adams’ sheer strength. When a guy as big as Zion says you’re strong, then you know the Pelicans landed an old-school banger underneath the net.
The Timberwolves secured the #1 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft and selected Anthony Edwards from Georgia. His addition is clearly not enough to compete with the top teams in the Northwest Division. The T-wolves still have Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell, but they’re doomed for another sub-.500 season.
Minnesota is +5000 odds to win the Northwest Division, but they’re not even worthy of a flier considering the history of the franchise.