Nuggets lead crowded field of contenders for Western Conference crown

Tony Reyes
By , Updated on: Apr 16, 2024 08:00 PM
Nuggets lead crowded field of contenders for Western Conference crown

The NBA regular season has concluded, and the playoffs are starting, so let's examine the odds of winning the 2024 NBA Western Conference.

The top online sportsbooks in the USA have already released odds to win the Western Conference.

Oddsmakers agree that the Nuggets are considered the favorites to win the Western Conference. Let's look at other contenders who could knock off the defending champs.

2024 NBA Western Conference Odds

Denver Nuggets+140+140+135
OKC Thunder+600+650+600
Dallas Mavericks+625+800+700
LA Clippers+650+550+550
Minnesota Timberwolves+900+850+850
Phoenix Suns+900+850+1000
LA Lakers+1600+1600+2000
Golden State Warriors+3300+4000+2500

Denver Nuggets

The Nuggets have continued their strong performance as the defending champions, finishing with the second seed in the Western Conference. Their ability to overcome injuries and maintain this spot is genuinely commendable.

Nikola Jokic has again had an outstanding season, positioning himself as the favorite for his third NBA MVP award.

With Jokic leading the charge, the Nuggets remain the team to watch and beat in the NBA.

Denver's net rating saw a significant leap from 3.3 to 8 during last year's postseason, indicating the Nuggets could be on track to recapture that championship-level performance at a crucial time.

While there are concerns about the Nuggets' record against weaker teams (28-2 vs. sub-.500 teams and 29-23 vs. teams above .500), their win count against stronger teams remains consistent with last year.

Additionally, Denver's performance in clutch moments is impressive, showcasing their ability to excel when the game is on the line.

In clutch situations (defined as 5-point game or less in the last 5 minutes), the Nuggets won 59.5% of their games in the 2022-23 season.

Their offensive rating ranked 13th, and defensive rating ranked third in these moments last year.

This season, they've improved to winning 65% of clutch games with the best field goal percentage in the league.

They now rank third in offensive rating and second in defensive rating in these critical situations, resulting in the best net rating in clutch moments.

The reasons behind Denver's success in these crucial moments are challenging to pinpoint, but roster continuity likely plays a significant role.

According to, the Nuggets' starting lineup boasts an impressive +282 rating, leading the league.

Nikola Jokic's presence further bolsters this cohesion. Jokic, a two-time league MVP poised for a third individual honor, ranks second in the NBA's Player Impact Estimate and second in net rating when factoring in minutes, trailing only Derrick White.

Denver's starting lineup has logged 958 minutes this season, significantly more than the next starting five, the Oklahoma City, the current No. 1 seed in the West.

However, thanks to a stable roster, their ability to thrive in clutch moments could be a critical factor in the playoffs.

I recommend picking the Nuggets to repeat as Western Conference champions at +135 odds at Bovada.

Denver Nuggets To win the 2024 NBA Western Conference

OKC Thunder

Despite their top-seed status, the Thunder are entering the playoffs as underdogs, facing a challenging road to the Finals. This status has sparked social media buzz.

They can prove their mettle, silence the doubters, and make a memorable playoff run in their inaugural season.

Despite doubts about their strength, they have the second-best odds (+600) to win the conference, trailing the Denver Nuggets (+135).

The Thunder await their first-round opponent, who will be determined next week. If they advance, they'll face the winner of the Dallas Mavericks and Los Angeles Clippers.

Entering the playoffs as underdogs, the Thunder have a chance to prove themselves and make a strong playoff run.

I advise against picking the Thunder to come out of the West, mainly due to their youth and inexperience.

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OKC Thunder To win the 2024 NBA Western Conference

Dallas Mavericks

The Mavericks have been exceptional. Over the past 18 games, they've been among the top teams in the Western Conference and the entire league.

Currently positioned in fifth place, the Mavericks stand alone on their island. Their path forward sets them up for a trilogy against the Clippers in the postseason.

With the West bracket taking shape, Dallas is a conference dark horse. The Mavericks boast star power and overall roster talent capable of competing with any team in a seven-game series.

Since March 6th, Dallas has been leading in wins, boasting the best defensive rating (106.0), tied for fourth in offensive rating (118.2), and second in net rating (12.1).

They've consistently held opponents to under 106 points per game and just 43.9% shooting, showcasing elite defense complemented by exquisite offense.

This time, the Mavericks are far more formidable and have their best chance yet to overcome their rivals finally.

The Mavericks feel like the only team that could upset the Nuggets in a series; I recommend wagering on them at +700 odds at Bovada.

Dallas Mavericks To win the 2024 NBA Western Conference

Phoenix Suns

The Phoenix Suns are showing strong form heading into the playoffs. Despite a recent loss to the Pelicans, they bounced back with a three-game win streak against playoff-bound teams like the Timberwolves, Cavaliers, and Pelicans.

With a lineup at full strength, the Phoenix Suns have the potential for great success.

The team's fortunes are closely tied to the availability of their trio of Durant, Beal, and Booker, and if these key players can remain on the court, Phoenix has a promising future ahead.

Unfortunately, the Suns would have to defeat the Timberwolves, Nuggets, and then the Mavericks to win the West, which feels daunting.

Phoenix Suns To win the 2024 NBA Western Conference

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Meet the author

Tony Reyes

With years of experience as an analyst, Tony brings an expert voice to picks and predictions. His love of sports betting comes through in coverage that informs and entertains in equal measure. You can find Tony shooting hoops or cycling the local trails when not watchin...

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