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Are the Lakers the Western Conference Favorites?

Posted on November 21, 2019 by Dean Hybl

With the NBA season nearly a month old it seems safe to say that after nearly a decade of struggles the Los Angeles Lakers are back on top of the NBA and the Western Conference. Of course, adding Anthony Davis to a squad that already included one of the all-time greats in LeBron James certainly helped hasten their rebuilding.

Currently 17-3, the Lakers are clearly among the betting favorites and you can get your list of all betting offers to back them up. Other betting sites are anticipating the Lakers to win the playoffs at 3/1 in average, meaning stakes are high. You could use this fact to your early advantage and place a bet now on the LA Lakers.

In many ways, the start of this season is a reminder of how quickly things can change in professional sports.

After being the dominant team in the NBA over the last five years, the Golden State Warriors have been devastated by injury and are off to a league worst 4-18 start. With Klay Thompson likely out for the season and Stephen Curry expected to be sidelined for at least three months with a broken hand, their chances of returning to the playoffs is very doubtful and bookies are giving them odds as low as -450.

In a complete contrast, the Lakers were 37-45 last year and haven’t made the playoffs since the 2012-2013 season. However, their off-season acquisition of Davis has paid immediate dividends.

Davis and James are clearly the best players on the team as they combine to score nearly 50 points per game. Kyle Kuzma is the only other player on the squad averaging in double digits.

While that roster in-balance may not be a huge factor during the regular season, you do have to wonder if the Lakers will get enough consistent scoring from their remaining players to compete for a title.

The addition of Russell Westbrook to the Houston Rockets makes them another likely contender in the Western Conference. James Harden continues to be a dynamic scorer averaging 38 points per game and Westbrook is one of four other Rocket players scoring in double digits.

Both the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz look like solid teams that should again be tough outs in the playoffs.

Perhaps the biggest surprise to the start of the season in the West is the Phoenix Suns. After winning only 40 games the last two seasons, the Suns are off to a 9-10 start as their young nucleus of high draft pick are starting to gel.

The New Orleans Pelicans were hoping the addition of Zion Williamson would help them quickly overcome the loss of Davis, but the former Duke star has yet to make his NBA debut. Thus, the Pelicans are currently 6-14 and hoping not to get too far out of the race before Williamson returns.

The rest of the Western Conference consists of teams all in the middle of the pack with the hope of breaking away from the pack. Portland is hopeful that the addition of Carmelo Anthony will help them rise above, but Anthony has not been a viable NBA player for several years.

Given that the San Antonio Spurs have missed the playoffs only once in the last 30 years, you can never count out Gregg Popovich’s squad, but they have not yet started to gel with only a 7-14 record to start the season.

Though the Lakers and Rockets (17/2 with Bet365) seem to be the cream of the Western Conference and at the top of the oddsmakers boards now, the season is a long one and quite a lot can happen between December and when the playoffs get going in April and May.

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