The Suns have won 11 straight games, own the best record in the NBA (41-9) and are the defending Western Conference champions. But they’re not the favorites to win the west at YES Sportsbook. The Warriors are at +230 odds, while Phoenix is +300.
So should you bet the Suns, who came up just short in the Finals this past summer?
Or the soon-to-be fully healthy Warriors, back with their core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green that went to five straight Finals in the 2010s?
How about a dark horse? The Grizzlies are exceeding expectations. The Jazz are a postseason mainstay. The Nuggets have the defending MVP in Nikola Jokic. And there’s the sleeping giants in LA—the Lakers and Clippers—if they ever wake up.
Our writers discussed which team they’re picking to represent the West. We already tackled the Eastern Conference and look out for our Finals predictions next week!
Trail Blazers +10000
SI.com’s Robin Lundberg:
The Phoenix Suns are locked in, so I’ll lock them in as my pick. The Warriors are a slight favorite over them and I get it given their pedigree, but it has been a few seasons since Golden State made a run in the playoffs. Meanwhile, the Suns are fresh off going to the NBA Finals, so they now have the experience. The synergy they are playing with is top level, hence the current 11-game winning streak. So, give me Phoenix.
BET: Suns (+300)
SI Betting’s Matt Ehalt:
The West is a two-team race. I’m not buying the other teams’ odds. When’s the last time we saw the Jazz win a meaningful series? The Grizzlies are fun, but I’m not sure they’re going through both the Suns and Warriors. I don’t trust the Lakers to finally turn the switch for a month-plus. I would bet on Golden State to beat Phoenix in a seven-game series, but I like the Suns’ future values better at +300 compared to +230, respectively. So, let’s bet on the Suns returning to the Finals. Phoenix has also shown its resolve with its 41-9 start following last year’s disappointing ending, while the Warriors have some injury issues to worry about.
BET: Suns (+300)
SI Fantasy’s Craig Ellenport:
There’s a good reason why the Warriors are the betting favorite to win the West and I would expect them to meet those expectations. But if I’m going to pick another team to make a run, I’ll take a flier on the Lakers at +850. Sure, they’re sitting three games under .500 and going nowhere fast. That’s why they’re only +850. But those are decent odds to gamble that somehow, someway, the trio of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Russell Westbrook get healthy and dialed in down the stretch. Are you telling me you can’t see that happening?
BET: Lakers +850
SI Fantasy’s Matt De Lima:
Sporting the best record in basketball and an 11-game win streak, the Phoenix Suns are playing like a team possessed. Spurred by the Bucks a year ago, we’re truly seeing the end of the top-heavy, superstar-driven style of roster construction where max contract players are surrounded with bargain-basement priced veterans. Devin Booker, Chris Paul and Deandre Ayton are the nucleus, but role players are delivering and then some. This is a great value play before the hype train grows bigger, louder and more crowded.
BET: Suns +300
SI Betting and Fantasy’s Kyle Wood:
For the sake of diversity of opinion, I’ll zag a little bit here (though I do think the Suns at +300 are a phenomenal pick to get back to the Finals and even win it all at +650). I want to pick the Grizzlies, but they’re just not ready yet. I’d throw a dart at the Lakers if they had better odds, but they’re in ninth place, three games under .500 and still have the fourth-best odds to win the conference. I do not love that value. So, I’m picking a team with a player who’s capable of being the best player in a series for three straight rounds: the Mavericks. Luka Doncic already has well-documented individual postseason success, and now the team around him in Dallas has improved. Jalen Brunson has emerged as a solid distributor and shooter alongside Doncic, Kristaps Porzingis has largely been healthy this season and Tim Hardaway Jr. and Dorian Finney-Smith round out the shooting around the Mavericks’ star. Dallas’ defense has also taken a step forward and is among the league’s top-ranked scoring defenses. This is a longshot, but I prefer my longshots to be on a team with a player like Doncic who can will a team to victories the way he’s already shown he can.
BET: Mavericks (+1600)
SI Betting’s Frank Taddeo:
I do not follow the NBA as I mostly focus my bankroll investments on the collegiate hardwood. I will make a homer pick here. Since Phoenix has former Villanova star Mikal Bridges, I will go with the Suns to win the West at odds of +300. As many who follow me are already aware I am not a fan of LeBron James, who I refer to as the “King of Taking Your Money James”. So although the Lakers look attractive at odds of +850, James will not receive any of my betting bankroll funds since he will never be Kobe or MJ in my eyes. The Suns are 41-9 and have won 11 consecutive games and Bridges is a key contributor for the club. Besides being one of the best defenders in the NBA, Bridges has developed into a stat stuffer with rebounds, assists and steals in addition to being one of the team’s top scorers. Playing alongside Paul, Booker and Ayton we know Bridges knows how to win after winning two National Championships with the Wildcats. We know the Suns came up just short last year against the Bucks for the NBA title but this team is poised to make it back to back as Western Conference representatives and accomplish some unfinished business.
BET: SUNS (+300)
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Eddie is an Australian news reporter with over 9 years in the industry and has published on Forbes and tech crunch.