West-Leading Nuggets Not Even Favored to Win Northwest Division
- Is it time to jump on the Nuggets with these longer odds?
- OKC’s surge has been powered by their defence
- We size up the rest of the Northwest Division
Man, you rise up in one of the most competitive conferences in NBA history, and you’d expect a little respect.
Well, MyBookie is bringing the Denver Nuggets in close, and asking them what the five fingers said to the face.
The Nuggets, currently sitting atop the West, aren’t even favored win the Northwest Division.
While Denver has moved up a spot from their preseason outlook, Vegas is holding rock steady with the Thunder.
Let’s have a look and see if it’s time to pounce on these odds.
2019 Northwest Division Odds
|Which Team Will Win the Northwest Division in 2019?||Record||Odds at
|Oklahoma City Thunder||16-7||+210|
|Portland Trail Blazers||14-11||+330|
Nuggets, Thunder the Cream of Northwest Crop
Denver and Oklahoma City already have some impressive wins to start this campaign.
The Nuggets handed the Warriors (the fully healthy addition) their first L of the season, as well as hammering Utah and Boston en route to a 9-1 start. It was at that point they hit the skids, dropping six of their next seven.
Hernangómez with the game-saving block. Nuggets beat the Warriors 👀 pic.twitter.com/rYfdwvVVTD
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) October 22, 2018
They’ve gotten things back on track though, winning seven straight. Five of those were on the road, in high-difficulty stops like OKC, Portland, and Toronto.
Nikola Jokic is the fuel to this engine, and he’s being helped along the way with an emerging star guard Jamal Murray, and old reliable Paul Millsap.
The Thunder have been lights out since starting the year at 0-4, having reeled off wins in 16 of their last 19 games. The most encouraging sign has been the fact OKC has been able to stay afloat with Russell Westbrook missing eight games already this season – that would have been impossible for this franchise in years past.
Paul George dropped 47 (25 in the 4th) AND HIT THE GAME WINNER 🔥 pic.twitter.com/Nvkr053Psz
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) December 6, 2018
Instead, a bevy of new additions and the emergence of Paul George as the modern day Scottie Pippen 2.0 has only made Russ more lethal, and the Thunder one of the toughest outs in the West. They have absolutely crushed both the Rockets and Warriors so far this year, holding GState under 100 and Houston under 85 points.
Who Should You Bet On to Win the Division?
It’s a two horse race. And the pick here is OKC, and the reason is simple: defense. It’s been the backbone of the Thunder’s success, and no matter how poorly their offense is going – so much so that I predicted Billy Donovan would be on the coaching outs – the defense has been otherworldly.
Despite being a-middle-of-the-road 17th in offensive rating, the Thunder are first in defensive rating (Denver is fifth). While they are both top five in points allowed and in three point percentage defense, the Thunder break away in field goal percentage allowed (T-2nd at 44%, Denver is 11th), and in forcing turnovers, where they are first at 17.7 a game (Denver is 15th).
Meanwhile…OKC is 16-7 after 0-4 start
* No. 1 defense WITHOUT Andre Roberson, flipping narrative of last season (100.9 points allowed per 100; 2nd place is Boston at 103.1).
* Paul George (24.3 ppg, 8.1 rpg, 4.3 apg) and Russ (22.8 ppg, 10 rpg, 9.7 apg) doing serious work.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) December 6, 2018
It’s impressive to see the Nuggets doing so well, particularly in turning around what has been a traditionally bottom five defense in recent years. But that early skid showed they can be exposed.
For now, stick with the Thunder, but check the stats again at the All-Star Break. Should Denver’s defense stay strong across a half-season sample, you might need to hedge that original bet.
The post West-Leading Nuggets Not Even Favored to Win Northwest Division appeared first on Sports Betting Dime.