Kevin Davis shares his best Western Conference Playoff Props as we look ahead to the new NBA 2020/21 season.
Unlike the Eastern Conference, virtually any team in the West could conceivably make the playoffs. While the top of the conference is led by the LA Lakers and Clippers, there is a lot of parity in the rest of the conference. The West has 15 teams, and 8 of them get to make the playoffs. An additional team will make the play-in tournament for the final playoff seed. Theoretically virtually any team can make the playoffs in the Western Conference.
As a result of the West being as wide open as it was for Horace Greeley, my betting strategy is to bet on longshots. For more information about my playoff prop betting strategy including why I like betting on them, I encourage you to read my article on the best Eastern Conference playoff props. For the Western Conference, I am betting on the Golden State Warriors missing the playoffs (+128). Additionally, I am betting on the Houston Rockets (+112) and Minnesota Timberwolves making the playoffs (+350).
Favorite Bet to Miss the Playoffs
Last season, the Golden State Warriors finished with a 15-50 record which was the worst record out of all 30 NBA teams. Despite Golden State performing poorly last season, they are unsurprisingly favored to make the playoffs this upcoming season. The reason why this is not surprising is because Steph Curry who was out for most of last season is in good health and he is one of the best players in the league. However, the second-best player on the Warriors Klay Thompson tore his right Achilles tendon this offseason. While Curry is an elite player, I do not think he is good enough to bring the Warriors into the playoffs by himself. That is why I am betting on the Warriors missing the playoffs.
Without Klay Thompson, the Warriors starting lineup looks relatively bleak. They have rookie James Wiseman at center, Andrew Wiggins at shooting guard, Kelly Oubre Jr. at small forward, and Draymond Green at power forward. Last season Andrew Wiggins averaged only .05 win shares per 48 minutes which was the same amount as Ish Smith. Draymond Green fared worse as he averaged only .044 win shares per 48 minutes. Kelly Oubre Jr. the Warriors offseason star acquisition averaged only .093 win shares per 48 minutes the 107th best in the NBA last season. Steph Curry may be a great player, but when his starting lineup is a rookie and three overrated players it is smart to bet against his team making the playoffs.
Favorite Bets to Make the Playoffs
The Houston Rockets appear to be in the middle of a rebuild. Their head coach Mike D’Antoni and General Manager Daryl Morey both chose to resign rather than get fired. As a result, the best players wanted out of Houston. A past his prime Russell Westbrook was traded to the Washington Wizards for the oft-injured John Wall. Their best player James Harden has
demanded a trade to only teams that he wants to play for. Despite all this turmoil, Harden and other key players from the Rockets remain. The conventional wisdom is that the Rockets will struggle this year. However, the conventional wisdom is wrong because Harden is still on the Rockets and they have other good players. That is why I am betting that they make the playoffs at +112 odds.
If the Rockets manage to trade Harden during the season, then I will look foolish for this bet. However, teams are lowballing the Rockets and that is why I think Harden will stay put. Harden signed a contract, and he must play. All he can do to avoid playing for the Rockets is stub his toe and then claim that he is injured. I think that Harden will play and he will get traded in the offseason when it is easier to put trades together. Besides Harden, Houston has depth in that they have John Wall, DeMarcus Cousins, Christian Wood, and PJ Tucker. I think Houston easily makes the playoffs and that is why they are a good bet at +112 odds.
The Minnesota Timberwolves face an uphill battle to make the playoffs this season. Minnesota has only made the playoffs once over the last 16 seasons. In addition to the Timberwolves aptitude for losing, they play in a loaded Western Conference where virtually any team could make the playoffs. However, when you look at the talent that is on the Wolves roster, it is hard to imagine how they could miss the playoffs. That is why I am betting on them at long +350 to make the playoffs.
If Lebron James played for the Timberwolves, they would not be +350 underdogs to make the playoffs. Last season, Karl-Anthony Towns the best player on the Wolves averaged .204 win shares per 48 minutes, the same number that Lebron averaged. In addition to Towns, Minnesota’s lineup has an underappreciated D’Angelo Russell, and the number one overall draft pick in Anthony Edwards. I think the Timberwolves are going to surprise many people this season, and they might even make the playoffs.
NBA Playoffs Series Bet Slip
$50 Golden State Warriors to Miss Playoffs Pays $114
$50 Houston Rockets to Make Playoffs Pays $106
$50 Minnesota Timberwolves to Make Playoffs Pays $225