We are at the one-month-to-go mark, and almost each
team has played 50 games. Let’s take a look at the updated Western Conference standings and see
which teams are on the move, either up or down in seeding and where they go from here.
About a month ago, I brought you an NBA All Star
Break standings article, which focused on the Western Conference. I looked at the
current standings and where I thought the final eight teams for the playoffs
would shape out toward the end of the season.
- Oklahoma City Thunder (39-12
SU, 29-22 ATS) 4/1
the number one seed in the West and looking stronger as the season progresses,
the Thunder are the undisputed best of the West. They proved it again when they
took care of the Los Angeles Lakers for the second time this season; this time
combination of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant are dare I say looking more
and more like Jordan and Pippen as the season progresses. Every night teams
struggle to stop one or both of them and it leaves wide-open shooters on the
perimeter. They also have had good value winning ATS at the tune of 57%.
However, seeing as they are now almost certainly one of the best teams in the
league, the sportsbooks might overvalue them to end the season. Watch out for
them being large road favorites, because NBA bettors might find value in fading
them on the road.
Antonio Spurs (35-14 SU, 30-18) 15/1
mentioned in my article a month ago that the Spurs were, and are still the most
underrated team in the league. They were winning ATS 60% of the time at the
break, and with a month to go, they are winning 62.5% of their games ATS. The
idea that they are done is far from the truth. San Antonio is healthy, and will
be hunting for Oklahoma City’s top seed. They ruined having the #1 seed last
season, as they lost to the Grizzlies.
season however, I see them staying put here in the two seed. They have a five
game lead over the Lakers as of today, and are still three games back of the
Thunder for the number one. Either way, their first round matchup will most
likely be a cakewalk. They are still title contenders.
Angeles Lakers (31-20 SU, 21-29-1 ATS) 6/1
Lakers have moved themselves back into the title conversation, but catching the
Spurs or the Thunder with only 15 games remaining in the season is next to
impossible. The Lakers are five games back of the Spurs for the 2 seed, and
eight games back of the first place Thunder. This is huge for this team,
because we have all seen how bad they can play on the road.
Lakers will enjoy home court in the first round, but I don’t see them being
able to dominate many people from this seed. Much like the East, the West is
shaping up for teams to try and avoid playing the number one or two seeds in
the first round. I see the Lakers staying put in this spot, but they will have
a tough match up against either then Grizzlies or Mavs in the first round, and
could be in danger of losing in the first round.
Angeles Clippers (29-21 SU, 25-24-1 ATS) 25/1
spot from a month ago, the Clippers have struggled and gone 9-10 in the last
month. The Clippers also have nine of their last sixteen games on the road.
They also have two games against the Thunder, along with one more meeting with
both the Mavericks and Lakers. I mentioned that they have been overvalued
throughout the season. This might change slightly to close out the season, but
don’t expect them to all of a sudden start cashing ATS in large streaks.
see the Clippers staying in the top four. They are a great turnaround story in
the NBA, but I don’t see them getting higher then the five seed. They only hold
a one game lead over the 5th and 6th seeds, Dallas and
Memphis, and I see both of them
taking over the Clippers’ spot.
5. Memphis Grizzlies (27-21 SU, 22-26
Grizzlies are back to full strength, and are set to make a nice run up the
standings. They don’t have much of an ATS record, but they have found ways to
win without their second best player. Now that Zach Randolph is back, things
will go nothing but better. Eight of Memphis’ last twelve games will be played
on Beale Street, and only three of those eight are against playoff teams.
aren’t going to bring you a wealth of ATS covers to end the season but they will
be good on some upset moneylines, like they were against the Lakers this past
Sunday. I don’t think there is any chance the Grizzlies fall lower the sixth,
and I could see them jumping up a spot before the end of April.
Mavericks (29-23 SU, 25-26-1 ATS) 20/1
are one of those teams that you don’t know which side of them you’re going to
get on any given night. One night they could look like the defending champs,
the next game, they could look like they are nothing more then an average team.
However, even if they are coasting through this season in hopes of persuading
Deron Williams there, they are still dangerous and could win a first round
remember last season, they playing the Blazers in the first round, and a lot of
NBA writers (including myself) picked the Blazers to upset them in the first
round. I’m not saying that they will win the NBA championship again, but they
could have a shot of upsetting someone if they play to their potential.
7 & 8. Utah Jazz (27-24 SU, 27-24 ATS) 60/1, Houston
Rockets (27-24 SU, 25-26 ATS) 100/1, Denver Nuggets (27-24 SU, 26-25 ATS) 50/1
three of these teams have identical record as of the end of March, and one or
more of them could be on the outside looking in when the regular season is
over. Once the Nuggets get healthy, I cannot see any reason to keep them out of
the playoffs. They are one of the best scoring teams in the NBA, and when they
get their best player Danilo Gallanari back, they will surely secure a playoff
the other two, they both have had separate problems, both winning and covering
the spread. The Rockets’ two best players have serious injuries and the Jazz
are extremely inconsistent. There is also a chance that neither of them make
the playoffs, which I go into below.
In the hunt
Phoenix Suns (25-26 SU, 26-25
bigger news then the Suns’ good second half of the season may be the news that
broke just yesterday. Steve Nash mentioned that he would be open to the idea of
taking a huge pay cut to sign with the Miami Heat next season. Other than that
the Suns have been making a good run.
currently sit two games out of the playoff race right now, but they have the
talent and the leadership of the league’s best veteran. I could see them
overtaking either Houston or Utah for the final spot to end the season. They
also might be a good source of value to end the season. They have been playing
great basketball since the All Star Break, and have been getting great
production from unlikely sources, such as Michael Redd, Channing Frye and Jared