No NBA division has a more diverse group of talent than the Pacific Division. At the top is the Golden State Warriors, who are favored to win the NBA championship this season for the fourth time in five years. At the bottom is the Sacramento Kings, who haven’t even come close to making the playoffs in 12 consecutive seasons.
The Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Phoenix Suns are at various levels of strength as they fill in the massive gap between the Warriors and Kings.
How do 5Dimes’ betting odds look for these squads in terms of winning the division? In this preview we will dive deep into each team’s potential prognosis for 2018-19 and conclude with our Pacific Division prediction and picks.
Golden State Warriors (-1450 at 5Dimes)
The Warriors are the easiest choice to win any division in the NBA. Golden State has four of the five best players in the division in Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Draymond Green and Klay Thompson. They have better odds with the U.S offshore betting websites to win the NBA title this year than the rest of the league combined.
A lot of things went wrong for Golden State last season. Curry, Durant, Green, Thompson and Andre Iguodala missed a combined 84 games. The squad dealt with lazy defense and a lack of motivation all year, going through a few stretches where it seemed like team chemistry was an issue.
Golden State still won 58 games and coasted its way to an NBA title. This year, the West is stronger and the Dubs have no motivation to go all-out in the regular season. But sheer talent and experience as a unit should still put them right around 60 wins.
- Projected record: 59-23 (58-24 in 2017-18)
Los Angeles Lakers (+1100 at 5Dimes)
The Lakers made the single best move of the offseason, signing former Cleveland Cavalier LeBron James to a four-year contract on the first day of free agency. Then they completed a bunch of questionable transactions, basically punting their chances at contending for a title in 2018-19.
Rajon Rondo, Lance Stephenson, Michael Beasley and JaVale McGee all joined the team this offseason on one-year deals. The signings made little sense because none of them are capable shooters (which James needs around him). Also, all of them are somewhat erratic players on the court and unpredictable personalities off it.
LeBron is the best player in the NBA, and he does have some quality youngsters around him in Tinseltown, like Lonzo Ball, Kyle Kuzma, Brandon Ingram, Josh Hart and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. However, this squad is not ready to contend until the youngsters get more experience and LeBron has more shooters to space the floor for him.
- Projected record: 46-36 (35-47 in 2017-18)
Los Angeles Clippers (+10000 at 5Dimes)
The Clippers are basically the Brooklyn Nets of the West. Both squads are the forgotten franchises of their metropolitan areas (New York and Los Angeles). The main similarity this year, though, is that both rosters are deep but seriously lack star power. This is especially true now that DeAndre Jordan left for the Dallas Mavericks.
The Clippers are definitely a bit better than the Nets. Lou Williams is a solid main man offensively, but he is terrible on defense. Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari, Avery Bradley, Patrick Beverley, Marcin Gortat, Montrezl Harrell and Luc Mbah a Moute are all fine role players.
Los Angeles did have terrible injury luck last season, so some regression to the mean could help the team in that aspect. However, in a beefed-up Western Conference, simply playing a bunch of decent players most of the time won’t get you very far.
- Projected record: 35-47 (42-40 in 2017-18)
Phoenix Suns (+25000 at 5Dimes)
The Suns are on the rise. With No. 1 overall draft pick DeAndre Ayton and No. 10 pick Mikal Bridges joining the roster, Phoenix will get a jolt of energy from two players who should get significant minutes from the get-go. Veteran forward Trevor Ariza will bring a valuable three-and-D skill set to the team, along with his leadership.
Phoenix is still a very young team that has gotten used to losing and playing bad defense over the past few years. The Suns had the worst record in the NBA last season and that culture of losing needs to be eradicated over time.
Look for the Suns to focus on building around their young core of Devin Booker, Ayton, Josh Jackson, Bridges and Marquese Chriss this year. That group is promising, but it’s very raw on defense and is still figuring out its chemistry on offense.
- Projected record: 27-55 (21-61 in 2017-18)
Sacramento Kings (+75000 at 5Dimes)
The Kings will be in contention with the Atlanta Hawks for the worst record in the NBA this season. Why? Their best player might be Willie Cauley-Stein and they have a bunch of inexperienced young guys who they’ll be testing out throughout the season to gauge their value.
Sacramento has no shortage of young prospects on the roster. It has raw talents like Marvin Bagley, Cauley-Stein, De’Aaron Fox, Buddy Hield, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Justin Jackson, Harry Giles, Skal Labissiere, Deyonta Davis and Frank Mason III all with three years of experience or less. None of them are even remotely close to a star level right now.
Which of them is worthy of being part of the team’s future core? That’s a question that the Kings will look for an answer to this season.
- Projected record: 21-61 (27-55 in 2017-18)
Our Preview’s Pacific Division Predictions & Picks Verdict
My best advice is to stay away from this division. The Warriors are all but a lock to win the division, but what if they suffer injuries or totally don’t care about the regular season this season? Those -1450 odds are just a bit too short to pull the trigger on. The Lakers are also not a good value. If you add the implied probability of both teams to win this division, it comes out to 102 percent. That’s not mathematically possible.
So instead, I would recommend the Clippers (+10000 at 5Dimes) as a low-risk option if you are absolutely set on betting on the Pacific Division. Considering their depth, they are a safe choice to be at least a respectable team this season, even if injuries come. Maybe they happen to click as a unit and come close to 50 wins and the Warriors and Lakers both flounder.