The Phoenix Suns have built a super team as they continue to chase that elusive first title. LeBron James will be back with the Lakers, teaming up with Anthony Davis on a contract extension that will keep him in El Lay for the next five seasons. Nikola Jokic will be back in Denver after what should have been an MVP season. Which team will come out on top by the time the fall, winter, and spring have passed?

Nobody knows for sure, and opinions are like armpits: Everyone has them, and most of them stink. There will be injuries that have not yet happened, there will likely be a trade that takes Damian Lillard out of the conference, and there could be a sleeper team that does what the Sacramento Kings did last season.

How to make sense of it all and predict the future?

The NBA season returns in a matter of days, and we’re preparing for it with NBA futures bets for the entire Western Conference, including projected Northwest, Pacific, and Southwest division champions and Eastern Conference winner for the 2023-24 NBA season.

Check out our Best NBA Western Conference futures bets, odds, predictions and picks for the 2023-24 season.

Odds to win NBA Western Conference 2023-24

Denver Nuggets +225
Phoenix Suns: +300
Golden State Warriors: +650
Los Angeles Lakers +650
Los Angeles Clippers: +900
Dallas Mavericks: +1000
Memphis Grizzlies: +1400
Sacramento Kings: +2500
New Orleans Pelicans: +2500
Minnesota Timberwolves: +3300
Oklahoma City Thunder +5000
Portland Trail Blazers +8000
San Antonio Spurs +8000
Houston Rockets +10000
Utah Jazz +12500

Favorites to win NBA Western Conference

If there was one thing we learned during the 2022-23 season, it was that load management is going to have an impact on who plays on any given night. Coaches will rest players with no warning, and the regular season will be rendered further meaningless despite commissioner Adam Silver’s implementation of a new in-season tournament.

The best bet is that Silver will learn that basketball fans are not the same as soccer fans, and absolutely nobody will care or remember who won the inaugural NBA Cup.

One thing, and one thing only, matters to fans of the NBA: Who will emerge as champion.

OK, two things. The other? You will ask yourself: “Did I bet on the eventual winner when the odds were longest?”

Let’s take a look at the top 10 on the Betway board:

Denver Nuggets +225

Denver was the only team that remained whole and mostly uninjured throughout last season, and the Nuggets romped through the playoffs -- beating the Timberwolves in five games, the Suns in six, and the Lakers in four before defeating the Miami Heat in five in the NBA Finals. They won 10 of their final 11 playoff games, and they return mostly intact, with Bruce Brown (who went to Indiana in free agency) the main defection. Hence the short odds.

Phoenix Suns +300

After acquiring Kevin Durant in midseason from the Brooklyn Nets, Phoenix went out in the offseason and traded with Washington for Bradley Beal. The Suns also added a few key bench plyers in Eric Gordon, Yuta Watanabe, Josh Okogie, and Bol Bol. They still have Devin Booker and are planning to put Beal at the point now that Chris Paul has been traded.  Not having a pure point guard could be the Suns’ Achilles heel.

Golden State Warriors +650

Golden State remains loaded and led by Steph Curry, and the Warriors have added Chris Paul to come off the bench, presumably as a sixth man for the first time in his career. No matter which team they play in the postseason, the Warriors will have an edge in experience with Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, and Andrew Wiggins aboard. That counted for something when they made it to the NBA Finals in 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019 and 2022, and chemistry and cohesion still count for something in today’s NBA.

Los Angeles Lakers +650

It is always a bad idea to bet against LeBron James, except when it isn’t. He will turn 39 at the end of December, and even though he is pushing 40 he is nowhere close to pushing daisies as he enters his 21st NBA season. Gabe Vincent, Taurean Prince, Cam Reddish, and Jaxson Hayes are the newcomers, and one of them will need to be a dead-eye 3-point shooter for a championship to be within reach. Can James lead the NBA in scoring at 39? More on that in a future article.

Los Angeles Clippers +900

It remains to be seen whether the Clippers will be able to acquire James Harden, who wants to be dealt to Los Angeles with the Philadelphia 76ers looking to accommodate him. That could be a game-changer over the long haul, although recent history is filled with Harden’s postseason flameouts. The difference here is that Harden, along with Russell Westbrook, would be more of a facilitator playing alongside Paul George and Kawhi Leonard, and you will not see these guys at +900 if a deal is made and the Clippers lose no one from their core. As things stand, the Lakers’ co-tenants go into the season with the same roster that was ousted by the Suns in five games last April.

Dallas Mavericks +1000

Dallas was more interested in being in the draft lottery than making the play-in tournament last year when the Mavericks punted the final game of the season. We will have to wait and see if the basketball gods will frown upon that. Richaun Holmes, Grant Williams, and Dante Exum are the newcomers on a roster that is filled with ever-changing parts surrounding Luka Doncic, who will be among the MVP favorites when we discuss that topic in a future article. For now, these guys begin the season as the NBA’s reigning Underachievers of the Year, having gone 38-44 after making the Western Conference Finals in 2022.

Memphis Grizzlies +1400

Ja Morant will be sitting out the first 25 games of the season for being an idiot with a gun on Instagram, but Marcus Smart has been acquired from Boston and will be more than adequate in his place with Derrick Rose in as another veteran backup. Dillon Brooks has left for the Houston Rockets, but Jaren Jackson returns coming off a Defensive Player of the Year award, and the key guy to watch is Desmond Bane, who needs to return to being the 3-point shooter he was two years ago. For a team that finished second in the West the past two seasons, these odds seem a little too long.

Sacramento Kings +2500

Coming off a Pacific Division title, Sacramento’s biggest addition is Sasha Vezenkov, the reigning Euroleague MVP who spent last season with Olympiacos in Greece. The 28-year-old, who has been playing professionally since 2011, will make $20 million over the next three seasons. He joins a Kings team that has added Chris Duarte and Nerlens Noel to what was the highest-scoring roster in the NBA last season at 120.7 points per game. Playoff seeding will be crucial, because last season the Kings learned that their inexperience was too much to overcome when they lost to Golden State in seven games in the first round. We will look at Domantas Sabonis’ MVP odds in an upcoming article.

New Orleans Pelicans +2500

It is all about Zion Williamson in the Big Easy. He missed all but 29 games last season with a hamstring injury after missing the entire 2021-22 season. He was named an All-Star last season before getting hurt, and if he can somehow manage to avoid that bug and top his career-high of 61 games played, there is a lot around him with Brandon Ingram, C.J. McCollum, Trey Murphy, and Jonas Valanciunas completing what could be a dominant starting five. New Orleans is perhaps the best value pick out there if Zion can go.

Minnesota Timberwolves +3300

We did not get to see a whole lot of Karl-Anthony Towns and Rudy Gobert playing together last season, so Minnesota coach Chris Finch gets a pass for last season’s 42-40 record and first-round ouster at the hands of a Denver Nuggets team that was on its way to a championship. If Anthony Edwards can become a 30-point scorer after playing with Team USA this summer, there is a lot to like here with the two centers, Mike Conley running the point, and Shake Milton coming aboard after five years with the Philadelphia 76ers.

2023-24 NBA Western Conference Prediction and Best Bets

The Pick: Memphis Grizzlies at +1400

Odds are subject to change*

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