NBA Betting: Lakers still chalk to win West

By: David Schwab | Friday, February 18, 2011

Despite recent woes, the Lakers are plus 375 favorites to repeat.

The NBA All-Star break this weekend signals the beginning of the regular season’s stretch run as each team have less than 30 games left to play to position itself for the postseason. The top eight teams in each conference earn a spot in the playoffs and a shot at winning a world title, but the reality is there are only a handful of teams that actually have a chance to win it all.

Looking at the NBA’s Western Conference, there are two key storylines that have dominated the season to this point. The first is the ‘state of the union’ of the defending NBA Champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Lakers enter the break at 38-19 straight-up overall (25-31-1 against the spread) with a nine-game lead over Phoenix in the Pacific Division.

They are currently in third-place in the conference but find themselves nine games out of first. has LA as the odds-on-favorite at plus 375 to repeat as champions but you have to be a bit leary of the value in these odds given how inconsistent this team has been playing.

Many believe the Lakers are coasting through the regular season, just waiting for the playoffs to begin, but losing their last three games including a downright ugly 104-99 loss to Cleveland this past Wednesday night as an 11-point favorite has to trigger some cause for concern.

The other big story has been the dominance of the San Antonio Spurs. They enter the break with the best record in the NBA at 46-10 SU (34-20-2 ATS) and lead Dallas by six games in both the Southwest Division and the conference. The Spurs started the season with 14 wins in their first 15 games and have never looked back. They have only lost consecutive games once this year and have compiled an incredible 25-2 SU record at home (15-11-1 ATS).

San Antonio is listed at plus 400 to win the title which still provides some decent value considering it appears to be a lock to have home court advantage throughout the playoffs.

Dallas presents itself as an interesting pick at plus 1400. The Mavericks are second in the conference at 40-16 SU (31-23-2 ATS) and have only lost twice since suffering through a six-game losing streak in early January. The concern here is that this team is pretty much the same cast of characters that have made an early exit from the playoffs the past few seasons so it is hard to get excited about its prospects to win it all no matter how well it is playing right now.

The one team that offers the best value if you are looking for fairly long odds are the Oklahoma City Thunder at plus 1800. The Thunder lead Portland in the Northwest Division by four games and have the fourth-best record in the conference at 35-19 SU (27-27 ATS). This is a much better team than the one that the pushed the Lakers to six games in last year’s opening round of the playoffs and can play head-to-head with any team in the NBA.

Oklahoma City is powered by All-Star forward Kevin Durant and has a strong supporting cast led by Russell Westbrook and Jeff Green. Durant leads the NBA in scoring with an average of 28.9 points a game and is pulling down a team-high seven rebounds a game. Westbrook is the second leading scorer with 22.2 points and leads in assists with 8.6 a game, while Green is averaging 15.1 points and 5.6 rebounds a game.

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