NBA betting: Warriors? Lakers? Which team will win the talented Pacific Division?

ByTyler Fulghum ESPN logo
Friday, November 10, 2023

The most compelling division in the NBA this season has to be the Pacific Division. All five teams entered the season with win totals north of 41.5, meaning all five teams were expected to be better than .500 and Western Conference Playoff contenders.

This division is loaded with star power. LeBron and AD. Steph, Klay and Dray. KD, Book and Beal. Fox and Sabonis. Kawhi, PG, Russ... and now Harden. That's 21 rings. 9 MVP trophies. 91 All-Star Game appearances.

How do we handicap such a deep and difficult division? Let's dive in...

Bet to make:Golden State Warriors +188. The Warriors have jumped to the favorites in this division and I think it's for good reason. The dynamic surrounding this team is vastly improved after they were able to move on from Jordan Poole. It's now so clearly evident that his relationship with Draymond Green was a weight on the team too burdensome to overcome on the court. Although they are another year older and lack some size, Golden State has the type of championship pedigree that is reliable to bet on.

Jonathan Kuminga and Moses Moody are better developed young players. A team that couldn't buy a win on the road a season ago is already 5-2 this year away from Chase Center. They're about to start a 6-game home stand where they could build some early season cushion in the Pacific Division standings. The Warriors are look like the best, most consistent team in this division once again.

Sucker Bet:LA Clippers +345. This is not 2018. James Harden, Russell Westbrook, Kawhi Leonard and Paul George on the same team may be great if you want to simulate a season on NBA2K; real life basketball success requires chemistry and fit.

How is this quartet going to coalesce with just one basketball available? How can we rely on Kawhi to be available every night? Russell Westbrook turn 35 on Nov. 12. Harden is 34 and it's abundantly clear he's lost significant explosion attacking the rim. George hasn't played in more than 56 games a season wearing a Clippers uniform.

What's ironic is that the Clippers were balling before they made the trade. Since Harden arrived they've cratered on offense and have yet to win a game. Red flags are abundant in Clipper Land and I'm going to stay away.

Longshot Bet:Los Angeles Lakers +600. It's been a disastrous start to the season for the reigning Western Conference champs. Anthony Davis is already hurt. Austin Reaves has been very disappointing after signing his big extension and playing well for Team USA this summer. Offseason additions Gabe Vincent, Christian Wood, Cam Reddish, Jaxson Hayes and Taurean Prince have made a minimal impact.

But... there's still LeBron James.

Turning 39 in December, James has averaged 24.4 points, 8.1 rebounds and 5.4 assists this season on 56% shooting from the field. He's already broken every conceivable record for scoring and efficiency in the 21st year of a career. Do not discount LeBron James.

Look what happened last year when everyone wrote off the Lakers. After re-tooling their roster, LeBron and the Lakers surged all the way to the Western Conference Finals. It's been a terrible start for the Lake Show this year, but all that's done is provide some value on their price. If you want to shoot for the moon and earn a big payday in this market, the Lakers are the team to buy now.