We’re in the back half of the 2019-20 season, and the field for who is in contention for division titles is narrowing. The Northwest Division is headlined by the Denver Nuggets and Utah Jazz. We broke down which of these two teams has the best chance to bring home the title on DraftKings Sportsbook here:
Northwest Division odds
The Nuggets finished second in the Western Conference last season and could be poised to do it for a second consecutive season this year. Their 39-18 record is only second to the Los Angeles Lakers. Denver didn’t need to make any major postseason moves like the rest of the conference to stay competitive. Jamal Murray and Nikola Jokic remain the team’s heavy hitters. Jokic has maintained his top-notch passing and is averaging more than 20 points and 10 assists per game for a second straight year. Murray is still averaging a career-high 18.9 points per game while rebounding and assisting at about the same rate he did in 2018.
Complimentary pieces like Gary Harris, Paul Millsap, and Jerian Grant have been valuable contributors, but Denver elected to trim its rotation by moving Malik Beasley and Juancho Hernangomez ahead of the trade deadline. The Nuggets have started to incorporate Michael Porter Jr. this season after he missed all of what would’ve been his rookie season last year. The versatile swingman could be the key to unlocking the team’s full potential if he remains healthy and gets the opportunity to play more minutes.
Many felt that the Jazz hit a home run in free agency by adding Bojan Bogdanovic and Mike Conley ahead of the 2020 season. Some even suggested that Utah had become a real threat to win the Western Conference. But things haven’t panned out that way. Bogdanovic is every bit the shooter the Jazz thought he could be and is averaging a career-high 20.2 points per game while making 42.2% of his shots from beyond the arc. Conley, on the other hand, has missed 24 games due to a hamstring injury. He hasn’t shown that he can be the ideal backcourt partner for young star Donovan Mitchell just yet.
Utah is tied with the Houston Rockets at 36-20 in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference at the Nos. 4 and 5 seed. The Jazz have two All-Stars in Mitchell and two-time Defensive Player of the Year Rudy Gobert, and might have more to show down the stretch as the playoffs approach.
Best Bet to win: Denver Nuggets (-177)
The Nuggets should pull ahead and finish first in the Northwest Division. Consistency at the point guard position is too important, and Utah lacks that. Denver’s core group has spent too much time together.
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