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The most unpredictable NBA Playoffs in years are about to start soon and I can’t wait! Multiple teams from each conference believe they can go all the way. There are just so many question marks and the West is especially open.

In this post, I explore the latest odds and share my predictions for the Western Conference Playoffs. I’ve also included what’s left of the Play-Ins and my thoughts on all top contenders.

NBA 2022 Western Conference Winner Odds

  • Phoenix Suns; +125
  • Golden State Warriors; +380
  • Memphis Grizzlies; +700
  • Utah Jazz; +900
  • Dallas Mavericks; +1100
  • Denver Nuggets; +1100
  • Los Angeles Clippers; +2900
  • Minnesota Timberwolves; +3900
  • New Orleans Pelicans; +24900
  • Charlotte Hornets; +49900

The best NBA betting sites online believe that the Phoenix Suns are massive favorites for the crown in the West. I certainly understand why the Western Conference winner odds look like this after the regular season, but I think the playoffs will be different.

A bunch of teams have the potential to elevate their game dramatically when it matters the most. I’d probably exclude only the two teams from the Play-Ins and the Timberwolves, everyone else has a chance, even if it’s a small one.

I’ll get to the favorites soon, but let’s talk about what’s left of the Western Conference Play-In first.

Western Conference Play-In Predictions

I won’t go into too many details here because I don’t think that any team that went through the Play-In will challenge for the Western Conference title.

The first game went pretty much as I expected in my post with NBA Play-In predictions. The Timberwolves beat the Clippers to earn the 7th seed and book a meeting with the Grizzlies in the first round.

LA is waiting for the winner from the clash between the Pelicans and the Spurs. New Orleans has the more talented roster by a wide margin, so I expect a clash between the Clippers and the Pelicans for the final spot in the 2022 Western Conference Playoffs.

I believe that Paul George can make a difference after his return from injury. He just had an awesome game against the Timberwolves and the team was doing ok even without him, so the Clippers should get the 8th seed.

NBA Western Conference First Round Predictions

We know three of the four first round clashes and that’s enough for me to share my Western Conference predictions for the opening series.

I’ve included the latest odds and my analysis of each duel as well.

Timberwolves vs. Grizzlies Odds and Prediction

  • Timberwolves to win; +290
  • Grizzlies to win; -360

There’s little doubt that the Memphis Grizzlies have been one of the most impressive teams in the NBA 2021-22 regular season. The young group of players led by head coach Taylor Jenkins has been nothing short of exceptional.

No one expected the Grizzlies to finish second in the standings, but this team basically has no weaknesses. Ja Morant is the obvious leader on the floor, so Memphis has a reliable superstar and the depth is also there.

Just look at the Grizzlies record without Ja Morant in the regular season! The team was 20-5 when the young guard was missing which is a testimony to how good the group is as a whole. That’s why the Grizzlies are favored in the opening round against the Timberwolves.

Minnesota has improved significantly in the second half of the season, but the same is true for Memphis. The Timberwolves have strong individuals which probably will be enough for two or three close games. That’s pretty much their ceiling and I don’t think they can be competitive for the entire series.

The odds for the Grizzlies are on the short side, but I see enough value to back them.


    MY PICK:

    My Pick: Grizzlies to win

Nuggets vs. Warriors Odds and Prediction

  • Nuggets to win; +190
  • Warriors to win; -220

The Warriors looked strong for the opening part of the regular season, but they struggled a bit later on. They finished third in the standings and will meet the Nuggets in the opening round of the playoffs as a result.

It’s a tricky matchup because we know how Nikola Jokic elevates his game in the postseason. I’m not sure if that’s possible this year just because he was unreal in the regular season.

The Serbian superstar is the main favorite for the MVP award and a one-man army that’s hard to stop. The problem here is that both Jamal Murray and Michael Porter Jr. are out. Jokic simply doesn’t have enough help to keep Denver alive in an entire series against a team like the Warriors.

Golden State should be able to rely on all of its important players. Jokic can lead his team to one or two wins, but progressing to the next round looks like mission impossible.

I’m actually surprised by the odds for the Warriors and I think that backing them is one of the best NBA Western Conference betting picks for the opening round.


    MY PICK:

    My Pick: Warriors to win

Jazz vs. Mavericks Odds and Prediction

  • Jazz to win; -285
  • Mavericks to win; +240

If you wonder why the Jazz are heavily favored against the Mavericks, you probably missed Luka Doncic’s injury on the last day of the regular season. The Slovenian superstar played a lot of games late in the campaign to try and help the team earn a better seed.

That might come back to haunt Dallas after a strained calf. It’s early days and there’s no timetable for Luka’s return right now, but the following Woj tweet suggests he might play in the opening series.

I’d certainly favor the Mavericks with a healthy Doncic because the team has looked awesome after trading Porzingis for Dinwiddie and Bertans.

On top of that, the atmosphere surrounding the Jazz doesn’t look good. The players are not on the same page at this point. Gobert is unhappy, while Mitchell will likely leave in the near future. The regular season wasn’t very good and we know that the Jazz usually struggle in the playoffs.

I’m more than willing to back the Mavericks in my 2022 NBA Western Conference Playoff predictions and take a risk here. If Luka comes back for game 2 or 3, Dallas has a good chance and the odds are good enough to give it a go.


    MY PICK:

    My Pick: Mavericks to win

Suns vs. Clippers/Spurs/Pelicans

I expect to see the Clippers in the opening round against the Suns, but I’m not sure it matters. I don’t think any of the three teams in the Play-Ins has a chance to beat Phoenix.

The team demolished everyone in the regular season and had the luxury to rest its best players in the last month of the campaign. The Suns are ready to roll in the playoffs and I don’t think they can be stopped in the first round. I expect them to win with ease against all potential opponents.

NBA Western Conference Champion Prediction

After covering the Play-Ins and the opening series, it’s time to look at the big picture in the 2022 Western Conference Playoffs.

Let’s talk about the main contenders and their road to the title in the West.

Phoenix Suns

The obvious choice for my NBA Western Conference prediction in 2022 would be to back the Phoenix Suns. This is the team that won last year and the regular season has been amazing.

The Suns have by far the best record. They are strong on both ends of the floor and they have more than enough star power. Devin Booker is a phenomenal scorer, Chris Paul makes everyone better, and DeAndre Ayton is among the best centers in the league.

I like Phoenix’s chances but I hate the odds right now. The team is not that stronger than anyone else and CP has suffered from injuries in the postseason so many times in the past. I simply don’t like the current price, so I can’t back the Suns.

Golden State Warriors

There are plenty of question marks surrounding the Warriors. Steph Curry had an inconsistent year in terms of shooting, Draymond Green suffered from injuries, and Klay just returned after a horrific series of injuries.

At the same time, Golden State’s ceiling is frightening. If these three are available, even if they’re not at their best, the Warriors can certainly go on to win not only the title in the West but the NBA Championship.

The problem here is the tough path to the Western Conference title. Here’s what the Warriors will most likely have to do.

  • Round 1: Denver Nuggets
  • Round 2: Memphis Grizzlies
  • Conference Final: Phoenix Suns

That’s a pretty tough run for a team that has been on and off this season. I simply don’t think the Warriors are consistent enough for the Western Conference winner odds for them to be just +380. I’d like to get something like +500 to back them.

Memphis Grizzlies

Spoiler alert – I’m backing the Grizzlies! How on earth is a team that good so underrated? You can get +700 for Memphis to win the conference title.

You could say this team lacks experience in the crucial moments and that’s certainly right. You can also point out the lack of superstars outside of Ja Morant which is also technically true.

And yet, this is the second-best team in the West after the regular season. The depth is there, the coaching is there, and the hunger is there. The Grizzlies are brave and eager to prove themselves and I love it.

They also will have the home-court advantage until the Conference Final and they face a beatable opponent like the Timberwolves in the first round. The odds are way too good, so I’m going for the Grizzlies!


    MY PICK:

    My Pick: Memphis Grizzlies

The Rest of the Field

Can any other team win the Western Conference? I don’t think the Jazz are there, and the same applies to the Timberwolves and whoever team wins the 8th seed. That leaves us with the Mavericks and the Nuggets.

I really like Denver’s team and Jokic is out of this world, but he simply doesn’t have enough help right now. The Nuggets will be the underdog in pretty much every series, so the title is unrealistic in 2022. I sincerely hope they are healthier next season, because the potential of this team is massive.

As for the Mavericks, I’d say that anything is possible there. Luka is the kind of player that can beat almost any opponent on his own. If he wasn’t injured right now, I’d definitely consider Dallas. The issue is that the odds are simply too short under the circumstances, so I wouldn’t recommend betting on the Mavs.

What About the East?

If you like my 2022 NBA Western Conference Playoff predictions, you should definitely check my preview of the East. It follows a similar format, so you can expect odds, betting picks for the opening round, and my prediction for the conference as a whole.

I also plan to cover the 2022 NBA Playoffs in the near future too, so stay tuned for more posts as the postseason progresses.