The NBA Season got underway just before Christmas and has been running ever since with a large number of games each week. With a regular season shortened this time around, the teams have been busy trying to position themselves in the battle to qualify for the post-season in each of the two Conferences, the Western and Eastern.

In this article, we are going to look at which teams have been performing well in both conferences, with a view to picking the team that we feel will win each conference. We will also then go on to pick our team that will win the NBA Championship at the end of the season to become the new Champions.

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The State Of Play In The NBA At Present

The new season in the NBA around a month old now with the first games played on December 23. Since then, we have seen a number of exciting games over the course of the month. We have also seen some familiar, and no so familiar, names challenging at the top of both the Western and Eastern Conferences.

It is easiest to take a look at the state of both Conferences before we narrow down our picks of the top teams still further, so let’s begin with the Eastern Conference.

Eastern Conference

Last year, the Miami Heat surprised everybody by landing a place in the NBA Championship

game. Although they lost to the Los Angeles Lakers, they were expected to push on again this season. However, the Heat have struggled and they currently sit in 13th place in the table with a 6-10 record so far.

The Heat’s struggles have arguably been one of the biggest surprises of the season so far. The Milwaukee Bucks, who won this division last season and the Boston Celtics, were both expected to do well this year and both have done precisely that with a 10-6 record on the season so far.

The other surprise has been the form of the Philadelphia 76ers, who top the Eastern Conference wit a 12-6 record so far. The play of center Joel Embiid has been a key factor in their rise to the top of the division and their strong start has been built on a formidable record at home (9-1).

The Indiana Pacers are having a slightly better than expected campaign with a 10-7 record so far. Point Guard Malcolm Brogdon has been a key performer for the Pacers and he netted another 36 points in their win yesterday over the Toronto Raptors.

However, there is no doubt that the team to watch in the Eastern Conference at the moment is the Brooklyn Nets. At the start of the season they welcomed Kevin Durant back from injury alongside another NBA Superstar in Kyrie Irving.

Then just a couple of weeks ago, they made a mega-trade deal involving four teams that saw them acquire Houston Rockets point-scoring machine James Harden. Since the Broo

klyn “dream team” were put together for the first time against the Orlando Magic, they have won four and lost two of their games (both to the Cleveland Cavaliers).

The Nets 11-8 record means they are a little off the pace being set by the 76ers at the top of the Eastern Conference but with plenty of games left in the regular season, there is nothing stopping them becoming one of the dominant teams in this division.

Current Eastern Conference Betting Odds

As you can see, the Nets have usurped the Bucks as the top pick in the Eastern Conference. However, for me the team to watch is still the Philadelphia 76ers who at 11/2 are good value and who have shown they have the quality to match the best teams in this division.

Western Conference

If the Eastern Conference has seen a couple of big surprises this season, the Western has been more in keeping with expectations. The Los Angeles Lakers, the current NBA Champions, are the leaders of the division with a 14-4 record, winning all ten of the games that they have played on the road so far.

Their main challengers were expected to be the Los Angeles Clippers and indeed, the Clippers have a 13-5 record. Less expected was the performance of the Utah Jazz who have recovered from a 4-4 start to the campaign to win nine games in a row to move to 13-4 and second place in the Conference table.

It has been a real team effort by the Jazz with the likes of Royce O’Neale, Bojan Bogdanovic and Donovan Mitchell amongst those playing key roles for the team over that impressive span of wins.

Another team to watch in terms of a run of good performances are the Memphis Grizzlies. That didn’t seem likely when the team were 2-6 after their first eight games, however a run of fine wins since has moved them up to sixth in the table with a 7-6 record.

The Denver Nuggets with star center Nikola Jokic are also a team to watch as they are 9-7 so far but have won all of their last four games.

You can’t rule out the couple of teams with genuine star players in the NBA just outside the top seven either. Golden State Warriors (Steph Curry), and the Dallas Mavericks (Luka Doncic) are both capable of moving up this table with a string of wins.

Current Western Conference Betting Odds

It’s not surprising that current NBA Champions the Los Angeles Lakers lead the betting in the Western Conference, with their city rivals the Clippers being their closest rivals. Ne team to watch at the moment is the Utah Jazz, who have won all of their last nine games to move into second place in the conference and who are still a good value bet at 17/2. That said, I would still probably back them each way given that the Lakers do look likely to dominate this division.

NBA Championship Outright Betting & Tip

This should be a cracking season and the bookies still just about favour the Los Angeles Lakers to win it all once again. However, the signing of James Harden has seen the odds on the Brooklyn Nets shorten considerably to 7/2 and they do seem to be the popular pick at the moment.

Last season, the Miami Heat were the surprise team to make the NBA Championship Finals and for me this year, the Philadelphia 76ers are the team to consider here. They are 16/1 to win it, so I feel an each way punt may be the best option, but I do feel they are probably better than those odds suggest.

If you wanted to select a team to win it outright outside the two LA teams and the Nets and you were not too enamoured with the 76ers, then the Milwaukee Bucks would be my pick to back to win it all. They disappointed in the playoffs last year after dominating the Eastern Conference in the regular season.

They also have the NBA’s MVP for last season, Giannis Antetokounmpo, as their star man and if he can hit top form in the playoffs and avoid injury, they should be very strong come the post-season.

*All odds shown were correct with bet365 Sport as of 8.30am on Wednesday 27th January 2021.