2021-22 NBA Western Conference picks and predictions: Don't sleep on the Clippers

Paul George NBA player props
Photo of Andrew Ortenberg

Andrew Ortenberg

NBA· 1 week ago

Show Bio

I'm an editor here at Pickswise who was raised in a household full of sports fanatics. Since I unfortunately never had LeBron James' jumping ability I wasn't able to make it to the NBA, and chose writing about sports as the next best thing. An avid sports bettor myself, I'm excited to get to write about the industry as it gets set to take off across the country. Buckle up.

The NBA is almost back. Regular season action is right around the corner, and here at Pickswise, we’re getting you primed with a ton of great content. My colleague Ricky Dimon just broke down the Eastern Conference, and we’ve already discussed the NBA title picture. Today, I’ll be taking a crack at the Western Conference.

The West has been absolutely stacked the past couple of seasons, and once again it’s going to be very crowded in ’21-22. The Los Angeles Lakers are the clear betting favorite to win the conference after making their splashy trade for Russell Westbrook this offseason. Will the Lakers and LeBron James make it back to the NBA Finals, or will one of the many other contenders knock them off?

The Warriors are feeling recharged with the return of Klay Thompson, while the Suns are looking to go back to back after winning the conference last year. The Jazz had the best record in the West last year and return their main core, so you can’t count them out either. Denver should be a bigger threat after getting Jamal Murray back from injury. The Mavericks and Luka Doncic may make a leap this year, and the Clippers are always going to contend. Portland lingers in the outer-sphere of contenders in the first year of the Chauncey Billups era.

We’ve got a bunch more NBA content coming, including division previews and win total best bets, so make sure to keep an eye on our ‘Analysis tab‘ for all the latest articles.

Without further ado, let’s take a look at some potential betting options in the NBA Western Conference title futures market.

Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers +650

I’m not looking to buy the Lakers at their current price. They’re +200, at DraftKings, and no other team is lower than even +550 (Warriors). I’m skeptical of how Westbrook will fit in, and the potential lack of spacing is a real issue. The Warriors are counting on Thompson’s return to rejuvenate them, but Thompson hasn’t played in well over two years now. Phoenix (+650) overachieved last year. The Mavericks (+1300) don’t have enough around Doncic yet.

If the Clippers had a healthy Kawhi Leonard, their odds wouldn’t be anywhere close to this high. At this time last preseason, they were around 3/1-4/1. Now they’re 6.5/1, even though they made it to Game 6 of the Western Conference Finals last year even without Leonard.

Recent reporting indicates Leonard is ahead of schedule in his recovery from a torn ACL, and it seems like he’s definitely going to return at some point in the season. As long as the Clippers have him for the playoffs, that’s all that really matters. Regular season records will go out the window. Los Angeles played really well even when they didn’t have Leonard last year, and you won’t be able to get this good of a price once the playoffs begin.

Longshot: Portland Trail Blazers +3500

If I had to sprinkle a few bucks on a long-shot, it would be Portland at 35/1. The Trail Blazers have disappointed in the playoffs recently, but they’ve also had some really bad injury luck. I’m certainly not saying Terry Stotts was to blame for continually coming up short, but perhaps shaking things up and getting rid of the coach will be enough for the team to change their fortunes. It certainly can’t hurt. The only way a long-shot is going to catch fire and pull some upsets in the playoffs is if they get near-MVP level guard play. The Trail Blazers are capable of getting it from Damian Lillard. Lillard was truly heroic in last year’s playoffs, and he gives the team enough upside to warrant backing at this price.

2021-22 NBA season preview

Want more NBA futures content? Check out more of our previews, including conference and division picks:



Pickswise is the home of free NBA Picks and NBA Predictions. Check out the latest NBA Prop Bets and NBA Parlays as well as NBA Best Bets from our NBA experts.

See All
DraftKings

$200

Bet $5 on the NFL, Get $200!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account

Bet $5+ on the Money Line of any NFL game

If your team wins, you will be issued a $200 free bet bonus!

Must be 21+ located in AZ, CO, CT, IA, IL, IN, MI, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WY or WV to play. Offer valid only for new customers. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$150

Bet $5, Win $150 CASH on the Cardinals vs. Texans!

Register for a new account with FanDuel Sportsbook and make a deposit of $10+

Bet $5 on the Cardinals vs. Texans

If you pick the winner correctly, you win $150 in CASH!

21+ and new players only. Max bet $5, max reward $150. Must deposit $10+ to be eligible for promotion. Full terms available on FanDuel Sportsbook.

Unibet

$50

Bet $5, Win $50 if Your Team Makes a 3-Pointer!

Sign up for a new account with Unibet and make your first deposit

Bet $5 on any NBA team to win their next game

If your team hits a 3-pointer during the game, you win a bonus $50 - regardless of the game's outcome!

Max bet $5. 21+ and new players only. Full terms available from Unibet.

DraftKings

$200

Bet $5 on the NBA, Get $200!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account

Bet $5+ on the Money Line of any NBA Basketball game

If your team wins, you will be issued a $200 free bet bonus!

Must be 21+ located in AZ, CO, CT, IA, IL, IN, MI, NJ, PA, TN, VA, WY or WV to play. Offer valid only for new customers. Full terms available at DraftKings Sportsbook.

BetMGM

$200

Bet $10, Get $200 If Your Team Scores A Touchdown!

Register for a new BetMGM account & deposit $20+

Bet $10 on your team to win Money Line

Win $200 in free bets if your team scores a touchdown

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

PointsBet

$200

Bet $20, Get $200 If Your Team Scores A Touchdown!

Register for a new PointsBet account & deposit $20+

Bet $20 on your team to win Money Line (NFL or NCAAF)

Win $200 in free bets if your team scores a touchdown

Caesars Sportsbook

$5,000

Get a $5,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new Caesars Sportsbook account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $5,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose - up to $5,000!

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

BetRivers

$250

Get a $250 Deposit Bonus!

Sign up for a new BetRivers account using promo code PICKSWISE

Make a deposit & get it doubled up to $250 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $100

Must be 21+. Play in IA Only. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-BETS OFF

BetMGM

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new BetMGM & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

FanDuel Sportsbook

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Risk Free Bet!

Register for a new FanDuel Sportsbook account & deposit

Place your first bet up to $1,000 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $1,000

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

DraftKings

$1,000

Get a $1,000 Deposit Bonus!

Register for a new DraftKings Sportsbook account & deposit

DraftKings will match 20% of your deposit up to $1,000 total

To get a $100 bonus, deposit $500

21+. Terms & conditions apply.

Unibet

$500

Get a $500 Risk-Free Bet!

Register for a new Unibet account & make a deposit

Place your first bet up to $500 risk-free!

Get refunded up if you lose up to $500

New players only. Terms & conditions apply. 21+. VA only.

Monkey Knife Fight

$100

Claim 100% Instant Deposit Match up to $100!

Register for a Monkey Knife Fight account & deposit using promo code PICKSWISE100

Monkey Knife Fight will match your first deposit up to $100

Deposit $100 and you'll get $100 bonus + a free $5 game

18+. Terms and conditions apply. You must live in one of the states where real money DFS is legal.

TVG

$300

Get a $300 Risk-Free Bet with TVG Racebook!

Register for a new TVG account and make a deposit

Place your first single horse win-type bet up to $300

If your horse doesn't win you'll get a refund up to $300

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

BetAmerica Racing

$200

$200 Sign Up Bonus!

Fast, reliable and fast payouts - you'll have your money in 72 hours, if not sooner!

Proud history of providing safe, secure, and fun betting to American patrons

BetAmerica is owned by the iconic Churchill Downs Incorporated, home of 150 years of wagering history and the world-famous Kentucky Derby

Players who sign up using ‘BET200’ code will get a $200 sign up bonus. Offer valid for 7 days after registering on BetAmerica Racing product only. 21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.

TwinSpires

$200

Get a $200 Sign Up Bonus with TwinSpires Racebook!

Register for a new Twinspires account using offer code BET200

Make a deposit and start wagering on horse racing

Earn $100 in bonus cash for every $400 wagered!

21+. T&C's apply. Please gamble responsibly.