2020 NBA Northwest Division Predictions, Odds and Win Totals

Jamal Murray Denver Nuggets

Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray (27) against the Golden State Warriors during a preseason NBA basketball game in San Francisco, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2020. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)
  • The Denver Nuggets are favored to finish atop the Northwest division for a third straight year
  • On the surface, Denver, Utah and Portland look like playoff contenders
  • Get the complete preseason odds, preview and predictions below

After finishing with the best record in the Northwest division in back-to-back seasons, the Denver Nuggets look poised to claim another division title in 2020-21.

Denver, who advanced all the way to Western Conference Final a season ago, has the shortest win total, conference championship, and NBA championship odds of any of the five Northwest clubs, and is a strong favorite in the NBA Divisional Odds.

But that’s not to say they won’t face stiff competition. Utah is a perennial playoff contender, as is Portland, who made some key offseason additions to address their defensive deficiencies.

2020 Northwest Division Odds and Win Totals

Team Division Odds Conference Championship Odds NBA Championship Odds Win Total Odds
Denver Nuggets -130 +800 +1600 44.5 (Ov -110 | Un -110)
Utah Jazz +220 +1600 +3600 41.5 (Ov -110 | Un -110)
Portland Trail Blazers +390 +2800 +5500 39.5 (Ov -142 | Un +116)
Minnesota Timberwolves +2700 +11000 +12000 29.5 (Ov -110 | Un -110)
Oklahoma City Thunder +13000 +12000 +13000 20.5 (Ov -162 | Un +132)

Odds taken December 17th from FanDuel.

As for Minnesota and Oklahoma City, the Timberwolves promise to be entertaining but likely not very competitive, while the Thunder are in full blown rebuild mode.

2021 NBA Championship Odds Tracker

Oklahoma City Thunder

  • 2019 Record: 44-28
  • Points per game: 110.4 (21st)
  • Points Allowed per game: 108.4 (7th)
  • Offensive Rating: 110.1 (17th)
  • Defensive Rating: 108.1 (7th)

Analysis: No team has experienced the kind of significant turnover OKC has. Chris Paul, Dennis Schroder, Steven Adams and Danilo Gallinari are all out, as is head coach Billy Donovan.

Former assistant coach Mark Daigneualt will take over a team that will look nothing like the version that took the Houston Rockets to 7 games in the first round of the playoffs last season. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Lu Dort are the only two starters left, and just five players on the roster have more than three seasons of experience on their resume.

Key Offseason Moves

Key Additions Key Losses
Al Hortford Chris Paul
George Hill Dennis Schroder
Trevor Ariza Steven Adams
Danilo Gallinari

With 18 First Round draft picks between now and 2027 at their disposal, the future looks bright for the Thunder, but expectations should be low for this season. The West is loaded, and even with the veterans they added, a playoff berth is extremely unlikely. One thing to note however, is their win total.

The experience Gilgeous-Alexander and Dort gained from a hard fought playoff series, plus the leadership that Al Hortford, George Hill and Trevor Ariza bring can easily carry this team over its 20.5 projection. Many bettors seem to agree, as the juice is heavily shaded towards the over, meaning this number might not last long.

Prediction: 23-49, 5th in Northwest

Minnesota Timberwolves

  • 2019 Record: 19-45
  • Points per game: 113.3 (12th)
  • Points Allowed per game: 117.5 (28th)
  • Offensive Rating: 107.6 (24th)
  • Defensive Rating: 111.6 (20th)

Analysis: The biggest story out of Minnesota is number one overall pick Anthony Edwards joining the mix. The 6-foot-5 shooting guard averaged 19.1 points per game in college, and should be a fine third option alongside Karl-Anthony Towns and D’Angelo Russell.

The Timberwolves were a big disappointment last season, failing to earn an invite to the Orland Bubble, and the outlook this season isn’t much more promising. Yes, former lottery pick Ricky Rubio is back with the club after a three year absence, but there are still plenty of holes to fill.

Key Offseason Moves

Key Additions Key Losses
Anthony Edwards None
Ricky Rubio
Ed Davis
Rondae Hollis-Jefferson

They failed to significantly improve defensively, after ranking third worst in points allowed. The roster is full of wings, but void of talent up front after Towns. The trio of Russell, Towns and Edwards should produce plenty of jaw dropping plays, but don’t expect a playoff push from this crew just yet.

Prediction: 29-43, 4th in Northwest

Utah Jazz

  • 2019 Record: 44-28
  • Points per game: 111.3 (18th)
  • Points Allowed per game: 108.8 (9th)
  • Offensive Rating: 111.8 (9th)
  • Defensive Rating: 109.3 (13th)

Analysis: This season’s Utah Jazz look eerily similar to the team that blew a 3-1 series lead to the Nuggets in the opening round of the playoffs. Offensively, the conversation starts with Donovan Mitchell, but outside of him they don’t possess enough firepower to compete with the elite.

The return of Bojan Bogdanovic, who missed the Bubble games due to wrist surgery, will help but the Jazz still lack depth and a reliable second unit.

Key Offseason Moves

Key Additions Key Losses
Derrick Favors Emmanuel Mudiay
Tony Bradley

Defensively, the basketball world watched Jamal Murray completely destroy Utah on the perimeter, and nothing has been done to address the issue. They lack the athleticism to seriously contend in the West, and although another playoff berth seems likely, their ceiling is probably capped at the 5th or 6th seed.

Prediction: 38-34, 3rd in Northwest

Portland Trail Blazers

  • 2019 Record: 35-39
  • Points per game: 115.0 (6th)
  • Points Allowed per game: 116.1 (25th)
  • Offensive Rating: 113.2 (3rd)
  • Defensive Rating: 114.3 (27th)

Analysis: When it comes to the Portland Trail Blazers, there are never concerns at the offensive end. Damian Lillard and company ranked third in offensive rating last season, and Lillard was the star of the seeding round in Orlando. He averaged 37.6 points, 4.3 rebounds, and 9.6 assists in the Bubble, leading Portland to an improbable playoff berth.

Along with C.J. McCollum and Jusuf Nurkic, the Blazers can put up as many points as any squad in the league, but there’s long been concerns about their defense. They addressed those concerns in a big way this offseason, bringing in pieces that should dramatically improve their 27th rated defense.

Key Offseason Moves

Key Additions Key Losses
Robert Covington Hassan Whiteside
Enes Kanter Mario Hezonja
Derrick Jones Jr. Kent Bazemore
Harry Giles

They traded for athletic wing Robert Covington, shored up the center position by adding Enes Kanter, and improved their depth with the addition of Derrick Jones Jr.

The improved athleticism and commitment to defense should vault them ahead of Utah, as Denver’s number one threat in the divisional race. This team is destined for the postseason, and could surprise one or two teams once they get there.

Prediction: 44-28, 2nd in Northwest

Denver Nuggets

  • 2019 Record: 46-27
  • Points per game: 111.3 (19th)
  • Points Allowed per game: 109.2 (11th)
  • Offensive Rating: 112.6 (5th)
  • Defensive Rating: 110.4 (16th)

Analysis: The Nuggets were the biggest surprise of the Bubble, battling back from two separate 3-1 playoff series deficits to earn a spot in the Western Conference Final. Expectations for this season are high and rightfully so. Jamal Murray blossomed into a star, and Michael Porter Jr. looks like a reliable third scoring option behind Murray and Nikola Jokic.

Denver did lose a trio of strong defenders, but they offset those losses with the addition of JaMychal Green from Memphis. Will Barton, who missed the entire Bubble season, will be back to lead the second unit, and Gary Harris, who battled injuries in Orlando, will be healthy enough to return to his role as a shut down defender.

Key Offseason Moves

Key Additions Key Losses
JaMychal Green Torrey Craig
Jerami Grant
Mason Plumlee

The Nuggets have won at least 46 games in three straight seasons and this season’s team looks capable of accomplishing the feat yet again. They’re likely the head of the second tier, behind the LA Lakers and Clippers in the West, and they showed us a few months ago just how high their ceiling is.

Prediction: 46-26, 1st in Northwest


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