The Golden State Warriors are heavy favorites to win the 2018-’19 NBA title, but that doesn’t mean there no interesting future wagers to be made. Here are a trio of NBA wagers to consider that avoid the championship market altogether. We focus on Utah Jazz Kyrie Irving best NBA odds to win the division crown and the MVP.
Utah Jazz to win the Northwest Division (5-2)
The Jazz are being offered at a good price as the second-choice in the division behind the Russell Westbrook-led Thunder. Utah beat a flawed Oklahoma roster fair and square in last year’s playoffs, and it appears the Thunder took a step backward when they parted ways with Carmelo Anthony.
Westbrook’s selfishness has destroyed Oklahoma (Kevin Durant skipped town for a reason), and until he matures, or the organization surrounds him with savvy veterans or a coach that might keep his personality in check, the Thunder will usually be a terrible bet to go far.
Utah is a well-compiled team of selfless players led by second-year shooting guard Donovan Mitchell. They lost a tie-breaker to Oklahoma to win the division last year, but the loss of center Rudy Gobert for 26 games played a huge role in that. Assuming they stay healthy and youngsters like Mitchell and Derrick Favors take steps forward, the Jazz should seize the Northwest. Below are lines on Utah Jazz Kyrie Irving best NBA odds and more.
Utah Jazz Kyrie Irving best NBA odds to win hardware
Michael Malone (Nuggets) to be the first head coach fired (15-1)
The Northwest Division is among the more competitive collections of teams in the league this year. The Thunder, Jazz, Timberwolves, Trail Blazers and Nuggets all have playoff aspirations, but only so many of them can survive the Western Conference logjam.
Billy Donovan appears safe in Oklahoma, as the Thunder have had only two permanent head coaches since leaving Seattle. Quin Snyder, a coach of the year candidate in Utah last year, isn’t going anywhere. Likewise the well-regarded Tom Thibodeau in Minnesota.
That leaves Terry Stotts in Portland and Michael Malone in Denver as two coaches that could find themselves on the hot seat if their squad starts slowly. Stotts is a much lower price (4-1) than Malone, and his team plays 11 of their first 13 games at home. If the Nuggets find themselves in last early on, don’t be surprised if GM Artūras Karnišovas dismisses Malone in an attempt to shake things up. Odds of 15-1 make the bet worthwhile.
Kyrie Irving to win MVP (18-1)
We’ll get the usual Kyrie Irving qualifier out of the way first; the prodigy from Duke University is injury-prone. He’s played in 70 or more regular season games in just three of his first seven seasons in the league. If he misses a significant chunk of time like he did last year (22 games), Irving will not win the MVP award.
However, the Celtics’ road to the NBA Finals looks fairly easy. The 76ers are their only logical challenger, and the Raptors are a fringe contender. Irving will be able to pad his stats against the dreck of the Eastern Conference, and may put up Steve Nash-like numbers with Gordon Hayward ready to suit up after a horrible Game 1 injury cost him virtually all of last season. Irving represents a great value bet at 18-1. Above are Utah Jazz Kyrie Irving best NBA odds to claim postseason awards.