The talk of the Western Conference playoffs will be dominated by the No. 4 seed and the team that couldn't even get a top-six spot and had to work into the bracket via the play-in tournament.
Imagine being the Utah Jazz or Phoenix Suns.
The Jazz and Suns have to feel a bit disrespected. Those two teams, not the Los Angeles Clippers or Los Angeles Lakers, got the top two seeds in the West. The Jazz went 52-20 and the Suns went 51-21. They were great all season.
And yet, bettors at BetMGM aren't exactly scrambling to take them to win it all, or even win the West.
Jazz, Suns down in the odds
The leaderboard of most popular bets to win the NBA title is predictable. The Nets and Lakers have the most tickets written on them, at 19 and 16.9 percent respectively. After them come the Denver Nuggets and Philadelphia 76ers.
The Jazz have just 6.8 percent of the tickets to win the NBA title, and the Suns are far below that at 3.3 percent.
You'd never know the Jazz and Suns are the top two seeds in the West, winning 103 games combined, looking at BetMGM's odds. The Jazz are +325 to win the West and the Suns are +700. When the week started, the Lakers (with LeBron James and Anthony Davis now healthy) were favored at +200 and the Clippers were right behind at +260. To win it all, the Jazz are +700 and the Suns are +1600.
The odds are certainly enticing on the two top seeds in the West, but is anyone going to take them?
Suns, Jazz have had great seasons
There is a general skepticism when an NBA team has a great regular season after low preseason expectations. The Suns and Jazz weren't expected to be great, but they were both very good. And while both teams have great players, there's no LeBron, AD, Kawhi or Luka to get everyone on board. They're fun teams to watch but neither is a marquee NBA team in terms of attention.
It's understandable why the Jazz or Suns aren't West favorites. The Lakers were injured much of the season and everyone knows how good they are when healthy. The Clippers weren't chasing seeds as they practiced plenty of load management. But the Suns and Jazz are simply good teams. They're top seven in both offensive and defensive efficiency among NBA teams. The Suns have one of the greatest leaders and point guards in NBA history, Chris Paul, and the Jazz have top-flight scorer Donovan Mitchell and elite defender Rudy Gobert.
There are good reasons the Suns and Jazz won as many games as they did. They're good. It's just going to be a tough sell to get anyone to bet either of the top two West seeds to make the NBA Finals, no matter the odds.
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