Been running hot lately so can take a little stab here, going on a hunch.
Jazz to win the West 33/1, risking 1 unit.
Look, I get that this is a long shot. The point isn't that I expect Utah to be in the finals, I just think the value proposition is extremely favorable here.
Utah is 24-16, with 20 home and road games already completed. During the first half of the season, they were consistently ravaged by injury, as their intended starting 5 got their first extended minutes together in early January. Despite the injuries, Utah has leveraged its depth and sheer amount of good players to rack up wins.
In games which both Hill and Heyward have started and finished without getting injured, Utah is 8-1 with an average point differential of +14.2. For reference, Golden State has an average point differential of 11.8. When also factoring in the fact that Utah plays at the slowest pace in the league, this point differential is astounding. It implies that the Jazz mop the floor with the rest of the league when both those guys are healthy.
To date, Utah ranks first overall in defensive rating. They have the league's top rim protector and offensive rim runner in Gobert, an additional rim protector in Favors, a premier defensive point guard in Hill, and a deep versatile bench. They can go small or big, and currently rank 10th in offense which I expect to rise provided some health moving forward.
Now let's look at the upcoming schedule, here are all their games before the all star break.
Only two road back to backs, only one 4 in 5, and a weak slate of opponents overall. I expect Utah to put together a very strong stretch here, with upside to enter the all star break at 33-17, and probably no worse than 30-20.
Fri, Jan 13
10:30 PM 631 available from $20 Sat, Jan 14
9:00 PM 696 available from $14 Mon, Jan 16 9:00 PM 1,262 available from $10 Fri, Jan 20 8:30 PM 850 available from $22 Sat, Jan 21
9:00 PM 583 available from $17 Mon, Jan 23 9:00 PM 759 available from $18 Tue, Jan 24 9:00 PM 781 available from $19 Thu, Jan 26 10:30 PM TNT 730 available from $26 Sat, Jan 28
9:00 PM 798 available from $22 FEBRUARY OPPONENT TIME (ET) TV TICKETS Wed, Feb 1 9:00 PM 911 available from $15 Sat, Feb 4 9:00 PM 846 available from $23 Mon, Feb 6 7:30 PM 1,163 available from $17 Wed, Feb 8 8:00 PM 2,174 available from $12 Thu, Feb 9 8:30 PM 869 available from $13 Sat, Feb 11
9:00 PM 755 available from $24 Mon, Feb 13
9:00 PM 919 available from $21 Wed, Feb 15
Setting aside the Warriors, Utah has advantageous matchups against Houston and San Antonio. Little less so the Clippers, but even that matchup is a coin flip imo.
Simplifying all of the above gibberish, my point is I expect Utah to play at a 60-65 win pace for the rest of the season. A team as deep with as many B+/A- players as they have which also is literally the best defense in the NBA has a chance against any team in a 7 game series. If they find themselves in the 2/3/6/7 side of the west bracket, I expect them to make the western conference finals provided health, at which point they'll be playing with house money against the Warriors.
Lot of words spent explaining why I'm probably just voluntarily setting 1 unit on fire, GL guys.