On an episode of The Lowe Post podcast last month, guest Chris Vernon posed an interesting question: When was the last time neither of the top two seeds in a conference was among the two favorites to win it?
The Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns will both have home-court advantage up through a possible meeting against each other in the conference finals. Yet neither Phoenix nor Utah is favored to win the West. Despite needing the play-in tournament to secure a spot in the playoffs, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers have the best odds, at +200, according to Caesars Sportsbook by William Hill, with the No. 4 seed LA Clippers (+250) also ahead of the Jazz (+300) and Suns (+800).
Why aren't Phoenix and Utah getting more love? And just what does regular-season success mean in a singular season? As the West's top two prepare to face opponents from the play-in tournament, let's break it down.
Unprecedented West favorites
First, let's answer Vernon's question.