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Lakers Favored Over Thunder Out West

Despite winning the Western Conference in 2012, the Oklahoma City Thunder have been ousted by the Los Angeles Lakers as the favorites to win the West in 2013, according to VegasInsider.com. The Lakers' odds of winning the NBA title are 11-to-5, while the Thunder's odds are 9-to-2.

The Thunder return two of the NBA's brightest young stars in Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. Those two, along with Durant's fellow gold medalist James Harden and Serge Ibaka, form arguably the best nucleus of young talent in the league. However, the oddsmakers seem to prefer strong veteran presence instead, with their selection of the Lakers as the favorites. During the offseason, Los Angeles added Steve Nash and Dwight Howard to go with Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol.

At the very least, it makes an interesting argument, as both teams' top-fours are among the league's best. The Miami Heat, who also boast a strong collection of stars, have the same odds of winning the title as the Lakers.

For more on the Thunder, be sure to visit Welcome To Loud City. Additional coverage on the Lakers can be found at Silver Screen And Roll, while SB Nation's NBA hub is the place to go for pro basketball news.