Cover Photo:  Will Newton/Getty Images

The Western Conference has been a bit surprising so far this season with the Portland Trail Blazers, Memphis Grizzlies, and LA Clippers all sitting at 11-5 in a three-way tie atop the conference. Not exactly what you would call your perennial powerhouses. 

What's even more surprising is the Trail Blazers have an NBA-best 9-2 record against teams sitting at or over .500 this season. 

One of Portland's earliest challenges of the season comes this week as they play three straight on the road, where they've been just 3-3. That includes trips to Milwaukee and Golden State before wrapping things up with a home match-up against the Clippers - all of those teams are .500 or better. 

The Trail Blazers begin their road trip today, as a 7.5-point favorite, with a warmup at Madison Square Garden against the New York Knicks. Portland's recent track record has shown they have played up to their opponents' competition, so with three big games coming up after tonight, it'll be interesting to see if they take this game as serious as the others. Sitting at 2-3 against teams below .500, the Trail Blazers will have to improve upon that mark if they want to remain atop the conference. 

If you're looking at NBA MVP futures, Damian Lillard's odds sit at +6000, according to the FanDuel Sportbook. He has averaged 26.6 points and 6.1 assists per game this season. 

In the Western Conference race, Portland remains massive underdogs at +10000 to win the NBA title, with the Warriors and LA Lakers as favorites. However, they have slightly better odds to win the Western Conference at +6000. 

With 16 games played thus far, it's about time to start taking the Trail Blazers seriously. 

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Tommy Orme is not a FanDuel employee. In addition to providing DFS gameplay advice, Tommy Orme also participates in DFS contests on FanDuel using his personal account, username tgorme. While the strategies and player selections recommended in his articles are his personal views, he may deploy different strategies and player selections when entering contests with his personal account. The views expressed in their articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.