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Bucks vs Lakers +900 Favorite to Be 2021 NBA Finals Matchup

Sam Cox

by Sam Cox in NBA Basketball

Nov 30, 2020 · 11:27 AM PST

LeBron James guards Giannis Antetokounmpo
Will LeBron James and Giannis Antetokounmpo matchup in the 2021 NBA Finals? (Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire.
  • The Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks are the favored NBA Finals matchup
  • Brooklyn are second favorites to come out of the East – they are +1100 to meet the Lakers in the Finals
  • See all odds on 2021 Finals possibilities below

The reigning champion Lakers are the favorites in the NBA Championship odds for 2021, and that is reflected in odds released on potential Finals matchups.

LeBron James’ team feature in the two shortest-priced pairings against the Milwaukee Bucks, and Brooklyn Nets, respectively.

Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets are +1100 to face the Lakers in the NBA Finals. A rematch of the bubble Finals is at +1800 – a longer price than the Celtics matching up with the Lakers.

2021 NBA Finals Matchup Odds

Team Odds
Milwaukee Bucks vs Los Angeles Lakers +900
Brooklyn Nets vs Los Angeles Lakers +1100
Milwaukee Bucks vs Los Angeles Clippers +1200
Brooklyn Nets vs Los Angeles Clippers +1400
Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Lakers +1600
Miami Heat vs Los Angeles Lakers +1800
Boston Celtics vs Los Angeles Clippers +2500
Miami Heat vs Los Angeles Clippers +2500
Toronto Raptors vs Los Angeles Lakers +3000

Odds from November 30th

Bucks vs Lakers a Strong Possibility

The Bucks and Lakers were the two best teams in the 2019-20 regular season. Both have improved – the Bucks upgraded from Eric Bledsoe to Jrue Holiday, while the Lakers added scoring in the shape of Montrezl Harrell and Dennis Schroder, also improving at center with Marc Gasol.

The Lakers are heavy title favorites with under a month until the season starts, and understandably so, given how dominant they were in the Orlando bubble playoffs.

Milwaukee’s status as East favorites is more complex. They were historically great defensively last season, and Giannis Antetokounmpo made it back-to-back MVP awards, but for the second year in a row, they came unglued in the playoffs. The East has only got stronger – are the Bucks really a good bet to make the Finals?

Picking the Bucks to be the best Eastern Conference team in the regular season is fair. Skepticism about their playoff credentials is understandable, too. As good as Holiday is, there’s still a shortage of ball handling on this roster and Mike Budenholzer’s rotations in the postseason are an area of concern.

The +900 price is okay. It’s nothing better than that given the uncertainty about Milwaukee as a postseason team, but their performances over the last two seasons make them deserving favorites to come out the East.

Overvaluing Brooklyn

These odds suggest an incredible amount of confidence in Kevin Durant returning to the player he was. Brooklyn is the great unknown of the East’s contenders. Durant at his Warriors best with a healthy Kyrie Irving could easily make them favorites, but Irving has been unable to stay healthy and Durant has not played an NBA game since the summer of 2019.

That’s before the chemistry issues are considered. The Nets were a worse team with Irving on the floor last season. It’s a roster, in contrast to Milwaukee, which is loaded with ball handling. How does Steve Nash bring the best out of Spencer Dinwiddie and Caris LeVert alongside Durant and Irving? Brooklyn’s desire to land a third star is unrealized so far.

The Nets are not stocked with defensive studs, either. A lot will be asked of Durant on that end of the floor. Who guards Antetokounmpo in a playoff series?

Even with such huge upside, the Nets are not a good bet to make the Finals. If they were closer to +1500 to meet the Lakers, it might be worth considering, but at +1100, they should be avoided until we have seen them play.

Underrated Celtics

The Celtics have made a habit of losing the Conference Finals. It’s a frustrating place to be, but it also illustrates how close Brad Stevens has gotten. They could have easily beaten the Heat in Orlando with better fourth quarter execution. Maybe their clutch play improves with further post-season experience.

Losing Gordon Hayward hurts, but they bolstered their center rotation with the signing of Tristan Thompson.

Kemba Walker’s knees are an ever-present worry too, but it’s not unreasonable to expect further improvement from Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. They have the personnel to, once again, be an elite defensive team.

The trade exception created with the Hayward sign-and-trade gives Danny Ainge flexibility to make considerable improvements to the roster during the season. Their depth isn’t great, but the top-end of the Celtics roster is arguably the best in the East.

Could we see the Lakers and Celtics meet in the Finals for the 13th time? It’s a good value bet at +1600.

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