- Brooklyn is a +220 favorite to win the NBA Championship, as the Playoffs get underway on Saturday (May 22nd)
- Milwaukee, who led the league in points per game, offers value at +800
- See below for updated NBA Championship Odds and analysis
The NBA’s inaugural Play-In Tournament is in the books, and now its time for the Playoffs to officially tip-off on Saturday (May 22nd).
Thanks to an overtime victory on Friday over Golden State, Memphis is the only 9 or 10 seed to advance from the Play-In Tournament, but they’ll face an uphill battle against Utah in the opening round. The Jazz won an NBA-best 52 games this season, but are not the favorites to win the title. That honor belongs to Brooklyn, who saw its price to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy actually get shorter this week at FanDuel.
2021 NBA Championship Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+460|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+600|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+5500|
|New York Knicks||+12000|
Odds as of May 21st.
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The Nets’ NBA Championship Odds were trimmed from +250 to +220. Brooklyn hasn’t won a league championship since 1976, but that hasn’t stopped bettors from racing to the window to wager on the Nets.
Can Brooklyn’s Big Three Stay Healthy?
According to reports, some sportsbooks claim that over 50% of the money they’ve taken on championship futures has been on Brooklyn. The Nets opened the season around +900 to win it all, but were quickly shortened to around +300 after acquiring James Harden.
Hey @JHarden13 – we often hear players or coaches say – we just need to do what we do best! If you do that – is this an NBA Championship team? “1000 percent!” @BrooklynNets #Nets pic.twitter.com/tSVY3AXdtN
— Bruce Beck (@BruceBeck4NY) May 19, 2021
Speaking of Harden, Brooklyn will only go as far as he, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving will take them, however they haven’t exactly spent a lot of time playing together. The Big Three have been on the court together for only eight games all season, which equates to just 5.8% of the Nets regular season minutes. The least amount of regular season games a championship team’s top three scorers have played together is 10 games (LA Lakers 2000-01), and if one of the Big Three goes down this postseason, Brooklyn could be looking at an early exit.
KD played just 35 regular season games due to a hamstring injury and COVID related absences, while Harden just returned last week after over a month long layoff with a hamstring injury of his own. Irving is constantly sitting out games for personal or minor injuries, and sometimes it appears like basketball is the last thing on his mind.
“There’s a lot of dehumanization going on. … It’s just too much going on in the world for me to just be talking about basketball.”
-Kyrie Irving after today’s game
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 15, 2021
That’s not to say the Nets aren’t a deserving favorite, because they are. They have the most raw talent of any team, but the gap between themselves and some of the other championship contenders isn’t nearly as wide as the odds suggest. Especially given the injury and potential chemistry concerns around the Big Three. Instead of laying a short price on the Nets, don’t hesitate to give a long look at the East’s number 3 seed.
Fear the Deer
Milwaukee entered last postseason as one of the top contenders to win the title, but that dream was erased in the conference semifinals by Miami. The Bucks’ lack of depth and porous three-point shooting derailed their championship hopes, but they wasted no time addressing those issues in the offseason.
Whatever Bucks ownership promised Giannis in their postseason meeting … I think they exceeded it.
Swinging trades for a two-way force like Jrue Holiday and a marksman of Bogdan Bogdanovic's caliber before we even get to the draft is league-shaking work from Jon Horst and Co.
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 17, 2020
Milwaukee brought in Jrue Holiday to replace Eric Bledsoe at the point, and the move has paid off in spades. The two-time All-NBA Defensive team member leads the Bucks in steals, and ranks third in scoring. He’s shooting 39.2% from three, while dishing out 6 helpers per game. They also added 6th Man of the Year candidate Bobby Portis, who leads all rotational players in three-point efficiency (47.1%), and ranks second in rebounding.
— NBA (@NBA) March 25, 2021
Bryn Forbes was also brought in for his shooting prowess (45.2% from three), while P.J. Tucker was acquired at the deadline for his leadership, defense and toughness.
Giannis Antetokounmpo meanwhile, is still one of the league’s super elites, and is fresh off one of his best statistical seasons ever. The same can be said for Khris Middleton, who averaged 20.4 points per game, and 41.4% from beyond the arc.
Charles Barkley calls the Brooklyn Nets "championship or bust." That being said …
"The Milwaukee Bucks are coming out of the East GUARANTEED!"
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) May 20, 2021
Milwaukee led the league in scoring this year (120.1 ppg), becoming the first team since the 1984-85 Denver Nuggets to average at least 120 points per night. 22 teams in NBA history have averaged at least that many points, and four of them have gone on to hoist the Larry O-B.
Don’t Sleep On the Suns
Phoenix certainly got the short end of the stick by drawing the Lakers in the 1st Round, but regardless the Suns title odds are out of whack. This was the second best team in a very competitive Western Conference, and they closed the season with nine wins in their last 12 games.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) May 20, 2021
Chris Paul played an an MVP level all season, while Devin Booker is one of the game’s premier scorers. They ranked top-seven in both scoring offense and defense, while leading the West in 2-point field goal percentage, and ranking seventh from beyond the arc.
Devin Booker's 2020-21 regular season (Year 6) : 25.6 points on 48.4% shooting, 34% from 3, 86.7% from the FT line, 4.2 rebounds & 4.3 assists in 34 minutes (Played 67/72 games. 4th straight season of averaging 25+ points per game. 2nd straight All-Star appearance) pic.twitter.com/zrw1ght7cd
— Lee Harvey (@MusikFan4Life) May 17, 2021
Yet their Championship price tag has been lengthened to +2500, after hovering around +1500 last week. They were 2-1 against the defending champs this season, and swept Utah, the conference’s top seed. If they upset LA in the 1st round, their title odds are going to plummet, so if you’re looking for a sleeper to back, no longshot has a higher ceiling.