2022 NBA Championship Odds and Expert Predictions
As we approach the All-Star Break, we must first get through the dog days of January. In basketball, it is known that there may be some extra tired legs with tough schedules and lots of travel. Although because of COVID, most teams do not have the same number of games played, and we can safely say that this is the halfway point of the year with most teams having played between 41 and 44 games. With that being said, let’s see who has a shot at bringing the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy home this season.
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The Favorites: Brooklyn Nets (+260), Golden State Warriors (+460), Milwaukee Bucks (+700), Phoenix Suns (+800)
Kevin Durant and the Brooklyn Nets are the betting favorites to be champions, and fully-manned this is for good reason. They have a three-headed front that is arguably the best in the NBA of Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden. They are elite offensively and have shown the ability to really defend the perimeter. Their biggest question mark revolves around the vaccination status of Irving. He was just reinstated by the team to play on the road, but because of a vaccination mandate in indoor venues in New York, Kyrie can’t play at home. They are a risky bet because of this, as he would only play in half of the playoff games each series. And now Durant is out for 4-6 weeks. But he should be back in plenty of time for the postseason.
The Warriors are looking like the Warriors of old with the return to elite performance and the return of Klay Thompson. This team is confident, well-coached and poised to make a deep playoff run. As the Western Conference team with the shortest odds to win a title, it would be amazing for things to come full circle to see KD against the Warriors, as the last time they played in the playoffs, he joined their roster the next year. The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks have good value right now, as they are still finding their form after a slow start to the season with injuries and COVID. However, now with Giannis playing at a high level, this might just be the best price you can get on Milwaukee.
The Phoenix Suns made an incredible run last year, falling short in the NBA Finals. And while Monty Williams still has the boys playing well, they fit right in here as the fourth most-likely team, as these other teams have more star-power and championship pedigree on their rosters.
The Contenders: Utah Jazz (+1200), Los Angeles Lakers (+1300), Miami Heat (+1500), Chicago Bulls (+2100), Philadelphia 76ers (+2200), Denver Nuggets (+2700), Memphis Grizzlies (+3200), Dallas Mavericks (+4600)
While some team’s odds are much longer than others, and some teams on the rest (below) have shorter odds than two of these, these are the teams who once they are in, they can turn it on and make some noise. It has been a crazy season, and these teams have had their fair share or injuries and drama. The Bulls, 76ers, and Grizzlies are the teams that I would get behind from this list, as they have shown flashes of being unstoppable when being fully manned and playing at their best level. Also, LeBron is 37 years old and can’t do it all himself, but he also is too involved in front office actions to let a system truly work. However, for me they are only on this list because of their odds.
I needed to give a special mention to the Dallas Mavericks, as they are just suffocating teams on the defensive side of the ball and have shown that they fear no one. They are one trade away from having the offensive firepower to really be a tough out for any team.
The Rest: Los Angeles Clippers (+3000), Atlanta Hawks (+4600), Boston Celtics (+6500), Cleveland Cavaliers (+11000), Charlotte Hornets (+12000), New York Knicks (+12000), Toronto Raptors (+13000), Minnesota Timberwolves (+16000), Portland Trail Blazers (+16000), Washington Wizards (+18000), Indiana Pacers (+49000), Houston Rockets (+50000), San Antonio Spurs (+50000), Oklahoma City Thunder (+50000), New Orleans Pelicans (+50000), Sacramento Kings (+50000), Detroit Pistons (+50000), Orlando Magic (+50000)
These teams can see the light at the end of the tunnel on one of the craziest seasons in NBA history, as their championship odds are extremely long at best. The Clippers and Cavaliers have the most promise to come off of this list next year. However, for the rest of the teams, management should be watching college basketball to try and find some difference-makers to add next time around.
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