2021 NBA Championship Odds and Expert Predictions
For those of you who feel like the Los Angeles Lakers were celebrating an NBA Championship approximately four hours ago, you’re not alone. The NBA wrapped up its season about 60 days ago (October 11), as the Lakers beat the Miami Heat 106-93 in Game 6 of the Finals. That win catapulted the Lakers to their 17th NBA Title, which equals the Boston Celtics for the most titles in NBA history. As you will see by the odds below, much of the same is expected from the Lakers as the Las Vegas sportsbooks have tabbed the Lakers as the odds-on betting favorites to repeat. However, there is a trio of teams that Vegas feels can hang with the Lakers. And I have to admit that I’m not sold on any of those three teams, especially at their current odds.
NBA Championship Odds
Los Angeles Lakers +275, Brooklyn +550, Los Angeles +600, Milwaukee +600.
What more can be said about the Lakers, particularly LeBron James, that hasn’t already been said? Yes, he’s in the conversation for GOAT and perhaps may be closing in on Jordan faster than those who grew up in the 90s would like to admit. If LeBron can carry the Lakers – with the help of his supporting cast – to a repeat championship, it would be hard to argue against James overtaking Jordan atop the mantle of NBA greatness. But this is a team sport, so James is going to need help, especially if the Lakers are to make a deep run. Anthony Davis has proven himself as invaluable to the Lakers as he’s a unicorn of sorts. He compliments James well as he can not only use his massive size to dominate inside, but he can handle the ball and step out and make jump shots. Outside of those two superstars, the Lakers actually found a way to get better for the upcoming season. The addition of Dennis Schroder gives the Lakers a ball-handler who can facilitate and create his own shots. But perhaps the biggest addition of the offseason was luring Montrezl Harris from the Clippers to give the Lakers a legitimate shutdown defender. In a best of seven series, it’s going to be extremely tough to beat the Lakers four times.
As for the other LA team, the Clippers were able to sign Serge Ibaka from Toronto, and that move gives them an energy guy who can defend well. They still have Kawhi Leonard and Paul George calling the shots with Lou Williams coming off the bench, but the depth is questionable, and I don’t believe they match up well with the Lakers should they meet in the postseason. At the current price, given the state of their in-city rivals, I’d pass on the Clippers.
Over in the East, the Brooklyn Nets are finally going to see their plan come to fruition as a healthy Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving figure to give opposing teams fits on the defensive end of the court. Irving is a great playmaker, while Durant is one of the best and most pure scorers the game has seen. They have good depth based on the fact that the depth guys this year were thrust into the starting role last season due to injuries. That experience will play a crucial role for them, and I believe the Nets are going to be a contender all season long.
As for the Bucks, it’s hard to back them at this current price as they are a one-man team. As Giannis goes, so do the Bucks, but we’ve seen time and time again that if Giannis gets locked down, or has an off night, the likes of Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez simply can’t pick up the production. Because of that, I’m out on the Bucks this year due to roster issues and the outside chance that Antetokounmpo already has his bags packed and is counting down the days till he gets a dream move to a team of preference.
Boston +1500, Philadelphia +1600, Miami +1700, Denver +2000, Golden State +2000, Toronto +2500, Dallas +2500, Utah +2800, Houston +2800, Phoenix +4000, Portland +4500, New Orleans +6000.
The problem with this group of contenders is that the first three – Boston, Philadelphia, Miami – are essentially interchangeable and will inevitably run into one another in the first or second round of the playoffs. It’s hard to imagine Miami duplicating their success from last season, but it’s also hard to imagine Philadelphia and Boston being that much better this year since the biggest move either team made was the 76ers grabbing Danny Green. If the rumors about James Harden and the Sixers are true, that would make the Sixers a serious player in the east.
In the west, it’s one big cluster of teams who are essentially playing for second place. Denver has great pieces but so does Dallas, Utah and Houston. It’s almost as if they cancel each other out with only the Mavericks – in my opinion – being the only team able to match up with the Lakers (if they play their very best). That’s the team I’d try and throw some money down on and hope for a hedge opportunity in the Western Conference Finals.
Indiana +10000, San Antonino +10000, Washington +10000, Memphis +12500, Orlando +12500, Charlotte +125000, Oklahoma City +15000, Minnesota +15000, Sacramento +15000, New York +15000, Chicago +15000, Detroit +20000, Cleveland +25000.
As for the rest, better luck next year. Indiana and San Antonio have some good pieces but are nowhere near the quality of the upper-echelon teams. Cleveland, Detroit and Chicago are likely headed for lottery picks in the next draft, and teams like Orlando, Charlotte and OKC are teams that are still trying to build for the future.
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