The NBA regular season is in the home stretch, and now is as good a time as ever to reset and take a look ahead at the 2021 NBA Championship odds and futures picks that could very well pan out.
There’s a saying in the media world: You don’t root for players, you root for people, and one of the people in the NBA that has been the easiest to root for over the course of the last eight months has been Jamal Murray.
We all saw him put on a show in the bubble, when he elevated himself from just another good combo-guard to being one of the best and most exciting young talents in the league. He became easy to embrace after he bared his soul on national television, letting the world see the struggle that even the wealthiest Black men in America deal with in the wake of a rash of shootings of unarmed Black men and women. And just as his Denver Nuggets team, bolstered by an MVP-caliber season from superstar center Nikola Jokic, seemed to be hitting the crescendo of their season, it all went up in smoke.
Murray tore his ACL on Tuesday night, ending his season and, in all likelihood, any real chance that Denver has to win the NBA title. Case in point: Their odds to win the title plummeted in the aftermath, dropping all the way down to (+4500) at Bet Rivers.
Longtime basketball writer Rob Dauster, the co-founder of The Field of 68 Podcast Network is here to break down the 2021 NBA Championship odds and give his analysis on futures bets worth a wager as the NBA regular season begins to wrap up.
With that in mind, let’s take a look at where the value lies for 2021 NBA championship odds. Looking for the full list of 2021 NBA futures? Click here.
Latest 2021 NBA Championship Odds
Click here for the full list of 2021 NBA Championship odds. (Odds as of Friday, April 16)
1. Brooklyn Nets +250
2. Los Angeles Lakers +350
3. Los Angeles Clippers +500
4. Milwaukee Bucks +700
5. Utah Jazz +900
6. Philadelphia 76ers +1100
7. Phoenix Suns +2000
8. Miami Heat +2800
9. Dallas Mavericks +4000
10. Denver Nuggets +4500
11. Boston Celtics +5000
12. Portland Trail Blazers +6000
13. Atlanta Hawks +10000
14. Indiana Pacers +15000
14. Memphis Grizzlies +15000
14. Toronto Raptors +15000
LOS ANGELES LAKERS (+350)
I still can’t believe that I am actually writing this, but there is quite a bit of value on the Lakers at this number.
As of this very moment, the Nets are the favorites to win the title at (+250), and rightfully so. They have two of the, what, five best players in the NBA in James Harden and Kevin Durant? Throw in Kyrie Irving, and you may have the three best isolation scorers in the league on one roster. Joe Harris is there. Nic Claxton has been a revelation. Blake Griffin arrived last month. What else is there to say? The Nets should be the favorites at this point.
But winning a title is hardly a foregone conclusion for the Nets. They have been ravaged with injuries (and, in Irving’s case, paid time off). Irving and Durant have started just 14 games together all season long. Harden has joined those two on the floor for a grand total of 186 minutes over just seven games this entire season.
I think the narrative about a lack of chemistry of the floor is a little overblown at this point, but there is certainly reason to be skeptical enough to back the Lakers in the championship market at this price. Remember, this is still the same team that we all penciled in to win back-to-back titles back in December. They were 21-7 before Anthony Davis was injured. They’ve played the last four weeks without LeBron as well, as as you can probably imagine, removing two Hall of Famers from the rotation has hurt the Lakers.
If the season ended today, the Lakers would be matched up with the Nuggets in the first round. With Murray done for the season, this means their path will be that much easier to get to the Finals, whether they played a weakened Denver team or someone lower in the standings.
That price is just too good to pass up.
UTAH JAZZ (+900)
I understand the hesitancy that people would have to back the Jazz.
The franchise has never won an NBA title, and they are coming off of a series where they blew a 3-1 lead to the Nuggets. People don’t forget that stuff, even when you have the best record in the NBA.
But consider this: The Jazz are the only team in the NBA with both a top-five offense and a top-five defense. They also have one of the most prolific three-point attacks in NBA history, shooting more than 43 triples per game and hitting them at a 38.9 percent clip as a team. Donovan Mitchell can take games over. Mike Conley is as much of a veteran point guard presence as you’ll find. They have a slew of 3-and-D wings that can create matchup problems. At some point, you have to say there’s a better than 10 percent chance that this group wins the title.
MILWAUKEE BUCKS (+700)
I don’t know that I want to invest anywhere in the East other than Brooklyn, and maybe Philly, at this point, but I do think that mentioning the Bucks is worthwhile. Giannis is Giannis after all.
I think the play here is actually to wait a bit and see if the price gets better. Giannis has missed five straight games and seven of the last 12. If he’s not healthy, there’s no sense in backing Milwaukee at these price points, and if he is, we might be able to get them at better odds in a couple of weeks, when he returns to the lineup and the Bucks drop a bit in the standings.
DALLAS MAVERICKS (+4000)
If you like a good dart throw, I think the Mavs are worth gambling on. Luka Doncic is Luka Doncic, and we all know what he’s capable of, and with the way things currently stand, Dallas is looking at getting Phoenix in the first round and either the Clippers or Portland in the second round. Those are series that they can win.