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Rob Dauster, a longtime national basketball writer, and co-founder of the Field of 68 Podcast Network, is here to preview the 2020-2021 NBA season and provides some picks on 20201 NBA season odds.
MORE: 2020-2021 NBA FUTURES
2021 NBA Odds: Betting Preview
The Lakers are rightfully rated as the 2021 NBA season odds-on favorite to win the 2021 NBA Finals. They have the best player in the NBA in LeBron. They have the best 1-2 punch in the NBA in LeBron and Anthony Davis. No team in the NBA can stay big while playing “small-ball” the way that the Lakers can. They are the reigning champs. They got better this offseason. I think they are clearly the best team in the West, and if you expect me to sit here and be worried about the Bucks, I’ll do that once the Bucks prove there’s actually a chance they will actually survive long enough to play the Lakers in the Playoffs.
I’m not interested in the Clippers at that price, and the Nuggets losing Jerami Grant takes away some of the luster there. What I do like, however, is Phoenix at +4000. Now, I know Chris Paul and the Playoffs go together like oil and water, but how many teams have a top three that is as good as CP3, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton? They have guys that can really defend around them — Jevon Carter, Mikal Bridges, Jae Crowder — so I’m in on the Suns.
In the East, I do think there is some value on the Bucks +550 to win it, but I think that I’m more interested in the Heat at +650 to win the East. Bam Adebayo is the perfect matchup for Giannis, and while the Bucks did improve their perimeter shooting this offseason, I still just have a hard time trusting them. The same way I have a hard time trusting KD to be fully healthy or Kyrie to be fully same.
2021 NBA Odds: Western Conference
Team (West Odds, NBA Finals Odds)
- Los Angeles Lakers (+140,+275)
- Los Angeles Clippers (+275, +550)
- Denver Nuggets (+1000, +2000)
- Dallas Mavericks (+1100, +2200)
- Golden State Warriors (+1400, +3000)
- Utah Jazz (+1500, +3500)
- Phoenix Suns (+2200, +4000)
- Portland Trail Blazers (+2500, +5000)
- Houston Rockets (+3000, +6000)
- New Orleans Pelicans (+3500, +7000)
- Memphis Grizzlies (+8000, +15000)
- San Antonio Spurs (+8000, +15000)
- Sacramento Kings (+10000, +20000)
- Oklahoma City Thunder (+10000, +20000)
- Minnesota Timberwolves (+10000, +20000)
2021 NBA Odds: Eastern Conference
Team (East Odds, NBA Finals Odds)
- Milwaukee Bucks (+230, +550)
- Brooklyn Nets (+275, +600)
- Boston Celtics (+550, +1300)
- Miami Heat (+650, +1500)
- Toronto Raptors (+800, +1800)
- Philadelphia 79ers (+900, +2000)
- Indiana Pacers (+4000, +10000)
- Atlanta Hawks (+4000, +10000)
- Washington Wizards (+5000, +12000)
- Orlando Magic (+6000, +15000)
- Chicago Bulls (+8000, +20000)
- Charlotte Hornets (+8000, +20000)
- Detroit Pistons (+20000, +40000)
- New York Knicks (+20000, +40000)
- Cleveland Cavaliers (+20000, +40000)
Click here for the full list of NBA Championship odds.
2021 NBA Odds: West Win Totals
PORTLAND (55.5%) 45.5 wins: I’ll elaborate more on Portland below, but I just think that with Damian Lillard having a season like he had a year ago combined with the addition of Robert Covington and Derrick Jones Jr., this team is built the way that you would expect good NBA teams to be built: A couple of backcourt difference-makers, a high-level five and a bevy of versatile and switchable wings that can make threes.
PHOENIX (52.5%) 43 wins: I mentioned it earlier, but how many teams in the NBA having a better top three than Chris Paul, Devin Booker and Deandre Ayton? If Ayton takes the leap I expect him to take this season, he could develop into the best true five in the NBA.
OKLAHOMA CITY (33.3%) 27 wins: Let’s play a game: How many players on the Oklahoma City roster can you name without looking it up? The biggest name is, who, Al Horford? And if he ends up being good this season, are the Thunder going to keep him? They’re in rebuilding mode. That starts by losing a lot of games.
2021 NBA Odds: East Win Totals
ATLANTA (47.5%) 39 Wins: Trae Young is awesome, but he has needed defenders around him to compensate for the fact that he doesn’t want to play defense. They’ve added Rajon Rondo, Kris Dunn and Onyeka Okongwu to the likes of De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish. I think they’ll be able to get stops now.
2021 NBA Odds: NBA MVP Odds
Here’s the thing that frustrates me about the MVP voting: LeBron is always going to be the most valuable player in any league that he is playing in.
He just is.
And there’s no doubt in my mind that, barring injury, he will be the most valuable player in the NBA during the 2020-2021 season.
But that doesn’t mean that he is going to win the award. Some voters are dumb, or stubborn, or Skip Bayless stans. I’m also not sure if LeBron is actually going to play enough games to be able to win the award — the man has reached a point in his life where nothing beyond titles five, six and seven matter to him. So I get it. I understand why LeBron James is +900 to win the MVP. But I’m never going to be the one to tell you not to bet on LeBron for MVP when he has the fourth-best odds in the league.
If you’re looking for a longshot to take a swing at, take Damian Lillard at +1800. We all know about Dame Time by now, and I think that is pretty relevant when it comes to the voting. Moments matter. Going viral for an incredible play matters. Making all of the highlights Instagram pages matters. The buzz and the hype matters. And Dame will have plenty of moments, and buzz, and hype. Oh, and I think there’s a real chance that Portland could end up being a top-four team in the West next season.
That might be enough to do it.
If you want to bet one of the favorites, I would back Giannis Antetokounmpo at +450. Milwaukee is the better team, they should be better this season than they were last season and he’s the reigning MVP. I like Luka, but betting on Luka may just mean you’re betting on voters to fade the Next Big Thing for the guy that was the Next Big Thing before him.
- Luka Doncic, Mavericks: +400
- Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bucks: +450
- Steph Curry, Warriors: +800
- LeBron James, Lakers: +900
- Anthony Davis, Lakers: +900
- Kevin Durant, Nets: +1200
- Jayson Tatum, Celtics: +1600
- Damian Lillard, Trail Blazers: +1800
- James Harden, Rockets: +2000
2021 NBA Odds: Rookie of the Year odds
This is the easiest bet for me: Obi Toppin at +600.
Everyone else that you see listed below is 19 years old. Even Tyrese Haliburton, who was a sophomore coming out of Iowa State, was a young sophomore. It’s hard to be a 19-year-old playing in the NBA, especially when you aren’t LeBron. Toppin is 22. He was a redshirt sophomore that had gone to prep school for a year. And his game is just so perfectly suited for the NBA. He’s an uber-athletic, 6-foot-11 forward that makes threes and can pass. He can do a job in the NBA right now, and while that doesn’t mean all that much for his ceiling, I do think he’ll be the most productive rookie.
The other guy on the list of 2021 NBA Season Odds for Rookie of the Year I like here is Tyrese Haliburton at +1500. I think he ended up in just a perfect spot, because he can slot in alongside De’Aaron Fox and Buddy Hield as a secondary playmaker who can space the floor and play solid team defense. He was a top-six prospect in the draft for me, and he’s priced significantly cheaper than the five guys above him.
- LaMelo Ball, Hornets: +450
- Anthony Edwards, Timberwolves: +450
- James Wiseman, Warriors: +600
- Obi Toppin, Knicks: +600
- Killian Hayes, Pistons: +600
- Deni Avdija, Wizards: +1500
- Tyrese Haliburton, Kings: +1500
- Isaac Okoro, Cavaliers: +2000
- Patrick Williams, Bulls: +2200
- Onyeka Okongwu, Hawks: +2500