- BetOnline has opening 2021 NBA Championship odds for all 30 teams
- LeBron James and the Lakers opened as +400 favorites to win a second-consecutive Larry O’Brien Trophy
- The Warriors (+700) have the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft to add to their talented trio
In their first season as teammates, LeBron James and Anthony Davis cruised through the NBA bubble playoffs with a 16-5 record, delivering the Lakers franchise its 17th championship banner.
The question now is how many NBA titles can the historic duo win together before the soon-to-be 36-year-old James finally loses a step?
Oddmakers at BetOnline believe King James is capable of going back-to-back for the second time in his career, installing the Purple & Gold as +400 favorites to win the 2021 NBA Championship. After examining the board, let’s look at what teams might stand in his way.
2021 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS
|Los Angeles Lakers||+400|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+600|
|Golden State Warriors||+700|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+3300|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+4000|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+6600|
|San Antonio Spurs||+25000|
|New York Knicks||+30000|
CAN THE LAKERS REPEAT?
James won the NBA Finals MVP by putting up 29.8 points, 11.8 rebounds and 8.5 assists per game in the Lakers’ 4-2 series win against the Heat, but Davis was certainly no slouch, averaging 25.0 points, 10.7 rebounds 3.2 assists, 2.0 blocks and 1.3 steals. The duo also became the first pair of teammates to finish one-two in postseason scoring since Shaquille O’Neal and Kobe Bryant in 2002.
Considering their combined greatness almost makes their supporting cast irrelevant, we feel comfortable betting on a Lakers repeat (+400) before free agency and the draft unfolds.
Only @Lakers duos to win the NBA Finals while both averaging 25+ PPG in the postseason:
LeBron James (27.6 in 2020)
Anthony Davis (27.7 in 2020)
Shaquille O’Neal (36.3 in 2002)
Kobe Bryant (26.8 in 2002) pic.twitter.com/5vAnhvE2pu
— NBA History (@NBAHistory) October 12, 2020
After a monumental choke job against the Nuggets, the Clippers (+600) fired Doc Rivers and are now in the market for a new head coach, with former LeBron acquaintances Ty Lue and Mike Brown reportedly among the top candidates. However, it’s hard to imagine Steve Ballmer’s boys winning the title with Paul George as a second option after the 30-year-old forward folded like a cheap suit in the bubble.
The same goes for Milwaukee (+1000), who failed to reach the Finals for the second-straight year after finishing with the best record in the regular season. If back-to-back NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo doesn’t put pen to paper on a super-max extension this offseason, the Bucks are basically screwed.
CONTENDERS FOR THE CROWN
Golden State (+700) has the No. 2 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft as well a $17.2 million traded-player exception and a mid-level exception to supplement their championship core of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. New arrival Andrew Wiggins could also help with his play, or as trade bait.
What the Warriors don’t have is Kevin Durant, who will be teaming with Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn (+1200) after missing all of last season with an Achilles rupture suffered in the 2019 NBA Finals. While it’s hard to gauge at this point whether the Nets will be true championship contenders, they’ll add much-needed spice to an always lackluster Eastern Conference.
.@stephenasmith says there is no gap between LeBron James and Kevin Durant when it comes to being the best player in the NBA.@kendrickperkins: “The gap is so huge that it’s like [the gap] between the hairline of Stephen A. Smith and his eyebrows.” 😂😭 pic.twitter.com/9lNSdAIhTJ
— First Take (@FirstTake) October 7, 2020
If Jayson Tatum continues on his superstar trajectory, the Celtics (+1200) could reach the Finals for the first time since 2010, but they’ll need GM Danny Ainge to parlay Boston’s three first-round picks into an impact player. Miami (+1200) will also be dangerous if they can add another star around Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, but Pat Riley may choose to be patient in hopes of luring Giannis to South Beach next offseason.
Best Bet: Lakers (+400)