2021 NBA Championship Picks with Playoffs Set To Tip Off

  • BetOnline and Bovada have updated 2021 NBA Championship odds on the eve of the postseason
  • Brooklyn (+200) is the favorite to win the title, but questions abound whether their Big Three can stay on the court
  • The Lakers (+400) and Sixers (+750) are both great ways to bet against the Nets staying healthy

The NBA’s inaugural play-in tournament begins this week with eight teams (four from each conference) battling for the final four seeds in the NBA playoffs, but never in his wildest imagination did NBA commissioner Adam Silver think one of the play-in games would feature a battle between two-time league MVP Steph Curry and four-time NBA MVP LeBron James, two men who have combined to win five of the past six NBA championships.

Because the defending champion Lakers will be fighting for their postseason lives in the play-in tournament, oddmakers favor the Brooklyn Nets’ trio of superstars to win this year’s  NBA Finals. Let’s examine the latest title odds for the 20 teams still alive and review some tips for betting on basketball here.

2021 NBA Championship Odds

Brooklyn Nets+200+240
Los Angeles Lakers+400+500
Los Angeles Clippers+575+550
Utah Jazz+700+650
Philadelphia 76ers+850+900
Milwaukee Bucks+900+800
Phoenix Suns+1400+1400
Denver Nuggets+3300+2500
Miami Heat+3300+2800
Dallas Mavericks+4000+5000
Portland Trail Blazers+6600+5500
New York Knicks+7500+8000
Atlanta Hawks+8000+6000
Golden State Warriors+8000+10000
Washington Wizards+8000+25000
Boston Celtics+10000+13000
Indiana Pacers+20000+30000
Memphis Grizzlies+20000+25000
Charlotte Hornets+25000+40000
San Antonio Spurs+30000+75000

Can the Brooklyn Nets stay healthy?

Brooklyn (+200) is favored to win the NBA title and all that’s likely stopping them is their health. Since trading for James Harden in January, the Nets’ Big Three have played in just eight games together with Kyrie Irving missing games for personal reasons and both Kevin Durant and the Beard missing over a month with a hamstring strain.

The fewest games a championship team’s top three scorers have played together in a regular season is 10, when the 2000-01 Lakers played just 10 games with Kobe Bryant, Shaquille O’Neal and Derek Fisher. That shows a Nets title is possible despite a lack of chemistry, but to win it all, Brooklyn’s trio of superstars will need to maintain good health through four straight playoff series.

Philadelphia (+750) seems like the best way to short the Nets if you don’t think they can stay healthy. After locking down the No. 1 seed in the East, the Sixers have an easy path to reach the Eastern Conference finals for the first time in 20 years, while Brooklyn has to face Giannis and the Bucks (+900) in the second round.

Doc Rivers’ club beat the Nets two out of three times this year and play the kind of hard-nosed defense that could slow down KD and company, especially if one of the Big Three is absent. Even if you don’t consider Philly a championship-worthy club, the lackluster competition they’ll face in the first two rounds makes them a strong bet to win the Eastern Conference at +300 on Bovada.

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The Lakers will be just fine

Considering how dominant LeBron James and Anthony Davis were in the bubble last fall, getting the Lakers at +500 (Bovada) to repeat as champions almost seems like a gift. Everyone knows the top two seeds in the West, Utah (+700) and Phoenix (+1400), don’t have the star wattage required to win in basketball’s postseason and how many times do we have to watch the Clippers (+575) choke before losing faith?

Both Luka Doncic and 2021 NBA MVP Nikola Jokic also don’t have the supporting cast required for the Dallas Mavericks (+4000) and Denver Nuggets (+3300) to make a run. That leaves the Lakers almost by default. While having to compete in a play-in game is not ideal for a club that has been beat up all year, LeBron has taken his team to the NBA Finals the past nine times he was in the postseason.

The Nets will win the title if healthy, but that’s too big an IF. We’ll roll with the Purple & Gold at +500. 

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Steve Starr

Steve is one of the many Americans who spends Sunday watching football on the couch and gorging on heart-clogging eats. He describes himself as a good father, great dog owner, and mediocre gambler and husband.

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