NBA Championship Odds: Brooklyn Nets Continue to Reign

After the first month of the 2021 NBA season, NBA expert Ryan Kirksey breaks down the latest NBA Finals Futures and rankings. He updates us on the latest here.
Ryan Kirksey |
Wed, November 17, 2:37 PM EST | 4 min read
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NBA Championship Odds: Brooklyn Nets Continue to Reign

After a strong week of play for the favorite to cut down the nets (wink, wink) in June, oddsmakers are even more convinced that a certain team in the East will be the last team standing this summer.

The Brooklyn Nets are now far and away the NBA title favorites, with the second-place Lakers now possessing odds double those of Brooklyn. The other teams in the top five didn’t see much movement although each possesses a strong case for the best team.

But just because some people are starting to think it’s more of a sure thing doesn’t mean much right now. Let’s handicap the five teams with the best odds of winning the NBA Finals right now and see where the value may lie.

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5. Utah Jazz (+1300, Last Week: +1300)

At this stage of the season, a two-game losing streak can drop you from second to sixth in the West, which is what happened to the Jazz this week.

Just like the oddsmakers, we shouldn’t overreact to these events and instead, look at the long-term case the Jazz are building. They still rank second in the NBA in offensive rating and are 11th in defensive rating, which is a slight drop from their rank of eighth last week.

The good news is they are healthy and playing well on both ends of the court. The bad news is they have powerhouses like the Lakers, Warriors, and Suns in front of them, and the battle to come out of a crowded West will be a brutal one, as usual.

4. Milwaukee Bucks (+900, Last Week: +900)

It’s not panic time yet for the Bucks as they are still getting healthy, but stuck in 11th place 17% of the way through the season is not where they wanted to be.

They should get Khris Middleton back on Wednesday which will give them about 80% of their projected starting lineup. It comes at just the right time as four of their next five games are against the Thunder, Magic, and Pistons.

If they can make a statement against the Laker on national TV on Wednesday, look for the public sentiment to rise, forcing their odds down as title favorites.

3. Golden State Warriors (+800, Last Week: +900)

The Warriors finally lost their second game of the season this week, but overall have shown no signs of slowing down after their white-hot start to the season.

Golden State still ranks top-three in both offensive and defensive rating and is also now top-three in assist rate and rebound rate among all teams this year.

The longer they last in the top spot in the West, the more likely it will be that their odds fall in line with the top two teams on this list if Klay Thompson can return as anything close to the form he played in before. Even with a drop to +800, I see tremendous value in betting on the Warriors. A top two or three seed is likely this year and we have seen what can happen when Steph and Co. get hot in the playoffs.

2. Los Angeles Lakers (+700, Last Week: +550)

It may have taken 15 games, but the Lakers are at least now in the play-in tournament range, with eyes on making it up within the top six soon. They just can’t develop any consistency that allows them to move up in the standings.

Their last seven games look like this: L, L, W, W, L, W, L. The only consistency is that they can’t put together any kind of streak. The return of LeBron James on Friday should bring some stabilization to this lineup and the end result will likely be their title odds moving back towards the +500 to +600 range.

What they must address to accomplish this, however, is their offensive efficiency. They now rank only 23rd in offensive rating this year and desperately need some improvement there. Until that happens, I’m not touching the Lakers even at +700.

1. Brooklyn Nets (+275, Last Week: +325)

Another veteran-led team heading in the opposite direction of the Lakers is the Brooklyn Nets. After an impressive three-game win streak, they are second in the East and only a half-game behind leader Washington.

As the days go by, it becomes increasingly clear that they may be without Kyrie Irving at all this season. But with that headache curbed, for the time being, have we heard of any drama out of Brooklyn lately? The most controversial thing to happen lately is Bruce Brown saying head coach Steve Nash just learned this year how to properly use their timeouts.

With so much room separating the Nets and the rest of the field at this point, it’s wise to ponder the question: Would I bet the Nets or the field to win the title? If it’s the field, then any of the rest of this list plus other hot teams like the Suns or Heat could have a case.

I’m likely staying away from odds this low this early in the season as the East looks to have multiple serious contenders. But Kevin Durant and James Harden are both smoking right now, which is an elite tandem to have in pursuit of a title.

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