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NBA Championship Odds: Who Provides the Best Value?

A fifth of the way through the 2021 NBA season, NBA expert Ryan Kirksey breaks down the latest NBA Finals Futures and rankings. He updates us on the latest here.
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NBA Championship Odds: Who Provides the Best Value?

The odds for the presumed champion Brooklyn Nets shortened just slightly after a strong week of play by James Harden, Kevin Durant, and company. Meanwhile, the Lakers tumbled from second to fourth due to injuries, poor play, and now literal fistfights against their opponents.

But while NBA fans and prognosticators focus on these two big-market squads, teams like the Bucks and Warriors are slowly creeping their way to the top of the list.

Who has the value if we don’t want to invest in the Nets? Let’s dive in and find out.

Click Here For NBA Championship Futures Odds

5. Utah Jazz (+1200, Last Week: +1300)

The Jazz are starting to feel like that TV show you love to watch and gets great ratings, but is not a critical success. No one seems to talk about it, it doesn’t have a lot of fanfare or Emmy buzz, but it’s always there. Same time, the same place, and never lets you down.

Well, that is Utah right now, at least until the playoffs. Then they’ll let you down.

It’s a slight surprise the Heat or Suns haven’t passed them yet considering they were just 5-5 over their last 10 games, the Suns have won 13 in a row, and the Heat climbed up to third in the East. But for the long game, the Jazz certainly have the assets to cut down the nets, they just won’t command the attention and the dollars that the big names will, which will likely keep their odds long.

In what is the least analytical thing I will ever write, I just don’t think the Jazz have that “it” factor to make the Finals this year. So while the record and the +1200 intrigue me, I’m not using my paycheck to bet them.

4. Los Angeles Lakers (+1000, Last Week: +700)

Quite a tumble for the Lakers after they had quite the rumble a couple nights ago in Detroit. But beyond the turmoil of the Malace in the Palace 2.0, the Lakers continue to just tread water in a tough western conference.

They are just 4-6 in their last 10 and were just starting to work Lebron James back in before his suspension. Now Anthony Davis is fighting a mystery non-COVID illness and the search for consistency will have to wait a little longer.

I’ve said it since the beginning of the season, I just don’t think this puzzle will ever fit together like the LA brass and fans want it to.

3. Milwaukee Bucks (+800, Last Week: +900)

Speaking of teams still searching for consistency, the Bucks have scratched and clawed their way to seventh in the East after going 6-4 in their last 10, including four wins in a row. Those four wins helped bump them ahead of the Lakers and shorten their odds.

Giannis Antetokuonmpo looks like an absolute unstoppable beast right now and no team they will see in the playoffs, including the Nets, have shown any kind of sustainable plan for how they will stop him when he plays 36 minutes per night and has a 35 percent usage rate come May and June.

Considering the Bucks still aren’t fully healthy, I think Milwaukee still presents some nice value and a reasonable fade of the heavily favored Brooklyn Nets.

2. Golden State Warriors (+700, Last Week: +800)

If I ever stumble upon Doc Brown’s DeLorean, the first thing I am going to do is go back to early October and bet on Golden State at +2500 to win the title. It is absolutely mind-boggling to think they have dropped from that number to +700 in just about a month’s time.

And they are not close to being done yet. When they welcome back Klay Thompson and James Wiseman, the sky is the limit for this team who now has contributions on both ends of the floor from Jordan Poole and Draymond Green back to doing this triple-double thing with elite defense.

Will the Suns (+1600) – just one game behind them in the standings – ever catch them? Seems unlikely considering the ground they must make up, but I still feel the Warriors are the best Finals bet on the board right now. These odds should continue to drop as we move into the new year.

1. Brooklyn Nets (+260, Last Week: +275)

Finally, all alone atop the Eastern Conference, we may not see them leave that perch for the balance of the season. The only real drama for the sportsbooks may be, can the Warriors or Suns eventually knock them out of the best odds if those teams keep putting together massive winning streaks?

The Nets have the best record in the East over their last 10 games (8-2) and it’s scary to think there are scenarios out there where they get Kyrie Irving back at some point this season and become even better.

Those offensive struggles in the early part of the season seem like a distant memory at this point as Kevin Durant and James Harden are both putting together top-ten offensive rating seasons and proving to be the perfect complement to one another.

I still personally prefer the Warriors at their respective odds, but the Nets are just going to keep dropping. Invest now before the value is gone.

Click Here For NBA Championship Futures Odds


Proudest husband and dad you will ever find. When I'm not with my wife and two kids I split my time working in higher ed, grinding DFS and season-long, collecting silver age comics, studying behavioral economics, and drinking coffee. I once played Pat Connaughton in an actual NBA DFS lineup for money. Astros, Rockets, and Texans for life.


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