With the opening tip-off on the 2021/2022 NBA season less than a month away, the action is heating up on the NBA championship odds. Aiming to rebound from an injury-plagued campaign that ended with a disappointing early exit from the playoffs, the Brooklyn Nets get set to return to action as the favourites to claim their first-ever NBA crown. The Nets are closely followed by LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, while the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks sit alongside the Golden State Warriors, well back of the top of the odds. Just two years removed from their first-ever championship win, the Toronto Raptors face low expectations this time around, as the club enters the post-Kyle Lowry era.
CanadianBettingSites takes a look at all the odds and trends ahead as the countdown towards the start of the 2021/2022 NBA season continues. Sports bettors looking to get in on NBA action for the first time can refer to our betting guides to learn all they need to know to get the best out of their basketball betting experience.
Nets, Lakers Favoured to Rebound
Hopes are high that the Brooklyn Nets are poised to rebound from last season’s disappointment. With stars like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and James Harden all missing significant time due to injury, the Nets were forced to settle for a second-place finish in the Eastern Conference standings, and a second-round exit from the postseason. But with Irving and Durant back at full health, and Durant inked to a lucrative new four-year contract, Brooklyn has emerged as a clear favourite on the NBA futures, with odds as short as 3.30 at Bet99.
— SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 6, 2021
The Lakers also return amid high expectations despite closing out last season amid disappointment. After struggling to play .500 ball down the stretch on their way to a shocking seventh-place finish in the Western Conference, the Lakers were quickly dispatched in the first round of the playoffs, bowing out to the revitalized Portland Trail Blazers in six games. Lacking the injury excuses that the nets have been able to point to, Los Angeles gets set for the new season with momentum on the NBA championship odds at Betway, where they closely follow Brooklyn as a 4.00 bet.
What Do Durant, LeBron have Left in the Tank?
But considering the tough campaigns each of these favourites are coming off, it is tough to find the value in their short odds. Certainly, a healthy Durant can be a game changer for Brooklyn. But after missing most of the past two seasons, will there be any rust on the 32-year-old? Questions also linger about Irving’s durability. The 29-year-old has played over 60 games just once in the past four seasons, and has topped 70 games just three times during his decade-long career.
Column: Lakers collapse under weight of frail A.D. and aging LeBron, so where do they go from here? https://t.co/EP5cUYffdx
— Bill Plaschke (@BillPlaschke) June 4, 2021
And while the Lakers have made significant personnel changes over the offseason, they have been primarily been aging veterans in supporting roles. Make no mistake, this is till LeBron’s team. But like Durant and Irving, the wear and tear are starting to show. King James has averaged fewer than 56 games played per season in the three years since his arrival in Los Angeles, and while it is unwise to underestimate the ability of Anthony Davis to rise to the occasion, the Lakers still face a massive challenge to compete with rising stars in the West.
Can Bucks Make it Two in a Row
Sports bettors searching for value on the early NBA futures should look no further than the Milwaukee Bucks. Fresh off their first NBA championship win in 50 years, the Bucks return to action with their title-winning squad intact. However, they sit well off the pace on the NBA championship odds as an intriguing 10.00 bet at Sports Interaction. The highest scoring team in the NBA last season, the Bucks will once again live and die according to the play of Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Three weeks ago a knee injury left Giannis Antetokounmpo looking 50/50 to return for the rest of the Bucks’ playoff run. Look at him now.
The ‘Greek Freak’ delivered perhaps the best performance of his career & adds an NBA Finals MVP award to his two regular-season MVP trophies!
— Sky Sports (@SkySports) July 21, 2021
After years of disappointment, the Greek Freak enjoyed a breakthrough last season, carrying this team to a title despite enduring injury. But like his team, the reigning regular season MVP and NBA Finals MVP is faded on the odds to claim MVP honours for the third time in his career, sporting long 7.50 odds at Betsafe. And considering they should enjoy an easier road in the East then their championship rivals out west, the Bucks are a solid 1.86 bet at Sports Interaction to win OVER 54.5 games this season.
Where’s the Value in the Rebuilding Raptors?
While the Bucks are looking like a good bet to return to the top of the mountain, it is likely to be a long season for sports bettors loyal to the Toronto Raptors. Fresh off their first losing season since 2013, Toronto made the painful decision to turn the page on their recent championship success by shipping all-time Raptor to the Miami Heat during the offseason. The results have been felt at the sportsbooks, where the Raptors are currently pegged as 101.00 longshots on the NBA championship odds at Bodog. But there should be some encouraging signs from the suddenly youthful Raptors. With Lowry gone, this team now belongs to Fred VanVleet, who has already demonstrated that he has learned his leadership lessons well.
— Tim and Friends (@timandfriends) August 19, 2021
The squad also features a talented bench that includes the likes of Goran Dragic and Precious Achiuwa, and should get a lift from a return to home hardwood at Scotiabank Arena. And while Toronto offers virtually no value on the championship odds, they could make noise in an overrated Eastern Conference, making them a solid 1.86 bet at Bet99 to win OVER 35.5 games, and worthy of a value wager as an intriguing 2.90 bet at Sports Interaction to make the playoffs.