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The Amateur’s Guide to the 2021 NBA Title Odds

It’s never too early to start looking towards the future, especially in the gambling world. This week was proof of that, as NBA fans got their first look at the 2020-2021 championship odds before the 2019-2020 season even wrapped up. Courtesy of William Hill Sportsbook, the odds favor the Los Angeles Lakers, which should be no shock given that they’re well on their way to title number 17. However, some other spots on the list may surprise you. Here are the entire rankings:

Los Angeles Lakers4/1
Los Angeles Clippers5/1
Golden State Warriors9/1
Milwaukee Bucks9/1
Boston Celtics12/1
Brooklyn Nets12/1
Miami HEAT14/1
Toronto Raptors16/1
Denver Nuggets20/1
Houston Rockets22/1
Dallas Mavericks25/1
Philadelphia 76ers33/1
Portland Trail Blazers33/1
New Orleans Pelicans40/1
Phoenix Suns40/1
Utah Jazz40/1
Oklahoma City Thunder66/1
Memphis Grizzlies75/1
Atlanta Hawks100/1
Chicago Bulls100/1
Indiana Pacers100/1
Washington Wizards100/1
Cleveland Cavaliers250/1
Detroit Pistons250/1
Minnesota Timberwolves250/1
Orlando Magic250/1
Sacramento Kings250/1
San Antonio Spurs250/1
New York Knicks300/1
Charlotte Hornets500/1

The first team that stands out is the Golden State Warriors, who have to be the first team this millennium to have such high odds after finishing with the league’s worst record. What’s more, they might actually be a valuable bet. At 9/1 odds, they’re still generating a massive payout if they go on to win their fourth Larry O’Brien Trophy of the last decade. Very possible, considering they’ll be the deepest they’ve been in years.

The HEAT are also suspiciously low, despite being in the NBA finals as I write this. Having just beaten two teams ranked ahead of them (the Celtics and Bucks), the oddsmakers are clearly predicting those teams will be active on the transaction market, or potentially that Jayson Tatum and Giannis Antentokoumnpo will take one more leap as they continue to develop. However, don’t count out any of those possibilities for Miami. Bam Adebayo will only continue to grow as a player, and according to the Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor, they’re poised to be a major threat to sign a superstar free agent.

At 25/1 odds, expect a lot of action on the Dallas Mavericks. It was only a month ago that Dallas gave the Clippers a run for their money, and there are plenty of avenues for the Mavs to become bonafide title contenders. Luka Doncic could take another step towards superstardom, and given he put up 28.8/9.4/8.8 while shooting only 31.6% from distance, it’s certainly possible. However, what pushes the Mavs from spooky to borderline terrifying is their ability to clear cap space: outside of Kristaps Porzingis, the Mavericks don’t have any multi-year deals worth more than $10 million per year to get rid of. That means that Dallas could be a major player on the transaction market, potentially enabling them to create a big three around Doncic, Porzingis, and another big name.

Oddly (no pun intended), the Indiana Pacers have the second lowest odds of any of this year’s playoff teams. Though they didn’t put up the world’s greatest showing this year, they did lose to the eventual Eastern Conference champion, and were never at full health this entire season. If T.J. Warren can maintain his bubble form, the return of Domantas Sabonis and Victor Oladipo mean you could certainly do worse at 100/1 (see Hawks, Atlanta). 

At their respective odds, you could put down $12 on the Warriors, $8 on the Nets or HEAT, $4 on the Mavericks, and $1 on the Pacers in order to give yourself five chances to win $100 at a total of 4/1 odds. BSP doesn’t officially endorse gambling, but I do endorse good bets, and truly feel this is one of them.

Not sold on my betting? Let me know your picks on Twitter @klaytheistadam

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