Will the sportsbook betting prohibitive favorite Los Angeles Lakers make consecutive NBA finals appearances after winning it all last season? Could the LA Clippers, Denver Nuggets or Portland Trail Blazers unseat the defending champs in the loaded Western Conference?
In the Eastern Conference, could the Miami Heat repeat as champions over online betting favorite Brooklyn? Will the Milwaukee Bucks finally live up to their playoff potential after coming up well short of their title hopes the last two years? Could the Boston Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers or ‘afterthought’ Toronto Raptors pull off the surprise conference win?
If you love making season-long NBA Futures odds wagers and you want to know which teams have a great chance of meeting in the 2021 NBA Finals, then you’ve come to the right place!
I’ve identified six potential NBA Finals matchups featuring 11 teams, that could all take place next spring, even if the NBA oddsmakers don’t necessarily see it the way I do!
Before we get started, let’s take a look at the current NBA Conference Championship Odds.
Nets vs Lakers +800
Brooklyn is favored to win the Eastern Conference crown while the Lakers are expected to come out of the west for the second straight season. Brooklyn is loaded with talent that goes well beyond Kevin and Kyrie, but I have doubts. The Nets don’t yet have an identity and I believe Kyrie Irving’s often unexplainable ramblings could cost them in the long run. The Lakers improved their roster by adding point guard Dennis Shroeder, Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell and veteran center Marc Gasol. It looks like it’s going to take a monumental effort to dethrone the Lakers.
Check out these value-packed NBA Rookie Special Odds!
Bucks vs Lakers +800
The Bucks have flamed out in the postseason two straight years, but I love Milwaukee’s addition of Jrue Holiday and I believe it could pay huge dividends. I’m expecting to see more growth out of former Villanova star Donte DiVincenzo and the ‘under the radar’ addition of veteran point guard DJ Augustin looks huge to me.
Let’s take a look at the odds to win the 2021 NBA MVP award.
76ers vs Clippers +2500
Philadelphia made a flurry of smart offseason moves. Now, the revamped 76ers have the look and feel of a brand new – and legitimate – title contender to me! The Sixers hired head coach Doc Rivers and his arrival should make an immediate difference. Philadelphia has a pair of legitimate stars in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons and their additions of veteran perimeter snipers Seth Curry and Danny Green could help get this team over the top in the eastern conference.
The Clippers had a loaded roster last season, but they underachieved in a big way by losing to Denver in the west semis. Still, LA is a team with two elite stars in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Power forward Motrezl Harrell might be gone, but LA’s addition of Serge Ibaka softens that loss. I like the hiring of Tyronn Lue to replace Doc Rivers and the Clippers should definitely be motivated!
NBA Division title odds are right here!
Heat vs Nuggets +5500
Miami straight-up punked Milwaukee and then bullied Boston to reach the NBA finals last season. More importantly, I can see Jimmy Butler and the Heat repeating their impressive feat this coming campaign. Miami kept the core of their team together and they simply have a toughness in them that I don’t think many of their eastern conference rivals can match.
As far as the Nuggets are concerned, Denver is a team still on the rise in my mind following last season’s encouraging playoff run to the western conference finals. Denver has a pair of legitimate stars in Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray, but it is the elevation of gifted forward Michael Porter Jr. to the starting lineup that should have everyone in the Western Conference, including the Lakers, a bit nervous!
Check out the 2021 NBA Rookie of the Year Odds!
Celtics vs Trail Blazers +10000
The C’s reached the Eastern Conference finals last season, but they fell to Miami while mostly getting bullied by Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo. Still, Boston has a pair of elite young stars in Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown and a nice complement of other elite talent surrounding the franchise cornerstones. What the Celtics still don’t have is enough big men to compete with teams like Milwaukee, Miami and Philadelphia.
As far as Portland is concerned, the Blazers are my top pick to upset the Lakers in the Western Conference no matter what anyone else says. I think Damian Lillard is now the best point guard in the league (sorry, not sorry) while CJ McCollum is still an all-star capable of taking over when he needs to. More importantly, I believe the return of Carmelo Anthony – and the addition of do-it-all veteran Robert Covington could be just what Portland needs to claim the Western Conference crown!
Check out the latest NBA Championship Odds right here!
Raptors vs Warriors +23000
Oh…so you’ve forgotten about Toronto and Golden State? Shame on you! I’m expecting the Raptors to contend for the East title after coming up one win short of reaching the conference finals. Toronto lost big men Serge Ibaka and Marc Gasol, but they added Aaron Baynes and Alex Len. More importantly, Toronto still has one of the very best backcourts in the league in Kyle Lowry and Fred VanVleet. Pascal Siakam was an all-star last season and the aptly named OG Anunoby has ice in his veins. Sorry, but I’m not quite prepared to count Toronto out just yet!
As far as Golden State is concerned, the Warriors suffered a huge blow by losing Klay Thompson to a season-ending achilles tear. Still, the Dubs landed a potential star in No. 2 overall draft pick James Wiseman. Golden State made another smart transaction by acquiring swingman Kelly Oubre Jr. Steph Curry is back and Draymond Green is healthy. Will the Dubs have enough to compete with the best teams in the Western Conference? At the least, I like Golden State to surprise!