2021-22 NBA Odds to Win the Championship
Wed, Oct 20, 2021
By Doug Upstone of Doc’s Sports
Another NBA season is upon us and the list of possible champions is out according to the betting odds.
Milwaukee’s stunning championship was great for the NBA and for fans who don’t like clubs that try to make super teams. And the Bucks and Suns final might not have been a super hit for television viewers, but it was definitely a breath of fresh air.
Here is a look at the contenders for the NBA championship and those one tier down and we’ll close it out at the end with the single most important element to consider when making your NBA picks.
True Championship Contender (odds from DraftKings)
Brooklyn Nets +205
Los Angeles Lakers + 400
Milwaukee Bucks +900
Golden State Warriors +1100
For the Brooklyn Nets, the talent is the best in the NBA. Here is what we don’t know and it applies the same as last year. Can Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving(?) stay healthy enough to make it through the NBA Finals? If they do, the Nets should win, if not, a repeat of last season.
The Lakers added Russell Westbrook, believing he is the third star almost every championship team has always had. But is he the right one? Westbrook is a mercurial performer, who is at his best with the ball in his hands. That also happens to be true of LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Grab the popcorn, this could be stupendous or a disaster.
It took 50 years for Milwaukee to win its second title, but it was worth it. Giannis Antetokounmpo became one of the most likable and affable top players in recent history. Khris Middleton was clutch when it mattered and Jrue Holiday and Bobby Portis added defense and toughness. In truth, nobody expects the Bucks to repeat, which takes the pressure off despite the NBA odds.
Golden State is trying to live in two worlds at once. One is from the past with a younger Stephen Curry, Draymond Green, and Klay Thompson (missed two years) trying to become champions again. The other world is the Warriors' future with the likes of James Wiseman, Jordan Bell, along with Andrew Wiggins. Can coach Steve Kerr meld the past and future into the present to win it all?
Possible Championship Contenders
Utah Jazz +1500
L.A. Clippers +1700
Phoenix Suns +1700
Denver Nuggets +2000
Philadelphia 76ers +2000
Utah was bounced in the postseason by the L.A. Clippers after having a 2-0 series lead. Can the Jazz get off the canvas? The weakness of this club is having a group of reliable shooters when the pressure is on and playing perimeter defense. Always a super regular season team, but the playoffs, not so much.
The Clippers have these low odds despite no timetable for Kawhi Leonard’s return. There is a good chance the Clips will finish 5th or 6th in the West and that is not a path to a championship even if Paul George and others play great before Leonard’s return.
The sense of the Phoenix Suns is they maxed out, coming out of nowhere to win the Western Conference. Similar to Milwaukee, everything fell into place. Chances are Chris Paul will have some regression at 36 and he’s coming off a short off-season. Possibly DeAndre Ayton and Mikal Bridges and others can offset this if their games continue to expand. A tough assignment to repeat out West.
Denver seems grossly over-valued since Jamal Murray won’t play most likely until the last quarter of the season. This is still a good squad with Nikola Jokic, but Murray adds something special to the mix.
It is looking like Philadelphia and Ben Simmons will kiss and make up. The 76ers were the best team in the East last season, and could be at least that good again. But does anyone see them winning even three rounds of postseason basketball just to reach The Finals?
The Final Word
When making your picks for this year, of the teams listed above, if you can determine who the Top 3 finishers will be in each conference, that is very important. Because, in the history of the NBA, which began modestly in 1946, only twice has a team outside the Top 3 in each conference won the championship.
DougUpstone of Doc’s Sports has - 21 Documented No. 1 Titles - 94 Documented Top 10 Finishes - 25 Handicapper of the Month Awards. Doug as a professional handicapper/writer has written for various well-known sports betting websites and several football newsletters.