The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers lead the NBA with a 10-3 record, and LeBron James and company are consensus favorites to win the 2021 NBA championship. After the Brooklyn Nets (7-6) acquired James Harden in a blockbuster four-team trade, the Nets saw their championship odds jump to +350. The LA Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks round out the top four teams on the NBA futures board at the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.

LeBron James LA Lakers NBA Championship Odds Brooklyn Nets Clippers Milwaukee Bucks
Dennis Schroder and LeBron James lead the LA Lakers to an NBA-best 10-3 record. The Lakers are the heavy favorites to win back-to-back NBA titles. (Image: Porter Lambert/Getty)

Three weeks into the NBA season and the James Harden trade finally came to fruition. The Brooklyn Nets were one of the top-5 favorites to win the title before the trade, and moved into the second spot on the futures board when the news broke.

The LA Clippers (8-4), under new head coach Ty Lue, are the second-best team in the Western Conference behind the Lakers.

  • LA Lakers +200
  • Brooklyn Nets +350
  • LA Clippers +800
  • Milwaukee Bucks +800
  • Boston Celtics +2000
  • Miami Heat +2000
  • Philadelphia 76ers +2000
  • Denver Nuggets +3000
  • Dallas Mavericks +3000
  • Portland Trail Blazers +3000
  • Utah Jazz +3000
  • Phoenix Suns +3000
  • Golden State Warriors +6000
  • Toronto Raptors +6000
  • New Orleans Pelicans +8000
  • Orlando Magic +15000

Odds via Westgate SuperBook (as of 1/14/21)

Greek Freak and the Milwaukee Bucks (8-4) had their hands full trying to fend off the new-look Brooklyn Nets with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving before the addition of Harden. Can they win a title this season before the Nets’ big three gel as a squad?

The Golden State Warriors (6-5) are +6000 long shots right now. Without Klay Thompson, the Warriors will be hard-pressed to advance to the NBA Finals with only half of the Splash Brothers intact.

Don’t Forget About the Freak and the Bucks

The Bucks led the NBA in wins over the past two seasons. They lead the NBA in scoring once again this season, averaging 120.9 ppg. They’re tied for first with the Nuggets and Lakers as the top shooting team in the league with a 49.4% clip.

The Greek Freak leads the Bucks with 26.2 ppg, 10.1 rebounds, and 5.5 assists. He doesn’t have to carry the Bucks every night because has more consistent help on offense this season. Khris Middleton (21.6 ppg), Jrue Holiday (15.2 ppg), and Donte DiVincenzo (10.7 ppg) round out a well-balanced scoring attack from the starting five.

Big man Bobby Portis, an underrated free-agent signing, is crushing it off the bench, averaging 11.8 points and 7.8 rebounds per game.

While everyone is jumping on the Nets bandwagon, the Bucks offer up great value at +800.

Second-Tier Title Chasers: Boston, Miami, Philly

The Boston Celtics (7-3), Miami Heat (4-5), and Philadelphia 76ers (8-4) are clustered together at +2000 odds to win the title.

The Heat lost to the Lakers in the NBA Finals, but they had a short turnaround before the season began. Last year’s success is one of the reasons they began this season with a slow start.

Doc Rivers and the Philadelphia 76ers began the season with a hot 6-1 start, which is one of the reasons they decided to pass on Harden. Last season, the Sixers boasted the best home record in the NBA at 31-4. This season, Joel Embiid and the Sixers are again tough to beat in Philly, with a 6-1 clip on their own hardwood.

The Celtics ran into some COVID-19 infections and only played 10 games, but they’ve got the second-best record in the NBA percentage-wise at .700. Just wait until the Celtics get Kemba Walker back in the lineup.

Western Conference Value: Denver, Dallas, Portland

Five teams out west are clustered together at +3000 odds, with the Denver Nuggets leading the way as the team most likely to pick off one of the LA teams.

Sometimes it takes a team a couple of years to progress to an NBA Finals berth. In 2019, the Nuggets lost to the Portland Trail Blazers in the thrilling, seven-game Western Conference Semifinals. In 2020, the Nuggets rallied back to win two-straight seven-game series before they were knocked out of the Western Finals by the Lakers. Could this be the season they finally advance to the NBA Finals? If the Lakers run out of gas, the Nuggets will have the most-experienced postseason squad in the west (aside from the Warriors). The Nuggets offer tremendous value at +3000 odds to win the NBA championship.

Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks (6-4) are also +3000 odds to win the title. The Unicorn returned to action for the Mavs, who are also looking to build upon their initial foray into the postseason in 2020. They have the second-best defensive team in the league, allowing only 104.4 ppg.

Never sleep on Rip City and the top backcourt in the league. Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers (7-4) are +3000 odds to win their first title since the 1970s. CJ McCollum, with a career-high 28.1 ppg, is ranked #2 overall in NBA scoring this season.

West Long Shots: Utah and Phoenix

The Utah Jazz (7-4) have one of the best guard trios in the NBA with Donovan Mitchell (23.4 ppg), Mike Conley (17.3 ppg), and Jordan Clarkson (17.2 ppg). Rudy Gobert is a double-double machine, averaging 11.6 points and 13.4 rebounds per game.

The Phoenix Suns (7-4) were one of those fetish picks that a few bettors made when they acquired Chris Paul in a trade with the OKC Thunder. Devin Booker (23 ppg) leads a well-balanced attack that also includes Mikal Bridges (15.1 ppg), Deandre Ayton (12.5 ppg), and Cameron Johnson (12.4 ppg).

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