And then there were four. The Milwaukee Bucks and Atlanta Hawks pulled off major upsets in the Eastern Conference semifinals and now meet in the conference finals. Out West, the Western Conference finals are already underway with the Phoenix Suns holding a 1-0 lead over the LA Clippers. The Bucks are the new betting favorite to win the 2021 NBA championship at +110 odds, followed by the Suns at +150 odds.
The LA Clippers and Atlanta Hawks are the long shots among the NBA’s final four at +1000 odds to win the title, according to an update by the Westgate SuperBook in Las Vegas.
For only the second time in NBA history, there are no #1 seeds in either conference finals, which happened only once before in 1994.
|2021 NBA Championship Odds
|NBA Conference Series Odds
|Atlanta Hawks +375||Milwaukee Bucks -450|
|LA Clippers +425||Phoenix Suns -550|
Without Kawhi Leonard, the Clippers picked off the top-ranked Utah Jazz in the West semifinals to finally end the Clippers Curse. They squared off in the first game of the Western Conference Finals, but couldn’t replicate their same magic against the Phoenix Suns. Devin Booker and the Suns jumped out to a 1-0 series lead thanks to a 40-point triple-double from Booker.
Trae Young and the Cinderella Hawks
Trae Young and the Atlanta Hawks are the Cinderella team in the NBA Playoffs this year. The Hawks keep winning as an underdog, securing themselves only their second trip to the Eastern Conference finals in the last half-century. The Hawks last won an NBA title when the franchise was in St. Louis. Now, the city of Atlanta has a shot at winning its very-own pro hoops crown.
Look let’s be honest here, the Philadelphia 76ers were plagued with injury woes and shot themselves in the foot by blowing fourth-quarter leads in multiple games. As a result, the City of Brotherly Love isn’t feeling so warm and fuzzy toward Ben Simmons this morning after a pitiful postseason performance. Sure, it was a perfect storm of misery for the 76ers, but the Hawks took full advantage of the opportunity and now find themselves just four wins away from securing a berth in the NBA Finals.
Bettors and bookies think the Hawks’ magical run ends in the East finals and their +1000 long-shot odds reflect the public’s sentiment about their chances of winnings a championship.
New Favorite: Greek Freak and Bucks
Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks also took advantage of a short-handed team. They leveraged a spot in the Eastern Conference finals thanks to a crazy overtime victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Game 7.
The Bucks went on the road and won a tough series finale in Brooklyn in front of a hostile crowd. The Nets didn’t have Kyrie Irving for the last few games because of a sprained ankle, and James Harden copped to playing on a grade-two hamstring. The Bucks outlasted another stellar performance from Kevin Durant, who scored 48 points in 48 minutes of regulation before running out of gas in overtime.
The Bucks defeated Nets, who were consensus favorites to win the championship since midseason. Now, it’s the Bucks at the top of the NBA futures board at near even money odds to win their first title since the early 1970s.
Suns look strong, Clips dunzo without Kawhi
The opening game of the Western Conference finals featured two teams without their stars and alpha dogs. The Phoenix Suns lost Chris Paul to COVID-19, but hope he can return for Game 2. Meanwhile, the LA Clippers have no timetable for Kawhi Leonard, who strained his ACL in the semifinals against the Utah Jazz. There’s a chance he’s dunzo for the postseason, but if that’s the case, the Clippers are tightlipped about the prognosis.
Paul George and Terance Mann lifted the Clippers to a huge series win against the Jazz. In the West finals, however, they were unable to strike first blood in Phoenix. The Suns won Game 1 thanks to baller performance from Booker, who notched 40 points, 13 rebounds, and 11 assists.
The outlook looks bright and sunny for the Suns with Chris Paul expected back eventually versus a murky future for Kawhi and the Clippers. The series odds reflected this before Game 1. After the Suns posted a 1-0 lead, their series odds improved from -200 to -550, whereas the Clippers sunk from +155 to +425.
The Suns are the second-highest favorite on the NBA futures board at +150 odds to win the championship. Chris Paul has never won a title, but he’s getting closer every day. At the end of the regular season, the Suns were +1800 odds to win the championship. At the start of the second round, the Suns jumped to +900 odds and now they’re +150.
The LA Clippers are a long shot at +1000 to win the title if “Playoff P” can rally the troops and pull off an upset over the Suns.
Check out more coverage of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.