The Philadelphia 76ers saw their 2022 NBA championship odds increase to +700 after they acquired James Harden for Ben Simmons in a swap with the Brooklyn Nets prior to the trade deadline. The Nets are still the betting favorite on the NBA futures board, but it’s been reduced to a small margin at +400 odds, with Phoenix Suns (+425) and Golden State Warriors (+450) are right behind them.
The 76ers were finally able to unload disgruntled Simmons, but will Harden be able to finally make them into a legit contender?
|2022 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS|
|Golden State Warriors||+450||+450||+550|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+50000||+100000||+60000|
The Nets are seven games out of first place, but currently occupy the #7 seed in a congested hunt for the top seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs.
East: Seven-Horse Sprint
With approximately 25 games remaining in the regular season, the two conferences have different scenarios. In the Eastern Conference, only seven games separate the top seven teams and no one has reached 40 wins yet. Five teams are within 2.5 games of the #1 seed, which is currently held by the Miami Heat (37-20). Heck, even the teams on the playoff bubble and fighting for the play-in tournament trail the Heat by 10.5 games. In short, the Eastern Conference is wide open and the #1 seed might not get decided until the final weekend of the season.
The Nets were +300 odds last week, but slipped to +400 odds after the Harden/Simmons trade. Their so-called Big 3 of Kevin Durant Kyrie Irving, and James Harden played only 16 games together before the Harden convinced the front office to trade him to the 76ers. It’s rare to see a major trade within a conference, let alone a division, but that just adds another level of craziness to the Harden/Simmons trade.
The public perception of the trade is that Simmons makes the Nets less favorable to win the title. On the flip side, the 76ers adding Harden drastically improved their championship odds from +1400 last week to +700 after the news broke. Perhaps Harden is the key piece that can help Joel Embiid and the 76ers finally win a championship.
Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks maintained their same numbers on the futures board. The Bucks were +700 odds to win back-to-back championships before the trade deadline, and they’re still +700 odds after the deadline.
West: Public Backing Suns or Warriors
In the Western Conference, the top three teams reached the 40-win mark, but seven games separate the #1 seed (Phoenix Suns) and the #3 seed (Memphis Grizzlies). The Utah Jazz are 10.5 games out of first place, and they’re the #4 seed. The Suns are running away with the #1 seed, and it’s currently a battle for the #2 seed between the Golden State Warriors and Memphis Grizzlies.
The Suns (46-10) lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the 2021 NBA Finals, but they’re +425 odds to win the championship this year. The Warriors (42-16) are a popular pick at +450 odds after Klay Thompson returned to the lineup after missing 2.5 seasons with two major injuries. Even the back injury to Draymond Green did not deter bettors from firing away on the Warriors, because after all, the Splash Brothers are reunited.
Most of the drama in the Western Conference concerns the Los Angeles Lakers. They stood pat at the trade deadline mainly because they did not have any tradable assets and no one wanted to do the Lakers any favors by taking Russell Westbrook and his ridiculous contract off their hands. The Lakers (26-31) are five games under .500 and 20.5 games behind the Suns. Yet, the Lakers are still in the #9 seed and two games behind the LA Clippers in the #8 seed.
Despite how bad the Lakers are this season, bookies took in a lot of public money on LeBron to win the title. The Lakers saw their title odds drop from +1900 last week to +3000 this week after they did not make any significant moves at the trade deadline.