The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers started the season as the consensus favorite to win the 2021 NBA championship. At the All-Star Break, the Lakers are still the favorite to win the championship at +250 odds on the NBA futures board at DraftKings. The Brooklyn Nets are the second favorite on the board at +300 odds to win the NBA championship.
The Utah Jazz (27-9) is the best team in the NBA and the top team in the Western Conference, yet offer up tremendous value at +900 odds to win the championship. The Jazz were +4000 odds in the preseason (or 40/1 shots) and oddsmakers slowly adjusted their odds during the first half of the season.
|2021 NBA Championship Odds|
The Philadelphia 76ers (24-12) are the top team in the Eastern Conference, but they’re only +1200 odds to win the title.
Lakers and Clippers Love the Spotlight
The LA Clippers (24-14) were the second-highest team on the futures board at +500 odds before the season began. Heading into the All-Star break, Kawhi Leonard and the Clippers were still near the top of the NBA futures board at +500 odds, even though they’re sitting in the #4 playoff seed out West. Ty Lue has done a stellar job taking over for Doc Rivers. For one, he got the team to focus on being a cohesive unit instead of worrying about Kawhi’s perks and peccadillos.
The health of Anthony Davis is the big question mark in the City of Angels. Between last season’s championship run and a tough first half, LeBron James logged a lot of miles for a 36-year old. Frank Vogel would love for Davis to return sooner than later so he can start resting LeBron before the Lakers make another deep run in the postseason.
Nets, Bucks, Sixers
The battle for the Eastern Conference #1 seed will be fun to monitor in the second half of the season. Only two games separate the top three teams. If you follow the money, the Brooklyn Nets (24-13) are the team that’s been bet heavily since preseason. The Nets signed Blake Griffin to shore up their bench and give them a hedge just in case Kevin Durant’s health becomes an issue. The Nets are +300 odds to win the championship after signing Griffin, but they’re still trailing the Lakers for the top spot on the NBA futures board.
Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo won the MVP of the 2021 All-Star Game, so he heads into the second half of the season on a positive note. The Milwaukee Bucks (22-14) made the mistake of peaking too early over the past two seasons. Now that they’ve added Jrue Holiday, one of the top two-way players in the league, the Bucks will be a difficult matchup in the postseason.
The Philadelphia 76ers avoided a potential disaster when Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid had to sit out the All-Star Game after the team barber contracted COVID-19. After a sensational first half, Embiid is the new favorite to win the MVP and sits slightly ahead of LeBron.
Celtics, Heat, Nuggets, and Suns
The Boston Celtics (19-17) have been streaky all season. They recently ended their worst stretch of the season with a four-game winning streak. They hope Marcus Smart will return to the lineup sooner than later. In the meantime, New England sports talk radio has nonstop chatter about multiple trade rumors (e.g., Nikola Vucevic).
The Miami Heat (18-18) started out slow and were 6-12 at one point, but finished the first half on a much stronger note with a 12-6 clip. The Heat are also interested in a big-time player like Bradley Beal or Zach LaVine to help out Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo.
The Denver Nuggets (21-5) struggled to adjust to a quick turnaround after a deep run in the 2020 NBA playoffs. The Nugs are only 9-7 at home in Denver this season, and haven’t taken advantage of the thin air in the Rocky Mountains to punish opponents. Despite the sluggish start, no one wants to play Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray in the postseason. The Nugs offer up tremendous value at +2500 odds to win the NBA championship.
The Phoenix Suns (24-11) ended the first half of the season on a four-game winning streak. The Suns are currently the second-best team in the NBA and sitting in the #2 seed in the Western Conference playoff standings. Kendall Jenner, who is dating Devin Booker, has become the Suns’ good luck charm this season. The Suns are only +3300 odds to win the NBA title, but they’re long shots because they lack postseason experience.
Just in case one of the teams outside of the top 10 makes a remarkable run in the second half and runs the table in the postseason to win the championship, here are the odds for playoff-bound teams that need a boost if they expect to compete with the alphas.
The Toronto Raptors (17-19) are only two years removed from winning a championship. The franchise has to make a decision sooner than later about Kyle Lowry. He’s been mentioned in numerous trade rumors, including in a potential deal with the Miami Heat.
|2021 NBA Championship Odds|
- Dallas Mavericks +5000
- Toronto Raptors +5000
- Indiana Pacers +6000
- Portland Trail Blazers +6000
- Golden State Warriors +8000
- San Antonio Spurs +15000
- New Orleans Pelicans +20000
The Golden State Warriors (19-18) could pull off a trade or stand pat and wait until next season when Klay Thompson returns. For now, the Warriors are a long shot at +8000 odds.
Damian Lillard gets my vote for MVP this season. Dame carried the Portland Trail Blazers (21-14) after CJ McCollum went down with a fractured foot, but the Blazers are still outsiders at +6000 odds on the NBA futures board.
The Dallas Mavericks (18-16) are on the bubble. Mark Cuban insists he doesn’t want to trade the Unicorn, but the team is still open to hearing offers for Kristaps Porzingis.
Here are the updated odds for the remainder of the NBA. The New York Knicks (19-18) ended the first half of the season on a positive note and currently sit in the #5 spot in the Eastern Conference. But don’t be a fool and fire away on the Knicks at +25000 odds to win a championship, even if they make a move to acquire Zach LaVine in a trade.
|2021 NBA Championship Odds|
- Atlanta Hawks +15000
- Charlotte Hornets +25000
- Chicago Bulls +25000
- New York Knicks +25000
- Washington Wizards +25000
- Houston Rockets +50000
- Memphis Grizzlies +50000
- Sacramento Kings +50000
- Orlando Magic +750000
- Cleveland Cavs +90000
- Detroit Pistons +90000
- Oklahoma City Thunder +90000
- Minnesota Timberwolves +90000
The Washington Wizards (14-20) also ended the first half of the season on an uptick. The Wiz climbed out of the Eastern Conference basement and find themselves only two games out of the playoff hunt. That’s great news for the person holding a futures ticket worth $5 million if the Wizards win the championship. Right now, you can back the Wizards at +25000 odds on the NBA futures board.
Meanwhile, the two worst teams in the Western Conference headed into the All-Star break with ugly losing streaks. The Houston Rockets (11-23) lost 13 games in a row, while the Minnesota Timberwolves are in the middle of a nine-game skid.