Three series have yet to finish in the second round of the 2021 NBA Playoffs, and all three are tied at 2-2 while teams are struggling to adapt to injuries to star players. The Philadelphia 76ers (-315 odds), Milwaukee Bucks (-186 odds), and Utah Jazz (-125 odds) are the favorites to win their series even things are all tied up at the moment.
The Phoenix Suns became the first team to lock up a spot in the Western Conference finals after sweeping the Denver Nuggets over the weekend. The Suns await the winner of the #1 Utah Jazz and #4 LA Clippers series.
|2021 NBA Playoffs – Series Lines
|#5 Atlanta Hawks +240||#1 Philadelphia 76ers -315|
|#3 Milwaukee Bucks -186||#2 Brooklyn Nets +150|
|#4 LA Clippers +103||#1 Utah Jazz -125|
The banged-up Nets won’t have Kyrie Irving for Game 5 and James Harden is also listed as doubtful. With injuries to two of the Nets’ Big 3, Brooklyn is no longer the betting favorite to win the 2021 NBA championship. The Bucks are the new favorite at +325 odds, according to an update from the Circa Sportsbook in downtown Las Vegas.
Mighty Trae Young evens the Sixers series
The Philadelphia 76ers were also hit with the injury bug. Danny Green went down in Game 4 with a calf injury. Joel Embiid tore his meniscus in the opening round, but he’s a trooper who decided to play through the pain and swelling. Embiid looked like a superstar in the first three games of the Atlanta Hawks series. However, he struggled in the second half of Game 4 with a cringe-worthy 0-for-12 clip. The 76ers blew a late lead and the Hawks stole a win to even the series at 2-2.
Trae Young leads the Hawks, averaging 27.3 points and 11.8 assists per game. He scored only 25 points in Game 4, but he dished 18 assists in the comeback win. The Hawks are still underdogs at +240 odds to win this series and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals. Even with the injury to Green, the 76ers are -315 odds to knock out the Hawks.
At the start of the East semifinals, the 76ers were -200 odds favorites to defeat the Hawks, who were +160 underdogs.
Durant vs Greek Freak
With two of Brooklyn’s big guns down with injuries, the Nets are in hot water. No one knows the severity of Harden’s injury, but hamstrings are troublesome injuries that slow down playmakers like Harden. Even if he returns at some point this series, how effective will he be? Sprained ankle injuries are painful, and also limit mobility. Irving will sit out Game 5 in hope that the extra days of rest will allow him to return for Game 6.
“We’ve been playing short-handed all season,” said head coach Steve Nash. “It’s no different now. Business as usual. We always find a way.”
While the Nets are trying to mitigate their rash of injuries this series, the Bucks made a 180-degree turnaround. The Bucks fell into an 0-2 hole against a Nets team that was already missing Harden. They struggled to score and played terrible defense, especially on the perimeter. Once the series went to Milwaukee for Games 3 and 4, the Bucks looked like a different team. They were energized and played with more swag. They also banged and bullied Durant in Game 4 en route to a much-needed victory to even the series at 2-2.
The Nets were the favorites coming into this series at -200 odds versus the Bucks at +160. Even after Harden went down in Game 1 with a hamstring injury, the news of the injury didn’t impact the series line. Once Irving went down, however, the markets went ballistic. The Nets went from a series favorite to an underdog at +150 odds. The dinged-up Nets also watched their NBA futures odds drop as the Bucks took over the top spot on the board and the Nets slipped to second overall.
Sore Spida, where’s Conley?
The top-ranked Utah Jazz started the Western Conference semifinals without starting point guard Mike Conley, who nursed a minor hamstring injury. Conley has yet to play this series, but he’s listed as questionable for Game 5.
Donovan “Spida” Mitchell sprained his ankle in the second half of Game 3. He didn’t return and the Jazz were blown out as the Clippers won their first game of the series in a 26-point blowout. Mitchell played in Game 4, but he was obviously in pain despite a 37-point effort in a losing cause.
The Jazz fell behind early due to a high volume of turnovers and never recovered.
“We were playing hard and competing,” said Utah Jazz head coach Quin Snyder. “We weren’t playing smart in that we weren’t connected and putting ourselves in situations where we could have success.”
The Clippers coasted to a clutch win to even the series at 2-2 after back-to-back wins in Los Angeles. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George both scored 31 points apiece in the Game 4 victory.
At the onset of this West semifinals series, the Clippers were +112 odds underdogs and the Jazz were -139 favorites. Heading into Game 5, the Clippers are a slight underdog at +103 odds, but the Jazz are still favorites to win the series at -125 odds.
With the Clippers Curse looming, the Jazz hope that the so-called hex can propel them to a series victory. Meanwhile, the Clippers are seeking to finally get over the hump and earn their first-ever appearance in the Western Conference finals.
Check out more coverage of the 2021 NBA Playoffs.