Seconds into Game 1 of their Eastern Conference semifinal against the Bucks, the Nets lost James Harden to another hamstring injury. For how long is still unknown. After the final buzzer sounded in a 115-107 Brooklyn win, NBA championship odds shifted. However, it was the impressive victory over Milwaukee, not the Harden injury, that moved the odds.
Brooklyn had been the favorite in futures markets and the only team shorter than +200 entering the second round of the NBA playoffs, led by the 2018 league MVP Harden, 2014 MVP and two-time NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant and seven-time All-Star Kyrie Irving.
Potentially without one of their ‘Big Three’ due to injury, the operators did not downgrade the Nets.
NBA Futures Before And After James Harden Injury
This is the second significant injury in the past week in the Eastern Conference. Philadelphia 76ers All-NBA star Joel Embiid injured his meniscus in his knee. The extent of his availability for the rest of the postseason is unknown, as the 76ers adjust and bettors try to decode how good Philadelphia is now ahead of Game 1 against the Atlanta Hawks.
For Brooklyn, still having the best player on the planet apparently weighs heavily for oddsmakers, even with a Harden injury and his availability in question.
Heading into Game 1, the Nets +170 odds to hoist the Larry O’Brien trophy meant an implied probability of 37% to win the NBA championship. Despite the Harden injury, BetMGM moved Nets futures postgame slightly shorter to +160. Dominating the Bucks in the second half of Game 1 combined with Embiid’s injury in a potential Eastern Conference Finals has only led to more respect for Brooklyn. As of Sunday night, the Harden injury has had no negative affect on the Nets’ implied chances.
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