The 2020-21 NBA season is well underway after tipping off the campaign on Dec. 22. There are three months left in the regular season, with the playoffs starting in May and the Finals wrapping up in July. Here we look at live NBA Finals odds with the Lakers the favorites to win it all again.
The Brooklyn Nets were neck-and-neck with the Milwaukee Bucks to win the East at most books early in the season and were around +600 to win the title. Immediately following the trade for James Harden, however, the Nets championship odds improved to +270 at FanDuel Sportsbook. Brooklyn is now +440 to win it all, with the second lowest odds – behind the favorite LA Lakers at +250.
2021 NBA title odds
2021 NBA Futures Report (Feb. 10)
NBA 2021 Championship Favorites
Los Angeles Lakers: The defending champs have been toying with teams before putting them away behind a stout defense. Anthony Davis isn’t fully healthy and LeBron James is leading the MVP race while shooting a career-high 39.8% from 3-point range.
Brooklyn Nets: After acquiring James Harden, the Nets odds jumped from around +600 to +270 at FanDuel Sportsbook and they’ve stabilized around +440. Brooklyn’s been horrible defensively, but they’re 7-1 against teams with winning records and can outscore anyone when their Big Three are active.
Los Angeles Clippers: While they continue to blow the doors off of bad teams, the Clippers have struggled to close against elite competition. They’re now 5-7 with a league-worst -28.3 net rating in the final five minutes of games within five points.
Milwaukee Bucks: The Bucks have caught fire with the league’s best offensive rating over the past two weeks and they’re starting to integrate Bobby Portis as a more versatile center than Brook Lopez. With Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton handling increased responsibilities, Milwaukee is better prepared to compete in the playoffs.
Philadelphia 76ers: Joel Embiid continues his MVP campaign with the top PER in the league and the Sixers are rallying around him with the third-best defensive rating and the best record in the East.
Utah Jazz: The Jazz continue to light the league on fire, with the sole blip in their recent hot stretch coming in a blowout loss to rival Denver. They’re 16-1 since beating the Bucks on Jan. 8.
Boston Celtics: The Celtics have been understandably inconsistent with Kemba Walker (knee), Jaylen Brown (knee), Marcus Smart (calf), and Jayson Tatum (COVID) in and out of the lineup all season. They could be a dangerous team if everyone is healthy.
Denver Nuggets: Nikola Jokic is a marvel and is neck-and-neck with Embiid in every category as they jockey in the MVP race. Yet the rest of the Nuggets are underperforming and Denver is just 5-10 against teams with winning records.
Miami Heat: It’s taking some time and the results are still far from impressive, but Jimmy Butler is starting to re-establish Miami’s gritty culture with a few close wins in early February. Miami is back in position to at least earn a play-in game.
Phoenix Suns: An injury to Devin Booker (hamstring) seemed to jolt the Suns to life by giving Chris Paul full control of the offense. They’re now sixth in net rating and fifth in defensive rating while playing at the second-slowest pace in the league.
Dallas Mavericks: The Mavericks defense continues to be a sieve, but they’ve resurrected their dormant offense with Josh Richardson finally contributing after his bout with COVID. Kristaps Porzingis is starting to show some necessary toughness on both ends, as well.
Indiana Pacers: Malcolm Brogdon and Domantas Sabonis are all-league caliber players and the Pacers could become a true contender if Caris LeVert joins the team with enough time to establish chemistry alongside those top options.
Portland Trail Blazers: With C.J. McCollum (foot) and Jusuf Nurkic (wrist) out, Portland’s role players are finding their confidence and that will help guys like Gary Trent Jr. and Derrick Jones Jr. perform when they chips are down later this season.
Toronto Raptors: The Raptors are embracing their new identity as a fast-paced, high-scoring squad that leans on their fabulous playmakers. And Fred VanVleet is becoming a star in this system.
San Antonio Spurs: The Spurs don’t have any glaring weaknesses and are extremely talented on the perimeter, but probably lack the toughness necessary to win multiple playoff series.
Golden State Warriors: Steve Kerr commented the other night that he’s not going to “chase wins” by playing Steph Curry more than 35 minutes in tight contests. Apparently the Warriors are aspiring for a championship next year, once Klay Thompson (Achilles) is back.
How the 2021 NBA Playoffs will work
The 2020-21 NBA regular season will last 72 games with the top six teams in each conference earning an automatic playoff berth. Teams that finish in the 7-10 spots in each conference will be eligible for a play-in tournament (May 18-21) as long as they’re within four games in the final standings.
The 9th seed in each conference will have a chance to play their way into the playoffs by beating the 8th seed twice in a row. The 8th seed would have to win one of those games to advance. The scenario is the same for the 10th seed and 7th seed in each conference if the 10th seed qualifies.
The NBA still plans to run best-of-seven series formats for the quarterfinal, semifinal and finals in both the Eastern and Western Conference. Those rounds will take place from May 22 to July 6, with the NBA Finals scheduled from July 8 to 22, just one day before the 2021 Summer Olympics are scheduled to open in Japan.
NBA Finals odds: Futures betting 101
NBA futures bets function like futures bets in other sports. They’re typically based on an end-of-season outcome. Futures bets are usually made available on both the team and player level.
Prior to the start of a season, team-level futures could include a wager on the minimum number of wins a team will capture in that season or whether a team will win its division or conference.
Player-level futures include whether a player will win the MVP, Rookie of the Year or Sixth Man of the Year awards, for example. Other player-level futures are based on whether a player will reach certain benchmarks in common statistical categories such as points, 3-point shots, rebounds or assists for the season.
Where do I find futures bets in an online sportsbook?
In an online sportsbook, available futures wagers are typically found under their own tab as a subcategory of wagers available for a particular sport. Like the odds for other bet types, futures bets are typically labeled with a number that has a “plus” or “minus” sign next to it.
In the case of futures bets, a “minus” sign would be placed next to a team or player that has a higher probability of reaching the statistical goal. Teams or players with a “plus” sign are considered by oddsmakers to have a lesser chance of reaching that goal. The higher the number next to the plus sign signifies the lower the probability the team or player achieves it.
For example, the LA Lakers enter the 2020-21 season as the favorites to win it all as they have +270 odds. That signifies that a bettor would have to wager $100 to win $270 if the Lakers do indeed take it again.
It’s also important to note that futures odds for both players and teams can certainly fluctuate throughout the course of a season.
Best NBA betting sites
Common questions regarding wagering on the NBA Finals
Where can I bet on the NBA Finals in the US?
Bettors can currently bet on the NBA Finals in the US at a regulated sportsbook in one of the following states:
- New Jersey
- New Mexico
- New York
- Rhode Island
- West Virginia
Who is the favorite to win the NBA Championship in 2021?
The Lakers were initially installed as favorites to repeat, with odds of +360 at FanDuel Sportsbook. Those odds lowered to +270 just prior to the start of the season due to LA’s strong off-season. LA is now +250 to win it all at FD.
When does the 2021 NBA season start?
The 2020-21 NBA season started on Dec. 22, 2020.
When do the NBA Finals start?
The 2021 NBA playoffs will start on May 22, 2021 and the NBA Finals are expected to begin in mid-July. Prior to the pandemic, the NBA had traditionally held its championship round in early June.
Where can I get NBA betting tips?
Start with our own 6-part NBA betting series right here:
PlayPicks.com is also a valuable resource for bettors of all levels. Throughout the NBA season, PlayPicks.com will feature articles with a sports betting breakdown of select games, including a suggested lean or pick on the game’s point spread, moneyline and/or the projected total. Additionally, new bettors can find rewarding offers and bonuses exclusive to PlayPicks.com readers that are also first-time depositors.