There are just a few days remaining in the 2020-21 NBA regular season, with the play-in tournament starting on May 18 and the playoffs starting in full on May 22. Here we look at live NBA Finals odds with the Nets the favorites to win it all.
Brooklyn had the lowest odds to win the East, along with the Milwaukee Bucks, early in the season and were around +600 to win the title at the time. Immediately following the trade for James Harden, however, the Nets championship odds improved to +270 at FanDuel Sportsbook. The Nets are now not only favored to win the East but are also the favorites to win it all. Brooklyn had odds of +210 at FD to raise the Larry O’Brien Trophy as of May 10.
2021 NBA title odds
2021 NBA Futures Report (May 10)
Brooklyn Nets (): While their Big Three has only played in 7 games together, the Nets are 27-10 when James Harden (hamstring) is active and the prolific lefty said he expects to return shortly before the playoffs. The Nets have made reclamation projects out of Blake Griffin and Jeff Green, but will their defense be good enough to navigate the physical Eastern Conference?
Los Angeles Lakers (): LeBron James (ankle) only lasted a few quarters before aggravating his injury and the Lakers lost Dennis Schroder (COVID protocols) in the same week to send their offense back to the league’s basement. They’ve fallen into the play-in bracket and are unlikely to pass Portland since the Blazers own the tiebreaker. Yet the defending champs are still getting respect with +425 odds (DK), only a marginal increase from their odds most of the season.
Los Angeles Clippers (): The Clippers are just 21-16 against winning teams, whereas the Suns are 26-9 in those matchups. But oddsmakers expect Kawhi Leonard and company to hit another gear in the playoffs and don’t expect Chris Paul to lead a young Suns (+1400) team to another level. Tyronn Lue has done an excellent job managing his team and the Clips are on pace to start the postseason healthy.
Milwaukee Bucks (): The Bucks have made a late charge to secure the No. 2 seed in the East and they gained the tiebreaker over the Nets with consecutive head-to-head wins to start May. They’re 38-17 with a 7.2 net rating and average 120.8 PPG when new addition Jrue Holiday is active, so it’s fair to say Milwaukee also has a Big Three.
Utah Jazz (): While they’ve been a truly elite regular season team with 37 double-digit victories, the Jazz would likely be listed as underdogs if they wound up facing the Lakers in the first round. They should be able to avoid that situation by securing the No. 1 seed and they’re getting value considering their overall depth and prospective health with Donovan Mitchell (ankle) and Mike Conley (hamstring) resting down the stretch.
Philadelphia 76ers (): With a 55-9 record at home since the start of last season, the Sixers are going to be tough to take down as the top seed in the East. Joel Embiid is averaging 11.1 FTA per game, which is unprecedented in the modern era, and the Sixers have the best net rating in basketball when Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris are active along with the big man.
Phoenix Suns: (): The Suns have had tremendous regular season success, but the inexperience of Chris Paul’s supporting cast could surface as an issue in the playoffs, especially if Phoenix winds up facing the Lakers in the second round.
Denver Nuggets (): After winning 9 of 10 games following a season-ending injury to Jamal Murray (ACL), the Nuggets have dropped a couple games to key contenders in the Lakers and Jazz. Will Barton, Monte Morris, and P.J. Dozier are also banged up, so there’s only so much MVP frontrunner Nikola Jokic can do to keep Denver afloat.
Miami Heat (): The Heat have turned up their offense in recent weeks at the expense of their defense. Postseason hero Tyler Herro (foot) returned with an impressive performance over the weekend and Victor Oladipo (knee) could be ready for the playoffs, but chemistry could be an issue since he hasn’t played with his new squad.
Dallas Mavericks (): Instead of continuing to complain like the Lakers, the Mavs have played their way out of the play-in bracket despite dealing with their own injuries to Kristaps Porzingis (knee) and others. Luka Doncic is one year wiser and better after nearly leading his team past the Clippers last postseason.
Portland Trail Blazers (): The Blazers snapped their strange home losing streak and won their 6th game in 7 tries while winning the season series against the Lakers. Their 29th-rated defense is significantly better when Jusuf Nurkic is healthy and their offense is catching fire now that Norman Powell is finding a rhythm.
Atlanta Hawks: (): A 32-point win over the Suns showed that the Hawks can compete against the league’s elites despite their overall 15-21 record against winning teams. Then they turned around and lost to a desperate Pacers team to indicate their lack of maturity and consistency on the road.
New York Knicks: (): Tom Thibodeau (+350) is finally getting respect as the deserved Coach of the Year and Julius Randle (+10000) is on the MVP ballot in addition to being a lock for Most Improved Player. The Knicks are 21-9 when Derrick Rose is active, but they’re only 13-20 against winning teams and 2-8 in one-possession games over the course of the season.
Boston Celtics (): The Celtics saw their title odds take a huge hit this week as it was learned that swingman Jaylen Brown will miss the remainder of the season with a wrist injury. Brown had been having the most productive season of his career, averaging 24.7 points and 6.0 rebounds per game.
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 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 entered the 2020-21 season as the favorites to win it all at +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:
- Colorado Sportsbooks
- Indiana Sportsbooks
- Iowa Sportsbooks
- Michigan Sportsbooks
- New Jersey Sportsbooks
- New Mexico
- New York Sportsbooks
- Pennsylvania Sportsbooks
- Rhode Island
- Tennessee Sportsbooks
- West Virginia Sportsbooks
- Virginia Sportsbooks
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. But injuries to star LA players LeBron James and Anthony Davis has allowed the Brooklyn Nets to creep up to the top of odds boards. Brooklyn was +210 to win it all at FanDuel Sportsbook as of May 10. The Lakers were +550.
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.