The 2021 NBA Playoffs are well underway with just four teams remaining. Game 1 of the Eastern Conference Finals will take place Wednesday, June 23 with the Hawks facing the Bucks in Milwaukee. The Suns lead the Clippers 2-0 in the Western Conference Finals and they will play Game 3 of that series Thursday at Staples Center.
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NBA playoffs odds
The latest NBA playoffs odds from the top US sportsbooks. Click on the price(s) you like below to bet now.
Wednesday, June 23
Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks – Game 1 (8:30 p.m. ET)
The Hawks are playing with proverbial house money as they begin their Eastern Conference Finals series against the Bucks on Wednesday night, as they’ve already gotten much farther than likely even they would have imagined when they fired head coach Lloyd Pierce on March 1, a date on which their record stood at 14-20. Atlanta’s body of work since that point has been nothing short of stellar, but they’ll walk into yet another tall task against Milwaukee. The Bucks defeated the Hawks in two of three regular season meetings by margins of 14 and 11 points, and Giannis and company are naturally especially tough on their home floor of Fiserv Forum. Then again, a Hawks squad that just notched three victories over the Sixers at Wells Fargo Center in the semifinal round isn’t likely to be very fazed by the setting.
The Bucks have been standing out in their own right recently, as they just finished rattling off four wins in five games against the star-studded Brooklyn Nets to get into the conference finals. Granted, Steve Nash’s squad was at less than full strength, but Milwaukee’s road overtime victory in Game 7 gives the Bucks significant momentum heading into Wednesday. Giannis Antetokounmpo has been his usual stellar self this postseason, but the other two components of their Big 3, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, have certainly had their ups and downs. Middleton will especially look to rectify the road shooting woes he exhibited against the Nets, as he posted an abysmal 33.0 percent success rate from the floor in four semifinal-round games at Barclays Center.
Thursday, June 24
Phoenix Suns at LA Clippers – Game 3 (9 p.m. ET)
The Suns were able to escape in Game 2 by the thinnest of margins, as a Deandre Ayton alley-oop bucket on an inbounds pass from Jae Crowder gave them a 104-103 victory. Phoenix has won the first two games of the series by a combined seven points, despite the Clippers being without Kawhi Leonard (knee) for both contests. Naturally, the Suns have been without Chris Paul (COVID-19 protocols) as well, but whether it’s been Devin Booker’s triple-double in Game 1 or Cameron Payne and Ayton combining for 53 points in Game 2, they’ve been able to make up for his absence. Paul is expected back for Game 3, which won’t only naturally benefit the starting five, but potentially the second unit as well with Payne moving back to the bench.
The Clippers have to be satisfied with how hard they fought in both of the first two games of the series without Leonard, but that still doesn’t alleviate the reality of the two-game hole they find themselves in. Los Angeles naturally has to be stung mentally by the way it lost Game 2, yet there’s not only a complete lack of room for dwelling on it, the Clippers have also been here before this very postseason. L..A.’s 2-0 series deficit in the semifinal round against the Jazz was arguably just as daunting as the current one, yet Tyronn Lue’s team found its way to four straight wins. Leonard’s status for Game 3 remains iffy, but if Paul George can improve on his putrid 1-for-8 shooting from three-point range in Game 2, the Clips could certainly still have a strong shot at victory on their home floor.
NBA player props (June 24, 2021)
Check out our FREE props tool below to help you find the best NBA odds at all of the US sportsbooks.
Series lines for the third round of the NBA playoffs have been posted at FanDuel Sportsbook. Check them out here:
- Phoenix Suns -900 vs. LA Clippers +610
- Milwaukee Bucks -500 vs. Atlanta Hawks +385
Odds to make the postseason
Here is a look at “odds to make the NBA Playoffs” from DraftKings Sportsbook ahead of the 2020-21 season and a look at which teams made the cut.
|Team||Odds to reach NBA Playoffs (December 2021)||Made Playoffs?|
|Golden State Warriors||-200||No|
|Portland Trail Blazers||-167||Yes|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+140||No|
|San Antonio Spurs||+350||No|
|New York Knicks||+1400||Yes|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+1600||No|
How does the Play-In Tournament work?
The NBA’s new Play-In Tournament took place right before the first round of the postseason, from Tuesday, May 18 through Friday, May 21. The tourney decided the 7 and 8 seeds in the Eastern Conference and Western Conference.
The format gives an advantage to the teams with higher regular season winning percentages as the teams with the seventh highest and eighth highest winning percentages each get two chances to win one game to earn a playoff berth. Teams with the ninth highest and 10th highest winning percentages in each conference have to nab two straight victories to earn a place in the traditional postseason under the format.
The Lakers clinched the 7 seed in the West by toppling the Warriors and the Celtics secured the 7 seed in the East by beating the Wizards. Washington fared much better in their second Play-In game, thumping the Pacers to land the 8 seed in the East, while the Warriors went 0-2 in the Play-In, falling to Memphis.
Who is favored to win the 2021 NBA Finals?
The Bucks are the favorites to win the 2021 NBA Finals with odds of +105 at FanDuel Sportsbook. The Suns have the second lowest odds with futures of +115 at FanDuel.
What are NBA futures?
In betting terms, “Futures,” usually refer to wagers with a season-long outcome such as the NBA champion, NBA division winner, or individual award winners. Prior to the season, it’s possible to bet Over or Under on Team Win totals, i.e. the number of games a team is expected to win during the regular season.
Due to the shortened season, bets on Win Totals and division winners have been rendered null and void with the investment going back to bettors.
How to bet the NBA Playoffs
Betting on a potential outcome such as the NBA champion is known as a futures bet. There are several other ways to bet on individual games in the NBA Playoffs including taking the winner on the moneyline. This is the simplest way to bet, but the favored team will always have negative odds to encourage action on both sides. For example, if the Nets face the Jazz in the first game of the NBA Finals, the Nets might be listed with -250 odds for Game 1, indicating that a $25 bet on the Nets to win would only profit $10.
If you want a better chance at even money, you’ll have to bet the point spread for a game. The spread is set based on a number that oddsmakers feel will encourage action on both sides of the line. Taking an example from the first round of last year’s playoffs, the Lakers were expected to blow past the eighth-seeded Blazers in Game 4 of their series. They were listed as Lakers (-9.5), indicating the Lakers would have to win by double digits for their backers to cash. Conversely, the Blazers (+9.5) would pay out as long as they lost by 9 or fewer points. With no home court advantage in the 2020 NBA playoffs, most point spreads have been small, with plenty hovering around -1.5 or even a “PK” or Pick ‘Em line that functions just like a moneyline.
Since NBA games often finish in scattered fashion with late buckets and free throws, you may not feel as confident about choosing a winner or betting the spread. If so, you can get some action on the point total or over/under. The total refers to the combined score between two opponents and in today’s NBA, it usually ranges between 205 and 230 points. For example, if a line between the Knicks and Hawks is set at 222.5 and the Knicks defeat the Hawks, 112-110, the Under is successful. These lines are set depending on the typical pace and style of each opponent, while accounting for things like home court advantage and back-to-back scheduling. Those factors are almost completely irrelevant in this year’s playoffs, so betting the point total will be all about matchups.
It’s also possible to bet on the prospects of individual players in the form of proposition bets. This is an excellent way to strategize while betting on the NBA, since certain players thrive in certain matchups and it can be predictable which nights they will give their absolute best effort. If the Lakers are playing a Game 7 in the WCF, you can certainly target a proposition on LeBron James going Over 46.5 combined points, rebounds, and assists. If James posts a relatively typical line of 27 points, 11 assists, and 9 rebounds, the Over would cash. There are also novel prop bets about whether a player will record a double double, triple double, or hit a certain number of 3-pointers.
Bettors can wager on future outcomes without picking the NBA champion, since each playoff series will have a series line. For example, the No.3-seeded Bucks were listed with -310 odds to defeat the Miami Heat in the first round, but if you felt Miami matched up well against Milwaukee, you could get plus odds on the Heat winning that series (+240). These odds will change after each result with the team leading the series getting a significant bump as the favorite.