- The Westgate Las Vegas has posted their opening futures numbers for the 2022 NBA Championship.
- The Brooklyn Nets and the Los Angeles Lakers are the top two choices.
- The 2021 NBA Finals begin on Tuesday night as the Phoenix Suns host the Milwaukee Bucks.
After two seasons that have been dramatically altered by the COVID-19 pandemic there is hope that the NBA can get ‘back to normal’ for the 2021-2022 season. At least that’s the hope–there are a few issues remaining to be resolved. One of the most intriguing is the potential return of the playoff ‘Play-In Tournament’–it was a product of the COVID truncated schedules over the past two seasons but might become a permanent addition. There’s also some concern about travel issues between the US and Canada but for the most part the NBA is expected to return to its regular schedule. It will, however, lead to a quick turnaround for the teams that are playing for the NBA Championship with training camp beginning approximately 70 days after the end of the finals.
With NBA Finals set to begin in Phoenix on Tuesday sportsbooks have started to look ahead to the 2021-2022 NBA season. The Westgate Las Vegas has become one of the first sportsbooks to post futures odds on the team to win next year’s NBA Championship. To no surprise, two of the biggest ‘public’ teams in the sport have been installed as favorites. The public can’t get enough of the Brooklyn Nets despite their volatile triumvirate of injury prone superstars that count among them two of the biggest ‘head cases’ in the NBA (Kyrie Irving and James Harden). Before last season, the Nets were a +600 choice to win the NBA Championship. Instead, they’re watching the finals on TV with everyone else. That hasn’t stopped the Westgate from opening them as a +300 favorite to win next season’s title.
Earlier today, the Las Vegas Review-Journal ran an article reviewing the Westgate futures betting board and providing some context on why certain teams are priced as they are. Behind Brooklyn comes another huge ‘public’ team–LeBron James’ Los Angeles Lakers are at +450 to win their second NBA title in three years. To be sure, injuries played a big part in how the current playoffs would turn out for both teams. Brooklyn’s superstar trio of Harden, Irving and Kevin Durant only played 14 games together this season. Anthony Davis and LeBron James were also injured at various points in the season. Westgate VP of risk Jeff Sherman said the pricing is based on the public perception of how good both teams would be if healthy:
“Both teams had health concerns and weren’t 100 percent this past season. We’re putting these up based on them having healthy teams next year and how people will look to bet them.”
Before last season, the Lakers and Nets were two of the top three teams favored to win the championship. The Lakers were a +275 favorite, the Bucks next at +550 and the Nets right behind at +600. The Golden State Warriors were down the list a bit at +2500 but they’re something of a surprise third choice at the Westgate for next season priced at +800 and are the only other team priced at single digit odds. Sherman admits that there’s some speculative components to that pricing:
“We went with the Warriors next because Klay Thompson is supposed to return to give them Thompson, (Steph) Curry and (Draymond) Green. They’ll have maneuverability because of (Andrew) Wiggins’ expensive contract and some top draft picks. They could put an attractive package together and get a decent veteran player back. I expect them to be aggressive. The Curry-and-Thompson window is closing rather than opening.”
The top of the second tier includes the Milwaukee Bucks (+1000), LA Clippers (+1000), Phoenix Suns (+2000), Philadelphia 76ers (+2000) and Utah Jazz (+2000). Sherman says that the Suns are getting a lot of public backing but points out that their road to the finals this year was markedly easier due to opponent injuries:
“Right now, we’re getting the most bets on the Suns at 20-1. I’m sure people are saying they’re the favorite in the Finals and you can get them at 20-1 next year. But our thought process is to look at the path they took to get there.”
Further down on the betting board are the Denver Nuggets (+3000), Atlanta Hawks (+3000), Miami Heat (+3000), Portland Trailblazers (+4000) and Dallas Mavericks (+4000). Sherman says that the Mavs are also seeing some strong betting interest:
“The other team getting some traction is the Mavericks. I’m sure they’ll be aggressive in getting somebody to pair with Luka (Doncic). (Kristaps) Porzingis isn’t the answer.”
2021-2022 NBA CHAMPION
Brooklyn Nets +300 Los Angeles Lakers +450 Golden State Warriors +800 Milwaukee Bucks +1000 Los Angeles Clippers +1000 Philadelphia 76ers +2000 Utah Jazz +2000 Phoenix Suns +2000 Denver Nuggets +3000 Atlanta Hawks +3000 Miami Heat +3000 Dallas Mavericks +4000 Portland Trail Blazers +4000 Boston Celtics +5000 Indiana Pacers +5000 New York Knicks +5000 Toronto Raptors +5000 New Orleans Pelicans +6000 Memphis Grizzlies +6000 Chicago Bulls +10000 Charlotte Hornets +10000 Washington Wizards +10000 San Antonio Spurs +20000 Sacramento Kings +20000 Cleveland Cavaliers +20000 Orlando Magic +20000 Detroit Pistons +20000 Minnesota Timberwolves +30000 Houston Rockets +50000 Oklahoma City Thunder +50000
Look for other sportsbooks to start posting their 2021-2022 NBA Championship futures odds soon. Once they do, we’ll take a look and see if we can come up with any value.