Kevin Durant, James Harden, Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets will enter the 2021-22 season as the prohibitive favorites to win the NBA title at +195 odds (bet $100 to win $195), according to FanDuel Sportsbook.
The 2019-20 champion Los Angeles Lakers have the next best odds at +600, followed by Giannis Antetokounmpo and this year's champion Milwaukee Bucks (+850).
The rest of the odds are as follows:
It's no surprise that the Nets are the clear favorites. Durant, Harden and Irving played just eight regular-season games together this past year, as injuries ravaged the squad. They still earned the No. 2 seed in the Eastern Conference Playoffs and led the Bucks 2-0 in the conference semifinals without Harden.
But Irving sprained his ankle in Game 4, which ultimately ended his season, while a hobbled Harden returned in Game 5 but was clearly less than 100 percent. Despite being short-handed the Nets took the Bucks to seven games, including overtime in an epic Game 7, with Durant's heroics—he scored 48 points and forced overtime with a game-tying, turnaround jumper that was about an inch away from being a game-winning three—nearly ending Milwaukee's season.
If the Bucks barely squeaked by against a Nets team playing the entire series without their Big Three fully healthy, how much of a chance would they stand against Brooklyn at full strength?
Of course, the Bucks aren't going to give their title back. But it's hard to ignore that injuries played a huge factor in this postseason. The Lakers can attest, as Anthony Davis' injury in the team's first-round loss to the Suns was too much to overcome. The Denver Nuggets were without Jamal Murray. The Boston Celtics didn't have Jaylen Brown. The Los Angeles Clippers didn't have Kawhi Leonard in the Western Conference Finals.
Teams getting star players healthy again will impact the odds. So too will offseason trades and free agency. Will Damian Lillard switch teams? Might Chris Paul and Leonard opt out of player options to become free agents? Could they switch allegiances as well?
A lot of questions will be answered. A lot of betting lines will be altered. But as things stand now, it's hard to argue against the Nets being the prohibitive favorites.
For all the latest betting information and reaction, check out B/R Betting.
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