2021 NBA Title Odds: Nets Top Lakers as Betting Favorites After LeBron's Injury

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistMarch 22, 2021

Los Angeles Lakers forward LeBron James holds his ankle after going down with an injury during the first half of an NBA basketball game against the Atlanta Hawks Saturday, March 20, 2021, in Los Angeles. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

An injury to LeBron James has shaken up the NBA landscape, with the Brooklyn Nets overtaking the Los Angeles Lakers as title favorites.

According to Fanduel, the Nets are +280 to win the 2021 NBA championship ($100 bet wins $280). The Lakers dropped to +300 to win it all, followed closely by the Los Angeles Clippers (+550) and Milwaukee Bucks (+750).

James was in the midst of another MVP-caliber season but suffered a high-ankle sprain against the Atlanta Hawks Saturday and is expected to miss "several weeks," according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. The Lakers were already playing without Anthony Davis, who is recovering from an Achilles injury.

Los Angeles suffered a 111-94 loss to the Phoenix Suns Sunday without either superstar.

The uncertainty surrounding James and Davis is enough to raise doubts about the Lakers' ability to repeat as champions. At the least, the extended absences could be enough to affect the standings and create a tougher path in the postseason.

Meanwhile, the Nets look every bit the contender with a Big Three of James Harden, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, plus the recent addition of Blake Griffin.

Brooklyn got off to a slow start, but the team is 15-2 over the last 17 games with a high-scoring attack that will be difficult to beat.

The Philadelphia 76ers still remain the top seed in the East at 30-13, with Joel Embiid once again a top contender for the MVP award. The Utah Jazz have the best overall record in the NBA at 30-11 and aren't going away after the strong start.

It could create an exciting battle for the title, regardless of whether the Lakers are back to full strength.


Odds to Win NBA Title

  • Brooklyn Nets: +280
  • Los Angeles Lakers: +300
  • Los Angeles Clippers: +550
  • Milwaukee Bucks: +750
  • Utah Jazz: +850
  • Philadelphia 76ers: +1200
  • Denver Nuggets: +2600
  • Phoenix Suns: +3000
  • Boston Celtics: +3400
  • Miami Heat: +4600


Must be 21+ and present in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, West Virginia, Colorado, or Tennessee. Gambling Problem? Call 1-800-GAMBLER. See sportsbook.fanduel.com for details.