How does the James Harden move to Brooklyn affect the title odds of the other top contenders? Photo by Jevone Moore/Icon Sportswire.
- The Los Angeles Lakers remain the favorites to win the 2020-21 NBA Title, despite the Brooklyn Nets acquisition of James Harden
- The Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks are now +600 and +700 respectively to win it all
- Read below for analysis on the latest update to the NBA Championship odds, and potential teams to target
The NBA landscape was flipped on its head on Wednesday night with the announcement of the James Harden trade to Brooklyn. Harden joins Kevin Durant and possibly Kyrie Irving, should he decide to return to the team, to form the newest “Big 3” in basketball, and immediately vaulted the Nets to a top-two contender to win the NBA title .
2020-21 NBA Championship Odds
|Los Angeles Lakers||+260|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+600|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+5500|
|Golden State Warriors||+6500|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+12000|
|San Antonio Spurs||+19000|
|New York Knicks||+25000|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+25000|
Odds taken January 13th at FanDuel.
Brooklyn’s NBA Championship odds shortened from +550 to +270, behind only the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers. The Harden trade also had a ripple affect on the other top contenders, as the LA Clippers odds’ were lengthened from +575 to +600, while the Milwaukee Bucks’ price fell from +545 to +700.
Now, all we need is a Lakers vs. Nets NBA Finals. 🔥🙏 pic.twitter.com/kmzx61lW18
— Hoop Central (@TheHoopCentral) January 13, 2021
The drastic change in the Nets’ odds seems like a bit of an overreaction, but has it created value on the other top-four contenders? After a slow start, the Bucks have found their stride, while on paper, there’s a strong case to be made that both LA teams boast more complete rosters.
2021 NBA MVP Award Odds Tracker
Buy the Bucks?
Since dropping three of their first five games, Milwaukee has been on a tear. They’ve reeled off six wins in seven games, including three straight, claiming victory in each of those outings by at least nine points.
BUCKS WIN!!! pic.twitter.com/7rETO5C8Th
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 14, 2021
They lead the NBA in points per game, field goal percentage and 3-point makes, while ranking top-7 in rebounds and assists. They’re the number one team in ESPN’s BPI metrics, and have done a great job adding and keeping talent around Giannis Antetokounmpo.
Got heeeeeeeem!!#FearTheDeer pic.twitter.com/fJSwVXtOU7
— Milwaukee Bucks (@Bucks) January 14, 2021
Khris Middleton is playing at an extremely high level, while the addition of Jrue Holliday in the offseason gives them a dangerous third scoring option. Brook Lopez and Donte DiVincenzo are nice complimentary pieces in the starting line-up, while the additions of Bobby Portis and D.J. Augustin gives them much needed depth off the bench.
Hogs great & Bucks F Bobby Portis @BPortistime w/11 pts (5-9 FGs, incl 1-4 from 3), 5 rbs, 2 stls in Milwaukee’s 110-101 win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday as thw Bucks improved to 8-4 … pic.twitter.com/CzFODy5p4e
— Kevin McPherson (@ARHoopScoop) January 14, 2021
Sure, the very top of the Nets roster is more talented, but 1 through 10 the Bucks are a more complete team, and arguably a better bet to come out of the East.
Stick with the Clips?
Of all the top-four contenders, the Clippers are the toughest to try and figure out. They’ve looked like both world beaters and underachievers this season, and rank middle of the pack in most key offensive and defensive categories.
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📼 The Way Up with @CityNational pic.twitter.com/tpaczjtsv9
— LA Clippers (@LAClippers) January 11, 2021
Some of their struggles could be attributed to Kawhi Leonard playing at less than 100 percent, but top to bottom this is a championship calibre roster and the move of Harden out of the Western Conference should actually improve their title chances, not hurt them.
Without Harden, Houston is likely to be a non-factor in the West, meaning there’s one less threat to LAC’s chances of reaching the Finals. Of course they’ll likely have to go through the Lakers to get there, something I’m not sure any team is equipped to do.
Value Lies with Lakers
The reigning champs’ NBA title odds saw a slight drop as well in light of the Harden news, falling from +245 to +260. LA has been the class of the NBA so far posting a 10-3 record, and their roster is deeper and more talented than it was when they won the title in October.
James Harden getting traded to the Brooklyn Nets to join KD and Kyrie will be special to watch… but I’m still picking the @Lakers to win the Championship 😁
— Earvin Magic Johnson (@MagicJohnson) January 14, 2021
They’re allowing a conference low 105.7 points per game and are limiting enemy shooters to 43.9% from the field and just 34.2% from beyond the arc. Offensively, they’re scoring a conference best 113.5 points per 100 possessions, and I challenge you to name a better one-two punch than LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
SCHRODER: “I told him to bet a Benjamin on it. He shot it, turned around & said, ‘Bet.’ Then it went in. It’s just legendary.”
LEBRON: “I took the bet while I was still shooting the ball. A bet isn’t official until you look a man in the eye.” pic.twitter.com/RvYZbaeYR3
— Ballislife.com (@Ballislife) January 13, 2021
The duo is averaging a combined 46.7 points, 16.9 rebounds and 10.6 assists per game, despite playing reduced minutes. The additions of Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell are serious upgrades to the point guard and center positions and there’s no reason at this point to think the Lakers aren’t the clear cut, best bet to win the title.
If you like LA bet them now because their odds are only going to get shorter once the market corrects itself. This team is deeper and much better constructed to win playoff games than Brooklyn, and its only a matter of time before they distance themselves from the Nets in the futures market.
Chris began his career at Hockey Night in Canada over 15 years ago. He has since worked at TSN for over 12 years as a writer, line-up producer, field producer, newsroom supervisor for Sportscentre, and presently as a promotions producer.