Donovan Mitchell and the Jazz could be a good bet to reach the Finals (Photo by Brian Rothmuller/Icon Sportswire)
- Updated odds to win both the Eastern and Western Conference in the 2021 NBA Playoffs can be found below
- Atlanta has long odds in East; Utah has short odds in West. Could they meet in finals?
- See the odds with all 2nd round series now underway within the story below
No NBA team is perfect, and it’s very important to keep that in mind. The Brooklyn Nets are probably the best thing out there, but James Harden’s hamstring has sidelined him again. And that makes a super team less super.
The Utah Jazz have been perfect since they lost Game 1 of the first round against Memphis, and they are currently going up against a Jekyll and Hyde Clippers team that was exhausted by having to go seven games against Dallas.
The Hawks have very long odds. The Jazz have very short odds. But if you believe in both of them, there are ways to turn that belief into a nifty wager, because the odds to win the Eastern and Western Conference are being skewed by the sportsbooks keeping their biggest liabilities short-priced.
But one step at a time. Let’s look at the East.
Odds to Win NBA Eastern Conference
|Team||Odds at DraftKings|
Odds as of June 9th
FOX Bet Promo Gives Bettors Insane 100-1 Odds on the 76ers to Just Score 76 or More Points in Any Game vs the Hawks
Where Do Things Stand In the East?
The Nets have been crushing the Bucks to such a degree (Game 1 was 115-107; Game 2 was 125-86) that Giannis Antetokounmpo and Co. look completely demoralized. Harden lasted less than a minute in Game 1, yet the Nets still dominated. Two nights later, Brooklyn dropped 65 on the Bucks in the first half and were up 24 at the break. The final margin of 39 allowed the Nets to cover by 41.
Milwaukee is getting very little from second fiddle Khris Middleton (13-for-43 in the series), and although Jrue Holiday is an upgrade over last year’s starter, Eric Bledsoe, he has managed only nine assists and zero steals in this series. Antetokounmpo had just 18 points in Game 2 and is a ghastly 2-for-10 from the free throw line, and the Bucks’ body language is only slightly north of rigor mortis.
Nets told to cut out Giannis Antetokounmpo free-throw trolling https://t.co/bg7XJRJfCz pic.twitter.com/Nk1cWfxq4x
— New York Post (@nypost) June 9, 2021
The Hawks, after playing from way ahead and hanging on in Game 1, dropped Game 2 last night 118-102, getting outscored by 14 in the second half. Joel Embiid gutted his way through a knee injury (torn meniscus) and scored 40 points with 13 rebounds, helping Philly overcome a four-point night from Ben Simmons, who is 3-for-12 from the foul line in this series.
Expect Nate McMillan to start employing Hack-a-Ben in Games 3 and 4 in Atlanta, where the building will be full and the crowd every bit as fired up as Philly’s. The difference: All the pressure is on the Sixers after their recent history of playoff failures.
The Hawks proved their resiliency against the Knicks after that series was 1-1, and there’s no good reason why they cannot do it again. Their roster is every bit as talented as Philly’s. But the sportsbooks have taken a ton of money on the Sixers, hence the short odds.
ATL We Coming Home , Bring the Energy!#WeMove
— Trae Young (@TheTraeYoung) June 9, 2021
Odds to Win NBA Western Conference
|Team||Odds at DraftKings|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+300|
Where Do Things Stand In the West?
Unlike the East, the four top-seeded teams all advanced out of the first round. And unlike most recent seasons, we do not have LeBron James or Steph Curry or Damian Lillard at this stage of the postseason – and hence nobody is saying “Nobody will get past that guy.”
But as you can see from the odds, the West is pretty evenly priced with the exception of the Nuggets, who are down 0-1 to Phoenix entering Wednesday’s Game 2. The Suns got balanced scoring from their starters and had a 24-9 run bridging the third and fourth quarters in the opener. But that was only one game, and the Nuggets have MVP Nikola Jokic, who had only 22 points, three assists and zero free throws in Game 1.
It was this moment the world got to see how special the Suns fan base is.
— Phoenix Suns (@Suns) June 8, 2021
Losses do not really faze the Nuggets. Last season, they became the first team in NBA history to come back from a pair of 3-1 deficits. The Suns have two very experienced players in Chris Paul and Jae Crowder, but coach Monty Williams is heavily reliant on his starters, and it was the exception rather than the norm in Game 1 when they all scored at least 14 points.
Denver really misses Jamal Murray. Austin Rivers has been average since joining the team at midseason and quickly moving into the starting five. Monte Morris did not perform well Monday, shooting 1-for-10 after scoring 28 and 22 in the final two games against Portland.
Here’s what it will take to bounce back tonight in Phoenix.#MileHighBasketball https://t.co/PUguhYzSjU
— Denver Nuggets (@nuggets) June 9, 2021
What Is the Wagering Strategy?
If we assume that the best team will come out of the West, you should believe the best team is the Jazz, who made 1,205 three-pointers, third-most in NBA history. They were the only team to hit 10-plus threes in every game.
The leap of faith comes with Trae Young and the Hawks, who are learning on the fly under Nate McMillan after an overhaul brought them Bogdan Bogdanovic, Danilo Gallinari and Lou Williams.
Talent is there; experience is not. But if they can get past Brooklyn (Young plays exceptionally well in New York), it’ll be the franchise’s first trip to the finals since 1961. At +2500, they are the nicest wager out there. And an exact finals matchup of Atlanta-Utah is priced at +5000 at PointsBet. Good luck!
Chris Sheridan has been covering sports gambling since 2018 when PASPA was overturned. a veteran journalist with 30+ years experience covering sports for the Associated Press, ESPN, SheridanHoops and BasketballNews.com, he has been at the forefront of sports gambling coverage since it was legalized.