Updated NBA Futures: Nets and Lakers Continue To Top Markets





The race for the Larry O’Brien Trophy is underway, and the NBA futures markets are taking shape as the season reaches the first-month mark.

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Going into the 2021-22 NBA season, the Brooklyn Nets were the prohibitive favorites across market operators to win the NBA finals. The Los Angeles Lakers were the second-best bet and the defending champions Milwaukee Bucks were the third-best bet overall.

After this top trio, the Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz, Phoenix Suns, Los Angeles Clippers and Atlanta Hawks all emerged, amongst several others, as legitimate contenders as per the oddsmakers and NBA basketball betting stats. However, they were a good distance off the Nets, Lakers and Bucks with odds that represented much lower probability of winning (less than 5%).

It’s early days yet. The NBA landscape is only just settling into place, and while a few preseason contenders are in the mix, there are a few surprise stories emerging already.

The Nets (10-4) are exactly where many predicted they’d be: at the top of the Atlantic Division and tied for second place with the Chicago Bulls at the top of the Eastern Conference. However, it’s not been smooth sailing for the Nets, who got off to a 2-3 start in their first five games that included an opening 127-104 loss to the Milwaukee Bucks and a 111-95 loss to the Charlotte Hornets.

Durant and company hit an early season-low with a 103-96 loss to the Miami Heat in their fifth game of the season, prompting some candid remarks from Brooklyn’s star about his teammate Kyrie Irving.


The slow start to the season wasn’t only down to Irving’s absence, although the brouhaha over the circumstances around it was a distraction in itself.

The Nets started the season without the seven-time All-Star due to his stance against Covid-19 vaccination and his absence was sorely felt. New York City’s vaccine mandate prevents players who aren’t vaccinated from playing.

Although Irving could have been a part-time participant (playing exclusively on the road where rules aren’t so stringent), the team decided that he would not play unless he could be a full-time player.

Whether Irving will play for the Nets at some point this season remains to be seen, but as Brooklyn starts to right the ship, it’s possible his value for the team will diminish over time. Durant continues to be his stellar self, underscoring his value as Brooklyn’s most influential player on the court.

The Los Angeles Lakers remain the second favorites across the board despite their early-season troubles, which included losing LeBron James to injury. Their worst-case scenario after limping to the finish line with a decimated starting line-up last season.

King James’ absence is a big blow to Los Angeles as they slip to a modest 8-7 start in the first month. Bookmakers are reluctant to hang too low a price on the Lakers right now because of their bounce-back ability upon LeBron James’ return.

As things currently stand, the Lakers are fourth overall in the Pacific Division, four games back of the surging Golden State Warriors who lead both the division and the Western Conference.

Trading for Russell Westbrook in the offseason was supposed to help the Lakers weather such storms, but it’s easy to understand why that hasn’t gone quite to plan. Westbrook has only just joined the team, and LeBron’s injury came way too early for the Lakers and Westbrook to adjust or assimilate cohesively enough so those big-name absences aren’t felt as much.

The good news for the Lakers, LeBron is expected to return soon. As early as this Friday against the Boston Celtics, according to the latest reports.



The Milwaukee Bucs are 6-8 on the season and struggling something huge. Considering they were the last team off the court this summer after winning the NBA title, their slow start isn’t surprising at all.

The Bucks have had the shortest offseason and a rash of injuries is catching up to them already. Nevertheless, odds makers are loathe to drop Milwaukee’s odds just yet too. It would be an overreaction to the first month sample, which could prove costly down the road. After all, as the team gets healthier, their potential to bounce back is high.

The Golden State Warriors (11-2) are off to a fabulous start, which isn’t surprising. Stephen Curry and the Warriors have championship pedigree, and they were amongst the contenders from the start.

The Phoenix Suns (10-3), who lost to the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA finals, are off to a better start than most expected, but their odds have remained largely the same because the Western Conference is loaded in talent and that will make a repeat final appearance tougher.

The biggest movers and shakers on the odds board is Miami. The Heat appear to be tapping into their 2020 NBA finals form – they’re up to 9-5 on the season and fourth in the Eastern Conference standings.

Finally, the Chicago Bulls are the quintessential surprise package of the first month. Few saw the Bulls coming this season, but they’re up to second in the standings with a 10-4 record. Whether they can maintain this form remains to be seen though.

What are the latest NBA power rankings?

 


This season’s NBA campaign kicked off on the 20th of October, as the defending champions the Milwaukee Bucks took on the Brooklyn Nets. As was expected, the Bucks carried on their strong form from the previous campaign and didn’t look overly troubled, with the final score ending up 127-104. 


Since then, however, their form has been fairly mixed. At the time of writing, they have played 11 times, winning 5 matches, but losing 6. This means they are quite unpredictable, so fans using sports betting sties like draftkings sportsbook might think twice before placing bets on them to win in their upcoming fixtures, against the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics.


The current official power rankings on the NBA website have the Bucks as low down as 16th. They have injuries to Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez to contend with, so it will be hard to see them climbing up the rankings in the next few weeks.


Let’s take a look at which teams are thriving this season in the NBA, and who already looks like they will be struggling to make it to the playoffs.

Miami bringing the heat

After 9 games played, the Miami Heat are top of both the Eastern Conference and the power rankings, despite losses to the Celtics and the Denver Nuggets in the last week (the rankings were published before the game against the Nuggets, so this could well change in the next few days).

 

Instead of focusing on the defeats, which have been fairly shocking, instead let’s look at the positives, which saw them win all but 1 of their opening 8 matches. The stand out results would be a 137-95 of the current NBA champions (even if, as mentioned previously, the Bucks haven’t hit their stride just yet) and the big score achieved against the Memphis Grizzlies, which finished 129-103 to the Heat.


A  big test for them is in their next game, against the LA Lakers. It is made all the more interesting as the Heat’s former star player (and NBA MVP during his time in Miami) , LeBron James, now plays for the Lakers, helping them to win the 2020 Championship. Will the Heat show LeBron what he is missing by beating them this week at the Staples Center? Given LA’s average start, we wouldn’t be surprised to see this happen.



The Warriors topping the Western Conference

Over on the other side of the NBA, the Golden State Warriors are looking like a force to be reckoned with, having won 9 and lost just 1 of their opening fixtures. They opened up the campaign with a 121-114 win over the Lakers, and also ran out big scores against the New Orleans Pelicans (126-85) the Charlotte Hornets (114-92) and the Sacramento Kings (119-107). 


Given that their next 2 matches see them take on the Minnesota Timberwolves in front of their home crowd at the Chase Center, before welcoming the Chicago Bulls there on Saturday the 13th, we expect their record to not only improve, but for them to also rise up to the top spot in the NBA power rankings.


The Warriors were the dominant force in basketball for a period, winning 3 championships between 2015 and 2018. With Stephen Curry still looking like a world-beater, it wouldn’t be a total shock to see them lift another championship later this year.

Nets and 76ers looking beyond the Conference Semifinals

Last year in the playoffs, both the Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers made it as far as the Eastern Conference Semifinals, before being beaten by the Bucks and the Atlanta Hawks respectively. While making it to the last 8 is certainly admirable, both sides will be wanting to go even further if possible this year.


It could be achievable, as both sides are in good form in this early part of the season. The 76ers have a record of 8-4 so far, recording positive results against the Detroit Pistons and the Hawks. However, they are currently on a 2 game losing streak, having lost to the New York Knicks and the Bucks in their most recent fixtures. They will be hoping to turn things around against the Toronto Raptors next time out.


The Nets meanwhile have recovered from their opening day defeat to the Bucks, with solid wins against the Washington Wizards, the Indiana Pacers, and the 76ers. They were on the wrong end of a 118-95 scoreline against the Bulls in game 11, so will be looking to get back on track against the Orlando Magic at the Amway Center.

Rockets not firing

Spare a thought for the Houston Rockets, who are currently rock bottom of the power rankings. It is not a good time for the city of Houston, who also have the Houston Texans at the bottom of the NFL power rankings. Hopefully the Rockets will pick up their second win of the season against the Pistons in a few days time.


Kevin Durant and James Harden Beginning to Show Why Brooklyn Nets Are the Big Favorites in NBA Title Chase



In the opening weeks of the season, it would be fair to say that the overwhelming favorites for NBA title glory were a shadow of the team that many had predicted. Defeats to Milwaukee, Charlotte, and Miami left the Brooklyn Nets 2-3 after five games of the new season, and there was a lot to do in order to get Steve Nash's side back where they should be. 


Some may have felt the absence of Kyrie Irving was a factor, but Kevin Durant and James Harden have been in spellbinding form of late, and now the Nets side top of the Atlantic Division after a series of eight wins from nine games. 


Now the Barclays Center side is way out in front in terms of the NBA betting, which can be seen at sidelines.io/nba; the Nets are now placed at (+275) some way ahead of the Los Angeles Lakers (+700) and the in-form Golden State Warriors (+800). 


As an illustration of the work put in by their star duo, you only have to note that Kevin Durant sits top of points per game stats (at 29.6), and James Harden sits in the second spot in assists (at 9.3 per game). 


The pair's efforts unsurprisingly led to them both getting roundly booed on their first joint return to the Oklahoma City Thunder; during a match that the Nets ran out 120-96 winners, the pair amassed 49 points between them, and Harden put in 13 assists. 


That win brought an end to Oklahoma's own four-win streak, and Harden was pleased with the effort put in by the Nets;


"They've been playing well. They'd won four straight prior to this game. We didn't take them lightly and came out and tried to play very good Brooklyn Nets basketball on both ends of the ball," Harden commented. "I think we did that." 


Nash commented on how far both players have come since their respective stints at the Paycom Center side, where they played a combined 11 seasons;


"I think the last time James was here, he wasn't the MVP James that has had such an impact on the game," explained Nash. "So much success, such prolific numbers, had the rules changed because of him. That player was in there somewhere, but it was not fully formed yet. So while everyone could see the talent and effectiveness, he's definitely become something in the last ten years or however long that's been that's totally different and historic."


"I think Kevin [has become] refined as well; in a different way, you know Kevin, we could see the prodigious talent and effectiveness and efficiency even back then. But he's just now in such a different state of being on the court; there's a mastery to what he does where there was a little more rawness to his game back then, still doing it at an incredible level and doing it with more knowing." Added Nash.


The Nets are looking good, but the season is long, and Nash knows that other members of his roster will need to put in the hard work to support their marquee stars.

Latest MLB News: Atlanta Braves 2021 World Series Champions

That’s a wrap! With game 6 of the series, the Atlanta Braves win the World Series and close out the season with a game to spare. But that gives us a lot to talk about, today we’re going to be taking a look at the Braves 4-2 win to take the world series to see how they took home the Commissioner’s Trophy. Not only that, but with us plunging into the offseason, it’s time for trades! We’ll be looking at some of the best MLB odds for the biggest and wildest transfer rumours, if we’re all settled in, let’s get to it!



The Atlanta Braves lifted the Commissioner's Trophy after beating the Houston Astros 4-2 in a best of 7 winning the World Series. Source: McCovey Chronicles



Okay, first things first. The fact the Braves have won the World Series is huge, this is their first World Series since 1995. For those who haven’t checked recently we’re currently in 2021, that’s a 26 year wait for a World Series win! As a Liverpool (Football) and a Leafs (Hockey) fan, I know what it’s like to wait a long time for a major win, 30 years for Liverpool to win their 19th League Title and their first in the Premier League era, the Leafs? They’ve been waiting since the 60s for a Stanley Cup. So I know how it feels to wait a long time to see some silverware. Braves fans, soak it in. This is something you’ll be able to tell your kids about and your kids kids for YEARS to come! So own it, enjoy it like I know you all will!

But how did they do it? Well, the world series final is a best of 7 series, the Braves took it in 6. Even though they lost 2 games, they weren’t even necessarily bad in those games other than game 2 where they lost 7-2 they genuinely didn’t even struggle much, their other loss was a 9-5 in game 5, but in that game they still ended up with 5 runs scored. They pretty much cruised to victory, did they make it easy for themselves in the regular season? Most definitely not.

You know, no matter how you look at it, a team with a .547 win percentage during the regular season probably shouldn’t be winning the World Series, when you’ve got teams like Giants who won a whopping 107 games, the Dodgers hitting 106 wins and even the Rays hit triple digits in the win column, but of all the teams to make the world series this year, the Braves were the ONLY team to not record 90+ regular season wins. The only team with a worse regular season record to win a World Series are the 2006 St Louis Cardinals who went 83-76 with a .516 winning percentage, kinda crazy to think of it like that right?

It just goes to show you that when your big names step up to the plate and they’re ready to compete, anybody has a chance and that was definitely the case for the Braves, with players like Jorge Soler putting in a performance that gave him 3 homers in 6 games knocking one clear out of the park to gain the Braves a 3 run shot! But the biggest play was in acquiring the big names, phenomenal work by general manager Alex Anthopoulos, he did his research and got exactly what he deserved from it. Well done Alex and the team, a real Brave performance. I’m sorry, I’ll let myself out.




Freddie Freeman is a much sought after name this off season with the Braves potentially shopping him. Source: Sporting News


Maybe to the surprise of many, rumours have been flying about Freddie Freeman being traded by the Braves. After a pretty solid season, proving himself as a top tier defensive first baseman and line drive hitter, there seems to be a lot of interest in the potential of acquiring Freddie. Teams like the Astros, the Indians and the Mariners are all said to be interested.

It was announced yesterday that the Rangers have had 4 players clear outright waivers meaning they will be eligible for minor league free agency, those players are first basemen Curtis Terry and Ronald Guzmán, reliever Matt Bush and infielder Anderson Tejeda. There is some good experience to be picked up here for any potential suitors.

That’s gonna do it for this one, the off season is still young. There will be plenty more rumours flying around in the coming days, many teams looking to strengthen and let go of their perceived “dead wood” as it were, ready for next season to start. We’ll be keeping our ears to the ground to keep you posted as they come in! Are there any names you’re looking for your team to acquire, or even shift out the door?

NBA 2021/22: Should the Bucks Be Favorites to Repeat?


For most neutrals, the 2020/21 NBA season was something of a classic. It was dramatic and unpredictable, with the excitement growing throughout the Playoffs. While the Milwaukee Bucks ended up as champions – ending a 50-year wait for fans – other teams, like the Atlanta Hawks, Denver Nuggets and Phoenix Suns, also played their part in one of the best climaxes to an NBA season in recent times. 

But, as great champions like to say, there is always next season to look forward to. And, the NBA will return for its full 82-game schedule in the regular season on October 19th. You might expect the Bucks to be highly placed in the odds for repeating after a fantastic season. And they are fancied to do well again, but they are not the favorites. It might seem early to publish basketball odds for the 2021/22 NBA season as the last has just ended, but many top betting firms have released new markets for 2021/22, and they believe the Nets are the most likely to win the NBA Finals next year. 

Nets hurt by injuries in Conference Semis

888 Sport has put the Nets as the outright favorites, with odds of 9/4 (+225). Next up comes the Lakers with odds of 5/1 (+500) and the Bucks on (+700). That’s quite a statement of confidence in the Nets, and it might also surprise fans to see the reigning champs with quite high odds. The pair clashed, of course, in the Eastern Conference Semis in what was arguably the most thrilling series of the Playoffs. The Bucks edged out the Nets in OT in Game 7 in an epic encounter. Indeed, so close was the series that four of the seven games needed overtime. 

So, why the relatively large difference in the odds between the champs and the team they knocked out in the Semis? Well, that series was incredibly close, and most Nets fans were left wondering what might have been if the team had not been racked with injuries. Kyrie Irving was a particularly tough loss from the series, and James Harden, while getting some game time, had a couple of niggling injuries. 

Sportsbooks seem to agree with the assertion: The Nets at full strength would offer too much for the Bucks. And yet, some Bucks fans will believe their team can repeat. Giannis Antetokounmpo, while already a franchise player, proved in the Finals that he could become more than just the face of the Milwaukee Bucks – he could be the best player in NBA. While the Bucks aren’t as heavily stacked as the Nets, nor the Lakers, a couple of smart moves in free agency. 

GSW could be back in 2022

Of course, the Bucks, Nets and Lakers aren’t the only teams that could be competitive in the new season. The Golden State Warriors, Utah Jazz, Philadelphia 76ers and the Phoenix Suns will all have high expectations for the new season. The Clippers and Nuggets, too, will likely have a say in the Playoffs. 

It’s worth remembering that there is a lot that can happen between now and October 19th (the start date for the regular season). Rosters can be transformed, and even teams that we have not mentioned above might suddenly become competitive. Should the Bucks, as champions, be favorites? Maybe not, but that doesn’t mean they won’t be at some point. And, don’t forget, the Bucks weren’t the favorites at the beginning of last season. Perhaps a dozen teams have a serious chance of winning in 2022 – and that sets it up for a great season ahead.