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.