The record-setting 2020 NBA season finally came to an end last week when the Los Angeles Lakers won their record-tying 17th championship. It was an odyssey of a season that gave us more than our fair share of memorable and jaw-dropping moments and performances over the course of its NBA-record 355 days—but now we look ahead to the 2021 season.
After their triumph in the Finals, oddsmakers have the LeBron James-led Lakers as the early favorites to win it all again in 2021, sitting on 4.50 odds on Betway. They have James signed through the upcoming season, and his right-hand man, Anthony Davis, has opted out of his contract with every intent to re-sign with L.A. long-term.
The supporting cast is likely to see something of a makeover, but with two of the top five players in the league in James and Davis, the other guys don’t need to carry much of the load. This is probably the safest future NBA bet you can make at the moment, especially considering what they’re city-mates are dealing with during this fledgling offseason.
Across the Staples Center the disappointing Los Angeles Clippers sit in second place right now with 6.50 odds, which is curious considering the latest news from the team. Since long time head coach Doc Rivers was let go there have started to be rumblings that the supporting cast “bristled” at the preferential treatment accorded Kawhi Leonard.
Rivers assistant Tyronn Lue will step into the role and have quite a handful right from the get-go. They have guys like Lou Williams, who’s more worried about Kawhi Leonard getting special treatment than he is about missing games because he just had to get his favorite wings from famed Atlanta strip club Magic City. I wouldn’t be placing any trust in this squad right now.
The Golden State Warriors, who will see big-time players Steph Curry and Klay Thompson returning to bring the franchise back to glory, are tied for third with 7.50 odds alongside the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks have had the NBA’s best record for the past two seasons, but have disappointed in the playoffs each year, which is why many have speculated that two-time reigning MVP Giannis Atetokounmpo may be on his way out.
The Boston Celtics are next with 10.00 to go all the way with their young, talented roster, while the return of two of the most supremely talented players in the league, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, has the Brooklyn Nets sitting with 13.00 odds.
Tied with the Nets are the Miami Heat, who are fresh off of an impressive six-game loss to the Lakers in the Finals. Miami has indicated that they are going to go all in on Antetokounmpo if he leaves Milwaukee in free agency after the 2021 season, which many think he will do. The Greek Freak unfollowed all of his Bucks teammates on social media recently, but what that means is really up to interpretation.
If the Bucks believe the MVP will leave in free agency, they might try to trade him during the 2021 season so they don’t lose him for nothing, and if the Heat could land him they’d be instant title frontrunners, making a gamble on them at 13.00 odds a decent shout. If you’re looking for safety, go with the Lakers at 4.50, but if you’re looking to have some fun and take a chance on a future that has the potential to net you a ton of value, take a flier on the Heat at 13.00.