- The L.A. Clippers have the second-longest odds to win the Pacific Division at +1200 despite making it to the Western Conference Finals last season.
- L.A. is expected to be without Kawhi Leonard for a significant part of the 2021-22 season.
- The Clippers’ 2022 championship odds lengthened from +800 to +1600 after news of Leonard’s surgery was revealed.
Despite coming off the most successful season in the history of the franchise where they finally made it to the Western Conference Finals, the L.A. Clippers find themselves heading to the 2021-22 NBA season with the second-longest odds to win the Pacific Division.
Online sportsbook BetOnline opened their NBA Division Odds betting markets on Monday and according the to the said bookmaker, the Clippers are a +1200 to win the Pacific Division.
Odds to win the Pacific Division:
— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) August 23, 2021
It’s not as if the Clippers have been perennial Pacific Division champion. L.A. has won the Pacific Division only twice, accomplishing the feat during the 2012-13 and 2013-14 campaigns. However, when a team that made it to the Western Conference Finals the previous season and didn’t lose a significant player during the offseason, that has to be a surprise. Or is it?
Kawhi Expected to Miss a Significant Chunk of the Regular Season
Kawhi Leonard is expected to miss a significant chunk of the regular season for the Clippers.
Based on recent injury timelines, and Kawhi’s cautious approach to injuries, things could get murky next season.https://t.co/uuMHvTj4re
— Clippers Nation (@ClipperNationCP) July 14, 2021
The main argument against the Clippers is that the team doesn’t have a definite timetable for Kawhi Leonard’s return and the latest intel says that Kawhi is expected to miss a significant chunk of the 2021-22 regular season. There is no question that Kawhi will be back as he just signed a four-year contract extension a couple of weeks back. But the question is when?
Online sportsbooks don’t think it will be soon. When Caesars Sportsbook and the BetOnline App released their first NBA season win total odds boards, the Clippers’ total was set at 44.5, with West rivals Dallas and Denver having higher totals at 47.5. Even the Memphis Grizzlies, who were the last Western Conference team to join the playoff bus are just three wins off the Clippers in the oddsboard at 41.5.
Sure, we saw how Paul George and Reggie Jackson carried the Clippers past the Mavericks in Round 2 of the 2021 playoffs without Leonard. However, Kawhi was worth 8.8 total win shares last season per Basketball Reference, the highest among Clippers players. Theoretically, that would give them 53.3 wins if added to their win total, and put them behind the Brooklyn Nets’ league-leading 54.5 win total.
Clippers’ Odds Have Lengthened
— Sportsnaut (@Sportsnaut) August 17, 2021
The Clippers opened with the third-best odds to win the 2022 NBA title at +800, tied with the Milwaukee Bucks, and with only the Brooklyn Nets (+210) and Los Angeles Lakers (+475). However, after news of Kawhi’s surgery, the Clippers’ odds lengthened to +1600 to +200, depending on which of the best NBA betting sites you use. And even after trading for Eric Bledsoe, L.A.’s odds remained the same.
As of the latest championship oddsboard at SportsBetting.ag, the Clippers are at +1600 and are tied with the Utah Jazz. The Nets (+300), Lakers (+325), Bucks (+900), Warriors (+1200), and Suns (+1200) have shorter odds than them. The Clippers also have just the 5th best odds to win the Western Conference at +850.
But while most of the preseason betting odds are against them, there are two that give the Clippers fans a reason to be optimistic: the Clippers are a solid -280 betting to make the playoffs and Paul George has the 12th best odds to win 2022 NBA MVP honors at +3300. If these two bets hold, then the Clippers are likely to hold the fort until Kawhi returns. Then the odds could turn in their favor.