- Sportsbooks are picking the Bucks to face the Lakers in the 2021 NBA Finals.
- A Miami Heat vs Los Angeles Lakers rematch is only the 6th best probability according to oddsmakers.
- Aside from the Bucks and Lakers, the Nets and Clippers are the other early betting favorites to play in the NBA Finals.
Sorry Miami Heat fans, the sportsbooks aren’t high on the reigning Eastern Conference champions returning to the Finals next season.
Last season, the Heat became the first 5th seeded team in any conference ( although six, seven and eight have previously accomplished the feat) to advance to the NBA Finals. The Heat swept the 4th seeded Pacers in round 1, upset the top-seeded Bucks in the second round, and then upended the no. 2 ranked Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals before losing to the Lakers in the championship.
Miami lost Jae Crowder and Derrick Jones Jr. in free agency but added Maurice Harkless and Avery Bradley while also drafting Precious Achiuwa with the 20th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The Heat have kept Goran Dragic and have signed Bam Adebayo to an extension. But despite ensuring that the core of last year’s team will be returning, the Top 5 NBA Finals scenarios do not include Miami in the East.
Here are the Top 10 2021 NBA Finals matchups as listed in the current oddsboard of BetOnline.ag as of 11/26/20:
- Bucks vs Lakers +900
- Nets vs Lakers +1100
- Bucks vs Clippers +1200
- Nets vs Clippers +1400
- Celtics vs Lakers +1600
- Heat vs Lakers +1800
- Celtics vs Clippers +2500
- Heat vs Clippers +2500
- Raptors vs Lakers +3000
- Sixers vs Lakers +3300
Lakers vs Bucks Finals
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The most likely Finals Matchup?
Bucks vs Lakers (9-1)
— BetOnline.ag (@betonline_ag) November 20, 2020
What the oddsmakers are saying is that the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers will square off in the 2021 NBA Finals. Online sportsbook BetOnline.ag has listed this match-up as the odds-on-favorite in its Exact NBA Finals Matchup oddsboard at +900.
The Bucks finished with the best record in the NBA in the previous two seasons. Milwaukee lost to the eventual champions Toronto Raptors in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals and were ousted by the Heat in the second round last season. But with Giannis Antetokounmpo coming off back to back MVP seasons and Milwaukee upgrading with Jrue Holiday, D.J. Augustin, and Bobby Portis, the Bucks are primed for a run at the Finals during the 2020-21 season.
On the other hand, the Lakers are the odds on favorite to repeat as champions. Los Angeles has been one of the busiest teams during the first week of free agency. The Lakers have added Dennis Schroder, 2020 Sixth Man of the Year winner Montrezl Harrell, 2013 Defensive Player of the Year Marc Gasol, and Wesley Matthews to their lineup while keeping free agent Kentavious Caldwell-Pope. L.A. however, lost Rajon Rondo, Dwight Howard, Javale McGee, Danny Green, and Avery Bradley. But with LeBron James and Anthony Davis returning, the Purple and Gold are the team to beat next season.
High on The Nets
2021 NBA Finals? pic.twitter.com/edPfKDSd7i
— Nice Kicks (@nicekicks) October 12, 2020
The Brooklyn Nets are expected to rise in the East this season with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving returning from injury. The Nets hired a new coach in Steve Nash and have surrounded the NBA Hall of Famer with a star-studded coaching staff led by former Rockets head coach Mike D’Antoni and NBA star Amare Stoudemire.
The Nets have added Landry Shamet via trade and Jeff Green via free agency but the move that everyone is expecting is James Harden joining KD and Kyrie. The Houston Rockets star has requested to be traded and has reportedly listed Brooklyn as his preferred destination. However, the Rockets don’t seem to be in a hurry to deal Harden, and his backcourt mate Russell Westbrook, who are still under contract with the Rockets.
With or without Harden, online sportsbooks believe that the Nets would be the most likely team other than the Bucks to make the Finals next season. As it stands, a Nets vs Lakers matchup in the 2021 NBA Finals is the second-best scenario in the current oddsboards at +1100.
Clippers Are Still Lakers’ Top Threats
They’re back. pic.twitter.com/iZVZ9uLWTB
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) November 22, 2020
Out West, sportsbooks think that the L.A. Clippers are still the team that has the best chance of upending the Lakers in the conference. The Clippers were the preseason favorites to win the 2019-20 NBA title but they were unceremoniously booted out in the second round of the 2020 NBA playoffs after blowing a 3-1 lead against the Denver Nuggets.
The Clippers lost Montrezl Harrell, Landry Shamet, Rodney McGruder, and JaMychal Green so far in the current offseason but they have added two key players in Serge Ibaka and Luke Kennard. With a new head coach in Tyron Lue plus their superstars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George returning to run it back next season, the Clippers are primed for another run at the Finals.
Online sportsbooks have listed a Bucks vs Clippers battle as the third most probable Finals matchup for the 2021 season at +1200 and the highest without the Lakers. This isn’t surprising either as this pairing was the betting favorite to be the 2020 NBA Finals matchup right before the Disney bubble tournament began.