2021 NBA Season Preview

Despite the previous NBA season concluding in mid-October and desire from some of the players to push the season start date to January or February to allow for extra rest, the league has decided to tip off on December 22 as much of the revenue is derived from the Christmas Day game slate. With the season starting right around the corner on a reduced 72 game schedule, fans are getting excited for on-court action, which will be a much-needed change of pace from the offseason, which has featured a plethora of off-court drama in recent weeks. 

With ‘player empowerment’ becoming a regular part of the NBA language of late, high-profile offseason moves are becoming increasingly common. Players aren’t shy to ask for trades if they don’t believe they fit with their current environment, which has been evidenced by the myriad of stars swapping out their old uniforms for new ones this offseason. James Harden has been the grandest example of a disgruntled superstar this time around, and the Rockets trading Russell Westbrook to Washington for John Wall did little to alleviate his concerns. He hasn’t been subtle about his wish to get traded elsewhere, but whether Houston will trade him (and where) remains to be seen. 

Some of the other important moves to note are Chris Paul joining Devin Booker in Phoenix, and Gordon Hayward leaving the Celtics for the Charlotte Hornets where he hopes to play a bigger role than Boston’s stacked roster allowed. On the injury front, Klay Thompson has suffered a devastating torn Achilles injury and will be out for the second season in a row, dealing a massive blow to the Golden State Warriors. On the other hand, the Brooklyn Nets will be getting Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving back on the hardwood following an injury-riddled season for the two superstars, propelling them to the top of the favourites discussion for the title according to NBA betting odds. Here are the teams most likely to win it all, or make some noise in 2021.

Top 4 Teams to Win NBA Title in 2021

Los Angeles Lakers +210 NBA Odds

Having easily rolled to the 2020 title, it would’ve been understandable had the Lakers rested on their laurels in the offseason. Unfortunately for the 29 other teams in the league, that wasn’t the case. LA bolstered their roster by adding capable contributors, including the likes of Dennis Schröder, Montrezl Harrell, Wesley Matthews and Marc Gasol. LeBron James and Anthony Davis are poised for another excellent season, which makes them a top title contender with +210 NBA 2021 odds. 

Brooklyn Nets +550 NBA Odds

Brooklyn’s NBA 2021 betting odds of +550 are mostly a reflection of the availability of their two superstars for the upcoming season – Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. The supporting cast is nothing to sneeze at either, with many around the league impressed with the play of Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Joe Harris. Should everyone remain healthy, the Nets will be a force in the 2020-21 NBA season.  

Milwaukee Bucks +600 NBA Odds

Undoubtedly one of the best regular season teams over the past few years, the Bucks’ problem has been the postseason, with 2020 being no exception. The Bucks were upset in a crushing 4-1 defeat at the hands of the Miami Heat in the second round of the 2020 playoffs. Back-to-back league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, along with coach Mike Budenholzer, need a better strategy to hurdle over their playoff barrier. The undeniable talent is still sufficient for the Bucks to remain one of the top contenders at +600. 

Los Angeles Clippers +600 NBA Odds

Following a blown 3-1 lead over the Denver Nuggets in the 2020 playoffs in which Kawhi Leonard and Paul George were far from excellent, Doc Rivers left LA to become the new head coach of the Philadelphia 76ers. Tyronn Lue has taken over the reins in Clipper-land, so players may need to adjust to a new leadership style.  

Top 2 Underdogs to Win NBA Title in 2021

Boston Celtics +1600 NBA Odds

Thanks to notable contributions by Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, and Jaylen Brown, the Celtics had an impressive 2019-20 season. Unfortunately for them and their fans, their best just wasn’t good enough against a Miami team that caught fire in the playoffs and overcame Boston in a competitive 4-2 Eastern Conference Finals series. Head coach Brad Stevens and company are expected to be a tough out once again in 2020-21. 

Philadelphia 76ers +1700 NBA Odds

The 76ers are hoping that a coaching change will solve their playoff woes of years past. Doc Rivers will be motivated to move past the disappointing 3-1 blown lead as the Clippers’ skipper in his new station. It’ll be interesting to see if he can solve the Simmons/Embiid riddle by fostering a cohesive game plan on offense that’ll accentuate their individual strengths. 

Top 3 Sleeper Teams to Win the NBA Title in 2021

Washington Wizards +10000 NBA Odds

Russell Westbrook is an instant spark on the offensive side of the ball, and that change alone should make the Wizards an interesting proposition this upcoming season. Pair that with the supreme talent of Bradley Beal, and Washington just may scratch and claw their way to a successful campaign. 

Minnesota Timberwolves +20000 NBA Odds

While the 2020 NBA draft isn’t believed to include any franchise-defining prospects (at least so far), a No. 1 pick is a No. 1 pick and Anthony Edwards will be looking to prove his worth in the NBA from Day 1. With players such as Karl-Anthony Townes and D’Angelo Russell, this roster isn’t bereft of talent and is worth your attention.  

Charlotte Hornets +30000 NBA Odds

While the Hornets are a long shot at +30000 NBA title odds, they should make for a compelling watch with Gordon Hayward joining the squad along with the third-overall pick in this year’s draft, LaMelo Ball, who’s a passing wizard.