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How the public is betting championship odds heading into 2021 NBA playoffs

We break down how the public is betting on teams to win it all in the 2021 NBA playoffs.

Can Golden State upset Los Angeles (L)?

As the NBA playoffs get underway with the play-in tournament, let’s take a look how bettors see the postseason playing out. Here are the teams the betting public sees lifting the 2020-21 NBA championship.

While the majority of money is coming in on the Brooklyn Nets, the Los Angeles Lakers have received the larger percentage of bets. Bettors are feeling good about LeBron James’ health and are confident Los Angeles will get out of the play-in tournament. The Nets are heavily favored to win the whole thing behind Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving. Those two teams are clearly ahead of the field.

The Philadelphia 76ers are in a tier of their own when it comes to public confidence. Philadelphia has the No. 1 seed in the East, but is only seeing nine percent of total championship bets. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons appear to be jelling under Doc Rivers, but the 76ers have an underwhelming history in recent playoff series. At +700, the 76ers could offer some value if bettors have questions about the Nets. Harden’s injury situation in particular is worth monitoring.

The remaining teams receiving championship bets are getting the same level of confidence. The two surprise squads in this tier are the Los Angeles Clippers and the Milwaukee Bucks. While many won’t be able to erase LA’s brutal 3-1 collapse in last season’s bubble, the Clippers have two superstars and something to prove. At +500, they offer enough value for a team that is already officially in the postseason and won’t be seeing the Lakers until deep in the playoffs. The Bucks have their own star trio with Giannis Antetokounmpo, Jrue Holiday and Khris Middleton. It’s not quite like Brooklyn’s group, but the talent and supporting cast is there. At +800, the Bucks might be a bargain bet.

The Denver Nuggets are receiving significant volume for a team unlikely to make real noise, but the +3000 number likely has a lot to do with that. Nikola Jokic is the likely league MVP and Denver has enough around him to put together a run. If bettors want to take a shot in the dark, the Nuggets offer a higher payoff than the Clippers and Bucks. There are a small percentage of bets coming in on the Golden State Warriors and Boston Celtics, but these teams might not make it out of the play-in round. The Utah Jazz and Phoenix Suns are the top two seeds in the West, but lack the star power of the Lakers and Clippers to be considered decent bets. Utah could also be without Donovan Mitchell.

The Nets and Lakers are getting the majority of attention when it comes to championship bets, but the Bucks, 76ers and Clippers could offer bettors hesitant to pick heavy favorites some value this postseason.

NBA Championship Betting Splits

Handle Rank Team Odds % of Handle % of Bets
Handle Rank Team Odds % of Handle % of Bets
1 BKN Nets +250 37% 23%
2 LA Lakers +400 23% 32%
3 PHI 76ers +700 11% 9%
4 DEN Nuggets +3000 6% 5%
5 UTA Jazz +700 5% 5%
6 LA Clippers +500 3% 4%
7 PHO Suns +1800 3% 3%
8 MIL Bucks +800 3% 3%
9 GS Warriors +10000 1% 2%
10 BOS Celtics +10000 1% 2%

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