Here comes the pandemic payback. New Jersey online sports gamblers saw the 2019-2020 NBA season halt for several months and create a 2021 campaign that started and ended late. Now, they’re observing a record-fast betting turnaround.
It’s already opening night for the NBA’s 75th anniversary season, less than three months after the last campaign ended July 20. That’s when the Milwaukee Bucks won their first championship in 50 years.
And here are the Bucks and Brooklyn Nets, fittingly meeting in the first game of the season of tonight. They are two of the favorites to win it all.
The Philadelphia 76ers open their campaign Wednesday at the New Orleans Pelicans.
Plus, the New York Knicks host the Boston Celtics on Wednesday.
There’s also a Sixers-Nets battle Friday, in Philly. Can’t miss action right off the bat.
Here is a closer look at what the 2021-22 NBA betting picture is looking like as tipoff approaches.
Finding NBA betting values
Almost nothing separated the Sixers, Nets, and Bucks in the NBA Eastern Conference last year.
But there is plenty to separate them on the betting board now.
Brooklyn is +205 at DraftKings Sportsbook to capture the NBA title. Here are a few of the other top teams on the board:
- Lakers are +400
- Bucks are +900
- Warriors are +1100
The Sixers at +2000 are comparatively high.
In the Eastern Conference betting odds, the Nets are nearly unplayable.
They are +100 at DraftKings, a high premium for the task of having to win three playoff rounds.
If you’re looking elsewhere:
- Bucks are +390
- Sixers are +750
The Atlanta Hawks, who bumped the Sixers from the playoffs last year, are +1500.
Naming Eastern Conference finalists has good betting value too:
- Bucks vs. Nets +290
- Nets vs. Sixers +750
- Hawks vs. Nets +1300
And the Bucks vs. Hawks, which would be a rematch of last season, is +2500.
Will the Sixers win the Atlantic Division again?
So the 76ers odds for repeating as Atlantic Division champs is +350, which many would consider a good price.
The Nets odds can’t even be considered at -270 but the Sixers in this spot represent excellent value.
The Sixers took the division last year, earning the home-court edge all the way through the playoffs and the right to bypass the Nets and Bucks in the second round
Yes, they unexpectedly lost the second-round series to the Atlanta Hawks. But even if those best-laid plans were derailed again, the Sixers would pay well on the regular season.
Here are some NBA championship odds from Caesars Sportsbook:
- Nets +230
- Bucks +800
- Sixers +1800
- Knicks +8000
Switching over to MVP futures:
- Luka Doncic +450
- Kevin Durant +700
- Giannis Antetokounmpo +700
- Joel Embiid +750
If we look at regular-season wins, the Sixers’ number is 50.5. The over and under are both -110. They won 49 of 72 last year. Books expect a drop-off for them in this 82-game campaign.
The Nets come in at 56.5. Both sides are -110
The Knicks over under was 41.5 with both sides at -110. But they moved to 42.5 early Tuesday morning.
FanDuel Sportsbook has another way to play
FanDuel in NJ is offering bettors a refreshing new concept with the Sixers in a group of three other teams that do not include the Nets or Bucks.
Most regular-season wins:
- Sixers +230
- Miami Heat +270
- Dallas Mavericks +270
- Phoenix Suns +270
This would have been won by the Suns last year.
Knicks bettors may observe a tease, as they are -132 to make the playoffs compared to -150 elsewhere. That’s the grey area in which laying the juice may become playable.
NBA team overviews and hangover
Bettors may have difficulty handicapping when the Nets and Sixers will put their foot on the pedal. The teams have too much talent not to but often coast through points of the regular season.
And there are issues casting a shadow on each team.
What is the price of turmoil regarding Ben Simmons?
It gets more expensive by the day. The Sixers suspended All-Star Ben Simmons for one game as a result of “conduct detrimental to the team” Wednesday morning. This means Simmons won’t play in the opener.
For Simmons, the fines accrued from late reporting and not wanting to play for the Sixers has exceeded $1 million.
For the Sixers, Simmons is expensive either as a toxic team presence or as a declining trade prospect.
The books projecting the Sixers to win six games less than the Nets, who they finished ahead of last year, reflect the Simmons saga.
Both sides suffer from the Sixers not handling a thorny situation well before camp opened.
Simmons averaged 14.3 points per game, 8.1 rebounds, and more than 7 assists last year. He’s also an excellent defender.
Caesars lists him as the second choice of +400 to win the defensive player of the year, second to Rudy Gobert.
On the flip side, he’s also a career-long weak free throw shooter, at 61% And he was only 34% in the playoffs, costing the Sixers dearly in big games.
Sixers coach Doc Rivers should have taken responsibility for the team not being prepared to play the Hawks. Simmons didn’t blow a critical 26-point, second-half lead in Game 5 by himself.
Embiid was also shooting from the outside rather than getting to the line. The team shot selection was awful. The defense collapsed. The team choked and looked rudderless.
Simmons’ shortcomings were easier to measure and more agonizing to watch on the high profile free-throw line.
Had Rivers and Embiid shouldered their share of the blame, the Sixers could have potentially wiped the slate clean before this year.
They didn’t. He sulked, failed to report, got fined etc. And the situation festers.
Brooklyn Nets and Planet Kyrie
Kyrie Irving won’t get vaccinated and is away from the Nets, not getting paid for home games missed. The team is moving on without the All-Star point guard until he gets the shot rather than allowing him to be a part-time player.
Irving is not allowed to play in games in New York City due to the city’s COVID-19 ordinances, which require vaccinations for public facilities like the Barclays Center.
This isn’t the first time Irving’s reluctance to get vaccinated has occurred. In January, he was fined $50,000 and lost more than $800,000 for attending a family party without a mask and subsequently missing several games.
But nearly $1 million fines to him against an annual salary of $34 million is not enough for him to move, or get the shot.
The Nets haven’t even expressed concern. They figure he’ll simply be back at some point. Irving played in only 54 of the team’s 72 games last year. He averaged nearly 27 points per game along with six assists and nearly five rebounds.
The team takes a long view: just be ready for the playoffs.
Dreamstime stock photo