The Brooklyn Nets make everything move.
When Caesars Sportsbook first posted them as +375 co-favorites with the Los Angeles Lakers to win the 2022 NBA title, New Jersey bettors pounced.
Within hours, as if they’d stolen an inbounds pass, gamblers made the Nets the +225 clear chalk. The Nets remain there with the Lakers at +400, the world champion Milwaukee Bucks are +800 and the Philadelphia 76ers odds are +1600.
Call this the table-setter for the 2021-22 NBA betting season as opening night is Oct. 19.
Brooklyn Nets 2021-22 win totals compared to other NBA favorites
Last week, when Caesars listed the Nets odds at 54.5 projected season wins, the highest in the NBA, it was another book, not bettors, that moved.
DraftKings Sportsbook put its number at 56.5, a significant spread of two games, as the season adjusts back to a full 82-game season for the first time in three years.
After the Nets, the Bucks are next at 54.5.
The Los Angeles Lakers are 52.5.
The Sixers are 50.5.
And the New York Knicks, a Cinderella story team that made the 2021 playoffs, are 41.5. This is a staunch rise from 22 last year, pro-rated to 25.5 had there been a full campaign.
The playoffs will begin on April 16, 2022. The finals are set to begin on June 2, with a potential Game 7 scheduled for June 19.
NJ online sportsbook heads share thoughts on Brooklyn Nets
The Nets have been a marquee topic for sportsbook operators at DraftKings and Caesars, from different perspectives.
Johnny Avello, the director of race and sportsbook operations for DraftKings, cited a handicapping monkey wrench for 2022-win projections – playing time.
In the compressed NBA schedule last year, teams often coasted during the regular season. They preserved star performers for the playoffs.
The Nets practically invented the trend. Their $115 million annual-salaried trio of James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant played only 58% of the team’s regular-season games.
Joel Embiid also missed large chunks of time with the Sixers. LeBron James went down and was out for so long that the Lakers imploded.
The NBA has notably de-emphasized the regular season and that has worked itself onto the betting board.
“This has been the trend for the last couple of seasons in the NBA,” Avello told PlayNJ.com. “You look at the Nets and their players get hurt a lot. Rarely will you see all three superstars on their team in the game at the same time.
Then there is the unknown: “Are you going to get a full effort from these guys every night?”
Avello added that factor is what makes it tough to handicap.
“As oddsmakers, you might have to put up a total that’s a little less than what you might normally expect.
“When you see the Nets, you might initially be thinking this team can win 62 or 63 games,” Avello said. “That’s what it would probably be if they played a full lineup all the time.
“With the Nets at over 56.5 regular-season wins on an 82-game schedule at -115 is a cheap price and we are seeing some money on the over already,” Avello said.
DraftKings has a number that will entice “under” bettors.
Nets bettors hoping for a luckier bounce
Caesars is a target for the “over.” But the two-game gap between the books on this bet will probably tighten up as volume increases.
Nick Bogdanovich, the director of U.S. trading for William Hill, which has since been rebranded as Caesars Sportsbook in NJ, said the Nets had received every unlucky bounce last year. That included injuries to key players and Harden’s apparent series-winning three-pointer against the Bucks being ruled a two-pointer that forced overtime (by about two inches) And the Nets lost in the extra session.
Bogdanovich believes the Nets will take the most tickets and money of any NBA team when the season opens, provided they suffer no injuries. He also thinks the Nets gained valuable seasoning under new coach Steve Nash last season and will improve.
Nash is one of the favorites on the Caesars Sportsbook board for NBA Coach of the Year honors at +900. Erik Spoelstra of the Miami Heat has the same odds. Good value on both.
And what about those Sixers?
Betting odds will be impacted by the still-unresolved Ben Simmons saga.
After his poor play contributed to the Sixers’ post-season flop, a second-round loss to the Atlanta Hawks as heavy favorites, both Simmons and the Sixers want a trade, but nothing has materialized.
Reports have circulated that Simmons won’t even report to training camp. The Sixers scuffle to find a fit because potential suitors know the atmosphere between Simmons and the Sixers is toxic. That gives other teams leverage.
Once this is settled, the Sixers’ odds should move slightly in either direction.
In the meantime, Philadelphia added Andre Drummond and Georges Niang in free agency, retained Danny Green and Furkan Korkmaz, and signed Embiid to a max extension.
Other NBA odds of note
BetMGM put up an intriguing prop regarding the two NBA finalists.
The shortest is the Nets and Lakers at +375.
The Nets and Phoenix Suns are +1400.
The Bucks and the Suns, who met in the 2021 finals, are +4000. This is a rich betting opportunity because big-market teams like the Nets and Lakers are heavily bet. If they flop, as in 2021, payoffs are enormous.
The Nets and Bucks, fittingly, meet on Oct. 19.
Lines have already been set.
At Caesars, It’s a pick-em. Each side is -110. The over-under 240.5.
Caesars has Embiid as +650 to win the league MVP. (Embiid is +700 at DraftKings)
The Sixers open their season Oct. 20 at the New Orleans Pelicans.
The Knicks host the Boston Celtics Oct. 20 in their opener.