The 2020-21 NBA season officially becomes around the corner amid Media Week in early December and the countdown to the Dec. 22 tipoff. All teams are scheduled for 72 games.
This sparks NBA betting excitement via NJ sportsbook apps. The Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets, popular teams in the Garden State betting corridors, are both strong.
But before we take a closer look at the NBA odds for these two franchises, it’s important to note that the upcoming season is structured slightly differently. During a normal year, the NBA regular season would have already started.
The wait is almost over
The late start is the result of the NBA Finals taking place in October as a result of the global pandemic.
So here are the key dates:
- Dec. 6: Group player workouts begin
- Dec. 11-19: Preseason games
- Dec. 22-March 4: First half of regular season
- March 5-10: All-Star break (All-Star Weekend postponed)
- March 11-May 16: Second half of regular season
- May 18-21: Play-in-tournament
- May 22-July 22: 2021 NBA Playoffs
Until the regular season tips off, one of the hot NJ sports betting conversations is who is the favorite to win the NBA title? That honor currently belongs to the Los Angeles Lakers, the defending NBA champs.
Here are the current 76ers odds in regards to the current NBA futures:
Philadelphia 76ers + Brooklyn Nets overview
The Sixers were the best home team in the league last season, with a 29-2 record. Unlike the neutral site of the summer restart, league action is returning to each team’s home court. (The exception is the Toronto Raptors, who, because of Canadian travel restrictions, will open their season in Tampa.)
Philadelphia retooled with new head of operations Daryl Morey, new head coach Doc Rivers, former Lakers Danny Green and Dwight Howard, and former Dallas Mavericks guard Seth Curry. The Sixers’ off-season moves sought to lure shooting guards to complement big men Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
The Nets flaunt the actual presence of megastars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, who were lost to the team with injuries last year. Along with new coach Steve Nash, the Nets have extensive expectations baked into their futures line.
Maybe too much?
The Nets have some of the lowest championship odds across the major NJ sportsbooks, riding the backs of two players who are injury prone. Nonetheless, Durant and Irving will be exciting to watch and wager on when they play.
Here are a few of the Brooklyn highlights via DraftKings Sportsbook:
- Current favorite to win the Atlantic Division at +125
- Second-best odds to win the Eastern Conference at +275
- +600 to win NBA title behind the Lakers (+300), Los Angeles Clippers and Milwaukee Bucks (both +550)
What will the schedules look like?
The first half is in the process of being finalized and soon be official. Expect teams to reduce travel and possibly play consecutive games against opponents at one location, just as baseball does.
Whether fans will be allowed will be determined on a team-by-team basis, but the bettors are always allowed in via their apps, tablets and entry to brick-and-mortar sportsbooks.
Expect the league to move quite cautiously in this area.
For now, only preseason games are official.
🚨 SCHEDULE UPDATE 🚨
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) November 30, 2020
NBA forecast for the new-look Sixers
Rivers won a championship with the Boston Celtics in 2008 and has been an NBA Coach of the Year. He coached the Clippers last year, and they were expected to contend for a spot in the NBA Finals but blew a 3-1 lead and an early playoff series to the Denver Nuggets.
In Philadelphia, he will have a team with better chemistry than last season.
Morey added shooting guards Green and Curry to blend with Embiid and Simmons. Al Horford, who did not fit well with Embiid, was traded to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
For good measure, Howard was brought in as a backup center.
Like Green, Curry’s best skill is his shooting. He’s a 44.3% shooter from long distance in his career, and he’s also a capable ball handler.
He should also play well for the coach. Rivers is his father-in-law. (There are no prop bets for this, but Rivers was the first coach to ever coach his own son and thus may be the only one who has coached both a son and son-in-law.)
Philadelphia continued its backcourt emphasis in the early part of the NBA draft with Tyrese Maxey. The second pick, along with Josh Richardson, was traded to the Mavericks for Curry.
Philadelphia finished 43-30 last year and is expected to reach the same victory total this year.
Nets are a different NBA story
What Brooklyn might do has sent volatility through the futures books since the summer.
When the NBA restart was announced in the summer, Caesars sportsbook lowered the Nets’ championship odds from 750-1 to 60-1, just in case the rumored return of Durant and Irving materialized. It did not, but that possibility reflects the books’ respect for this duo.
The Nets have a substantial premium this year too, with a projection of 10 more victories.
Durant has been an NBA MVP, two-time champion and potentially explosive scorer. But he hasn’t played since Game 5 of the 2019 NBA Finals, when he went down with a ruptured Achilles.
Surgery followed, and the Nets gambled on him anyway, signing him with the knowledge that he would miss a season.
Will Durant, whose career average of 27 points, seven rebounds and four assists is impressive, regain old form?
Irving, with a career average of 22 points per game, missed most of last season with a shoulder injury that required surgery. He has played in 70 or more games in a full season just three times over eight 82-game campaigns.
The Nets will probably come storming out of the gate, but can their two stars stay healthy?
Nets represented in MVP futures, too
Since we’re talking about players, this is a good time to take a look at the MVP futures.
DraftKings Sportsbook has Milwaukee Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the pack at +450. Luka Doncic of the Mavs has matching odds.
Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors is +800 along with Anthony Davis of the Lakers.
LeBron James is +900. And he just signed a two-year, $85 million extension with the Lakers.
Durant is a sizable return at +1500.
Same with Embiid at +4000.
Looking at NBA win percentages
DraftKings has a win-percentage prop in case the full schedule of 72 games is not realized.
The Sixers are 59.5%, putting this over-under at 42. 5.
The Nets are at 62.5% or 45 victories.
The Milwaukee Bucks have the highest percentage, 68.5, denoting 49 as the over-under win total.
Surprisingly, no teams are expected to be dominant. The Bucks, Lakers, Clippers and Raptors all surpassed this percentage last year.
More importantly, we are weeks away from finding out which of the NBA teams will get off to a winning start.