Each year prior to the new NBA season, fans and bettors alike search feverishly on the internet for previews and predictions columns that reveal which franchises are likely to dominate. Of those publications, it’s ESPN’s annual report that is amongst the most sought-after – and in 2021-22, they are predicting a Brooklyn Nets monopoly on the NBA Championship title.
What is interesting is that the sportsbooks only partially agree with their verdict. Brooklyn are the favorites to prevail in both the Eastern Conference and the NBA Finals, but it’s Dallas Mavericks star Luka Doncic who is most prominent in that MVP market. Even more curiously, the Nets are a slight underdog in their season’s opener against the Milwaukee Bucks in the betting on the NBA games with Betfair.
So there is some disparity in the views of those in the know, although ESPN’s season preview and leading sportsbook odds are typically excellent starting points in determining how the new campaign might pan out. If they are correct in 2021-22, this is what NBA fans can expect.
All-Star Power in the West
While the Nets have compiled a star-studded roster in the East, it’s the LA Lakers that have put together a squad of elite talent in the Western Conference. We’ll have to wait and see if LeBron James is still the ‘King’ or not, but if he plays anywhere near his best regularly then the Lakers will be tough to beat – especially when you consider the supporting cast they have available.
Anthony Davis is arguably the best defensive player in the NBA, and then when you consider that Frank Vogel will also now have the talents of Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony to call upon, the signs are very promising indeed. ESPN and the sportsbooks agree that the Lakers should dominate the Western Conference, and you will find that most NBA betting tips
Beasts in the East
Even though it is a high-quality competition, the experts are predicting a landslide for Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference. ESPN and the sportsbooks agree on that – making Durant and co their +140 favorites for success in the East, with Milwaukee Bucks (+400) and Philadelphia 76ers (+900) next best at the time of writing.
That success is likely to be replicated in the NBA Finals too. The Nets are priced at +280 to win what would be their first-ever championship – and their first Finals appearance in nearly two decades. Otherwise, it’s the Bucks, LA Lakers or Golden State Warriors who the experts predict will come out on top in the last dance.
A Lack of Consensus
When it comes to discussing who will win the 2021-22 MVP Award, this is where things get interesting.
ESPN’s cast of experts have given the nod to Durant, but the sportsbooks believe that Doncic is the man most likely too – can his Mavericks teammates up their game and give him the support required? The betting floor refuses to rule out two-time MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo either, while Joel Embiid is another who features prominently.
Interestingly, both ESPN and the bookies agree that the reigning MVP – Nikola Jokic – is unlikely to retain his title. When the action gets underway on October 20, we’ll have a better understanding of how near the money these predictions are.