Milwaukee and Atlanta probably won’t meet in the Eastern Conference Finals again this season, but they’ve both made notable jumps in recent weeks when it comes to the NBA championship odds picture.
It’s a completely different story on the other side of the country, where the Los Angeles Lakers continue their slide down the totem pole as Phoenix and Golden State stake their respective claims as the best out West. With nearly a third of the season in the books, we’ve highlighted a few of the teams rising up – and falling down – the NBA futures odds board.
Milwaukee Bucks Futures Odds
(Current Odds to win the NBA Championship: +800, DraftKings)
The defending champion Milwaukee Bucks weren’t the betting favorites when the season began, and they still only have the third-best odds to win the NBA championship despite going 13-6 since November 1.
That said, in terms of value, Milwaukee may be the best bet to bring home the Larry O’Brien Trophy. Giannis Antetokounmpo is once again playing at an MVP level, and the Bucks have already notched 20-plus point victories over both the Brooklyn Nets and the Miami Heat. The schedule makers did Milwaukee a solid as the rest of the month is filled with games against teams – Houston, Orlando, and New Orleans – already figuring out who they’ll send to the league’s annual draft lottery.
Only one man on the roster – Pat Connaughton – has played in every game for the Bucks so far, and the constantly evolving early-season lineups led to the team’s 6-8 start. Milwaukee is as healthy now as they’ve been at any point this year: Donte DiVincenzo (ankle) is nearing a return as he works out with the team’s G-League affiliate, but center Brook Lopez will be on the shelf indefinitely following back surgery.
Atlanta Hawks Futures Odds
(Current Odds to win the NBA Championship: +4500, DraftKings)
Atlanta’s seven-game winning streak – which included victories over the Bucks and the Charlotte Hornets – to close out November was impressive, but that run came after a 4-9 start to the season. The Hawks’ current odds of winning an NBA title have improved over the past month, but are slightly worse than they were at the start of the year (+3500).
Among Eastern Conference teams, Atlanta has the sixth-best odds to make the NBA Finals despite finishing just two games short of that point this past summer. The public clearly thinks that run was an outlier, and some of the numbers back that up. In 2020-21, the Hawks ranked in among the top half of the league in both points per game and points allowed. Their offense hasn’t missed much of a beat this season, but Atlanta’s Defensive Rating of 111.8 is the fifth-worst mark in the league.
The Atlanta Hawks should be able to pad their win total with games against the Houston Rockets and Orlando Magic over the next couple of weeks. After that, the road gets significantly tougher as Atlanta kicks off a stretch where they’ll play eight of nine games away from State Farm Arena.
Los Angeles Lakers Futures Odds
(Current Odds to win the NBA Championship: +1400, PointsBet)
At the start of the 2021-22 campaign, the Los Angeles Lakers were +400 to win the NBA championship. These days, you can find them at +1400 if you look hard enough, though most sportsbooks have them in the +1000/+1100 range. Regardless of what the number is, there’s some decent value to be had if you believe the breakthrough will eventually come for Frank Vogel and his squad.
The Lakers have had a season’s worth of storylines in just two months: LeBron James’ injury paired with his false-positive COVID diagnosis, Anthony Davis and Dwight Howard getting into a scuffle two games into the year, and Russell Westbrook’s not-so-ideal integration into the team’s offense. LA has also given up what feels like a season’s worth of points in two months as they’ve allowed opponents to score an astonishing 113 PPG.
The injury report is finally beginning to thin out, and the Lakers have won three out of their last four outings as they’ve rounded into form. 16 of their 25 games so far have been at home, so they’ll have their work cut out for them as they attempt to climb the Western Conference standings.
San Antonio Spurs Futures Odds
(Current Odds to win the NBA Championship: +50000, BetMGM)
November wasn’t kind to the San Antonio Spurs: A 4-9 record for the month leaves them sitting at a disappointing 8-15 on the season. Fortunately for them, they can start digging out of that hole during the four-game homestand that begins tonight. But once that’s done, San Antonio is facing a brutal stretch where they’ll play 11 out of 14 games on the road.
Expectations weren’t high for Gregg Popovich’s team heading into the season as the Spurs had odds of +25000 to win the title this year. After losing 13 of their first 17 games, San Antonio continued to slide down the futures board as their fans began looking towards the 2022 NBA Draft.
The Spurs’ record is a bit deceiving for a team that boasts seven players who average at least 10 points per game. They’ve beaten both the Bucks and the Warriors, and they have two four-point losses to the Suns. Calling them a “bad” team would be a complete disservice to their talent and effor, but they’re one or two veteran pieces away from contending in a loaded Western Conference.
Dallas Mavericks Futures Odds
(Current Odds to win the NBA Championship: +5000, PointsBet)
Between injuries and the general state of flux that comes with bringing on a new head coach, the Dallas Mavericks simply haven’t been able to put it all together this season. With Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis in and out of the lineup due to injuries, Dallas has sunk like a rock on the NBA futures board, and can be found with championship odds as long as +5000.
The Mavericks haven’t managed to string together a two-game winning streak since November 15 – since then, they’ve gone just 2-8, and are barely hanging on to a playoff spot. Back in October, a number of sportsbooks had them projected at 48.5 wins, and at 11-12, they’ll likely fall short of that goal.
Dallas’ schedule is pretty light over the next couple of weeks, but Christmas Week tilts with both the Milwaukee Bucks and Utah Jazz will serve as a true measuring stick for a team that continues to struggle on the offensive end. Entering Thursday, the Mavericks are averaging just 104.3 points per game, the sixth-worst mark in the league.