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NBA Conference and Division Odds for the 2020-21 Season

| December 19, 2020 5:00 am PDT
NBA Division and Conference Odds for 2020-21

Is this just the Los Angeles Lakers’ world, and we’re all living in it? LeBron James and co. are back to aim for a repeat after winning in Orlando’s bubble, and most NBA betting sites project them to do just that.

The Milwaukee Bucks just re-signed Giannis Antetokounmpo to a massive contract, though, while the Brooklyn Nets are ready to crack skulls with Kevin Durant returning to the court.

Back in the Western Conference, the Lake Show still has to worry about the “other” Los Angeles-based team, and the rise of Luka Doncic can’t be denied.

It isn’t just about winning the NBA Finals, though. Not for sports bettors, at least.

There is serious value to be had – and money to be made – in betting on NBA division and conference winners. To get a look at each betting market prior to the start of the 2020-21 NBA season, let’s check out the most recent odds for all NBA divisions and both conferences.

Atlantic Division Odds

Brooklyn Nets+175
Boston Celtics+275
Philadelphia 76ers+275
Toronto Raptors+400
New York Knicks+25000

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving officially start work together on December 22nd, and they join a team that basically made the playoffs last year without them.

One look at the 2020-21 Brooklyn Nets roster, and it’s pretty easy to see they have the best team. On paper, at least.

Brooklyn is the clear favorite to win this division, but bettors need to consider two things; this division is loaded, and trusting both KD and Irving to stay healthy is a bit of a gamble.

Philly brought in Doc Rivers to take a talented team to the next level. Boston and Toronto arguably got a little worse, but are the Nets for sure better than any of these teams? I’d say so, but the margin for error appears to be pretty thin here.

Brooklyn is the best bet here, but you can chase value with any of those other three teams. Just don’t bet on the Knicks.

Central Division Odds

Milwaukee Bucks-4000
Indiana Pacers+1000
Chicago Bulls+5000
Detroit Pistons+8000
Cleveland Cavaliers+15000

The Bucks weren’t just the best team in a weak Central Division the past two years. At least during the regular season, they’ve been the best team in the league.

After a disappointing second-round exit in the bubble this past season, Milwaukee got aggressive. The team traded for Jrue Holiday and updated their supporting cast.

It was enough to convince a loyal Giannis Antetokounmpo to sign on the dotted line.

There could be some mild growing pains for a team with so many new faces, but the Bucks are the cream of the crop here, and it’s not particularly close.

Indiana is the only real threat here. The Indiana Pacers 2020-21 coaching staff is promising, but projecting them for anything more than second-place feels like a reach.

Chicago added Bill Donovan and could be on the upward trend, but they’re still too young to trust. Detroit is in the midst of a full-blown rebuild, and Cleveland has the least talent of anyone in this division.

Bettors get nothing back for going with the Bucks, but it’s probably the only realistic bet to make in this division.

Southeast Division Odds

Miami Heat-270
Atlanta Hawks+550
Washington Wizards+650
Orlando Magic+1600
Charlotte Hornets+3300

Jimmy Butler led the Heat to the NBA Finals in his first year with the team last season.

Life is good for the folks in South Beach, as the team also discovered a buddy player in Tyler Herro, who is a threat to be among the top NBA players ready to break out in 2020-21.

Miami has some of the best coaching, raw talent, and depth in this conference, and it’d take a litany of issues to take them down to the point where anyone else can win the Southeast.

The Heat at -270 doesn’t feel like a value bet, but it really is.

That said, if you want a bit more meat on the bone, don’t sleep on the Hawks or Wizards. Trae Young heads a really fun Atlanta bunch that added some really nice pieces this offseason.

The Hawks could instantly be a problem, while Russell Westbrook could provide a huge lift for a Washington squad that was quietly one of the best offensive teams in basketball a year ago.

Orlando plays well enough to hang around, but a division win isn’t very likely. Charlotte made noise by signing Gordon Hayward, but it’s doubtful that one big move will carry them to the division crown – let alone a playoff appearance.

Northwest Division Odds

Denver Nuggets+105
Utah Jazz+210
Portland Trail Blazers+300
Minnesota Timberwolves+2500
Oklahoma City Thunder+15000

This is easily one of the tougher divisions for betting websites to price in past seasons. It isn’t the case going into the 2020-21 NBA season, as just three teams have a real shot.

Minnesota is all about progressing their young players and simply trying to compete. OKC has officially given up and will settle for whatever happens as they look to the future with all of their assets.

Denver is the obvious favorite, as they won this division in each of the last two seasons, and last year got to the Western Conference Finals. They’re probably winning again, which makes their +105 price tag pretty tempting.

Don’t ignore the Jazz or Blazers, though.

Portland was quite formidable in the bubble last year but simply ran out of gas. Offensively, they can mess with anyone, and they have a full season of a healthy Jusuf Nurkic, as well as Robert Covington locking down as a defender.

Portland is very dangerous here, and Utah has a nice mixture of offense and defense. They’ll also be getting lethal perimeter scorer Bojan Bogdanovic back.

Pacific Division Odds

Los Angeles Lakers-120
Los Angeles Clippers+160
Golden State Warriors+900
Phoenix Suns+1400
Sacramento Kings+15000

The L.A.-based teams are certainly going to be more concerned with winning a title this year, so while they’re the obvious choices to win the Pacific Division, bettors should think outside the box.

Kawhi Leonard has never been a stranger to load management, while the Lake Show could end up sitting their stars a ton this year, having won the championship mere months ago.

The Lakers probably still stand strong as the favorites, and if so, their -120 odds are plenty fine to target.

But the Suns are on the rise.

Chris Paul joins a team that played fantastic ball in the bubble, and Phoenix has the talent in place to be special. There’s even the Dubs, who are mostly healthy and could shock with guys like Kelly Oubre Jr., Andrew Wiggins, and rookie James Wiseman potentially filling out key roles.

Of course, the loss of Klay Thompson likely curbs their upside here.

Sacramento has loads of talent, but the coaching and consistency just aren’t there. A fringe playoff team? Sure, but a division winner, they are not.

It’s likely Lakers or bust here, but the Pacific Division is still one to take a second to think about this year.

Southwest Division Odds

Dallas Mavericks-185
Houston Rockets+425
New Orleans Pelicans+500
Memphis Grizzlies+1400
San Antonio Spurs+3300

This appears to be the Mavs’ division to lose, especially if we take a big picture view of the 2020-21 NBA season.

Houston is an amazing value if everything breaks just right, of course.

Does James Harden stay in town? Will he be motivated and buy into Stephen Silas’ system? Will John Wall and DeMarcus Cousins stay healthy and push this team to the next level?

Will Harden and the new GM ever talk?

Yeah, it’s bleak, but that’s kind of the point.

None of that can be known just yet, which makes the Rockets quite the wild card, and simultaneously a really fun value bet at +425.

No other team in this division really stands out. The Pelicans added a good defensive-minded coach in Stan Van Gundy, but his first year on the job won’t be without its bumps and bruises.

New Orleans plays fast and fun, but they’re also young and inexperienced. The team also lost veteran leaders in Jrue Holiday and Derrick Favors, so a major leap is not a lock.

Memphis was a fringe playoff team last year, but they also lack experience and much star power outside of Ja Morant. The Spurs are a tad sneaky at this crazy +3300 price over at BetOnline, if only because of their coaching history.

San Antonio is said to be adapting to the new way of the league, and if they can do it successfully, perhaps there’s merit in throwing caution to the wind and banking on a bounce-back.

But the Rockets appear to be in turmoil, and Luka Doncic became a legit NBA MVP candidate in the span of two years. Dallas winning this division is probably the knee-jerk (and correct) call.

Eastern Conference Odds

The bottom portion of these odds can safely be ignored. The NBA just doesn’t have weird meteoric rises out of nowhere like you see in the NFL, MLB, and NHL.

Bettors have a good grasp of which teams could make some noise, but there aren’t many in the Eastern Conference that would shock you. Washington and Atlanta both got better and have some star power, so if you want to go dumpster diving, that’s about where you’d start.

More realistically, the path to the 2021 NBA Finals goes through Milwaukee or Brooklyn.

I personally picked the Nets to get to the Finals prior to the preseason picking up, and considering they give you a bit more value, that feels like a good spot to stick.

Milwaukee is obviously a valid favorite, as they have perhaps the most physically gifted player in all of basketball. To a slightly lesser extent, bettors can also consider the Heat, Celtics, Sixers, and Raptors.

Western Conference Odds

Much like the Eastern Conference, the road to the 2021 NBA Finals probably comes down to two teams when you look at the Western Conference.

It didn’t happen in the bubble last season, but my guess is NBA fans finally get that Lakers vs. Clippers battle.

King James and co. are going for a repeat and will probably get it, which obviously makes them the favorite and best overall bet.

You can still entertain value, of course. Kawhi Leonard and co. are plenty viable as the top contender at +325, while the ascension of Luka makes the Mavs a very alluring +1000 bet.

Denver got to the WCF last year, so people shouldn’t completely dismiss them, while the Suns could be that rare team that experiences a major leap now that a veteran leader like Chris Paul is in town.

Don’t forget about the Warriors, either. The loss of Klay Thompson probably keeps them from legit title contention, but a healthy Stephen Curry is tough to write off.

Oh, and the Rockets at +3300 isn’t such a waste of time, either. In theory, a bought-in Harden joined with healthy and effective versions of Wall and Cousins could be a tough out come playoff time.

Summary

All roads probably lead to some combination of the Bucks, Nets, Lakers, and Clippers facing off for this year’s championship.

Last year was just weird, as there was no home-court edge, and everyone was playing completely out of their comfort zone.

I think things revert back to “normal” as much as possible this season, and that puts those four teams as the main threats to win their respective conferences and compete for a title.

As for betting on NBA divisions, it’s clear the Central Division is a total waste of time. Beyond that, however, you can argue numerous value bets across the entire league.

Time is running out to place your bets on NBA division winners and conference winners before the season officially starts. Luckily, these betting markets exist and are updated throughout the year.

For more updates, odds, analysis, and predictions, bookmark our NBA betting blog.

Noah Davis
Noah Davis

Noah Davis is one of the more diverse writers at GamblingSites.com. Like many of his colleagues, he's a huge fan of both football and basketball. But he also writes about box office records, TV show prop bets, DFS, and all kinds of other subjects.

When it comes to the NFL, Noah's favorite team is the Cleveland Browns. He enjoys cheering them on with his wife and daughter.

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