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Updated NBA Finals Odds and Analysis for November 2021
The 2021-22 NBA season is still in the early stages, but we’re getting an early look at some of the NBA Finals contenders.
Most of the preseason contenders have played well enough to stay at the top of the board, while borderline contenders have gone both ways. The Miami Heat have boosted their stock, while the Boston Celtics have fallen.
It’s never too early to check out the updated odds for the 2022 NBA Finals. Here they are.
Updated 2022 NBA Finals Odds
The top five teams remain the same, but the Golden State Warriors odds have improved from +1100 to +850.
Early in the season, the Miami Heat have made the biggest jump. The preseason NBA Finals odds had them at +2500 odds to win it all. A great start to the season has put them among the top contenders.
At the end of the day, the Brooklyn Nets remain the favorite.
Brooklyn Nets (+225)
The Brooklyn Nets faced turmoil before the season even began. The Nets announced that Kyrie Irving wouldn’t play after Brooklyn deemed him ineligible to play in home games. They opted against him being a part-time player.
Early in the season, it may have been fair to question if Brooklyn would remain championship favorites without Irving.
Brooklyn began 2-3 with losses to the Milwaukee Bucks, Charlotte Hornets, and Miami Heat. That could’ve been 1-4 if not for a late comeback against the Philadelphia 76ers.
Lately, we’ve seen the Nets weather the storm with three straight wins.
Harden isn’t playing up to his potential, averaging 18.3 points on 39.3 percent shooting. His points per game would mark his lowest total since 2011-12, while the field goal percentage would mark a career-low.
A lot of people believe his struggles have to do with the new foul rules. The rule aimed to eliminate fouls for players performing a non-basketball move. Harden took advantage of this rule over the years to find the free-throw line.
Check out his free throw attempts per game this season compared to year’s past.
- 2017-18: 10.1
- 2018-19: 11.0
- 2019-20: 11.8
- 2020-21: 7.3
- 2021-22: 4.8
Even with the struggles, Harden is putting up respectable numbers. He doesn’t need to play to his full potential when Kevin Durant is one of the top contenders for MVP.
This season, Durant is averaging 28.3 points, 8.6 rebounds, and 5.3 assists on 59.2 percent shooting.
Brooklyn is also much better on defense. After allowing 114.1 points per game last season, the Nets rank top 10 with 105.0 points per game.
For the Nets, everyone wants to know if Irving will return and how will Harden adjust to the new rules. Luckily, they have a player like Durant that can mask those issues.
Top Challengers for the NBA Finals
The Brooklyn Nets haven’t shown us that they are the consensus best team in the league.
Let’s check out their biggest challengers.
Golden State Warriors (+850)
Coming into the season, I wasn’t as high on the Golden State Warriors as most people. I felt they had the potential to be a top-five team in the Western Conference, but I didn’t expect them to compete for the NBA Finals.
Early on, I might be eating my words.
Golden State kicked off the season with impressive victories over the Los Angeles Lakers and Los Angeles Clippers. So far, the only blemish on their record is a 104-101 overtime loss to the Memphis Grizzlies.
The Warriors trail the Utah Jazz by a half-game for the best record in the league.
Of course, everything runs through Stephen Curry. He is off to another MVP-like start with 26.7 points per game, 7.6 rebounds, 6.9 assists, and 1.4 steals. His 37.4 three-point percentage is uncharacteristically low, but it’ll improve as the season goes on.
Early in the season, I think the difference-maker for the Warriors is Jordan Poole.
Check out his numbers through seven games.
- 16.4 points
- 3.6 assists
- 2.7 rebounds
- 1.6 steals
- 43.0 field goal percentage
Poole has elevated his game and looks like a rising star alongside Curry.
Against the Charlotte Hornets, Poole had 31 points on 7-16 three-point shooting. He looks like an early contender for Most Improved Player.
Throughout the Warriors dynasty run, they killed their opponents with offense. The offense is still there, but their defense is allowing the sixth-fewest points per game. That will only improve when Klay Thompson and James Wiseman return.
The Phoenix Suns bucked the trend last season but overall, I think playoff experience is a real thing.
We’ll see if Golden State can keep it up.
Milwaukee Bucks (+850)
Despite a slow start, the defending champions remain one of the top contenders.
The Milwaukee Bucks started 3-1, but that one loss was a 42-point blowout against the Miami Heat. They followed that up with a three-game losing streak before a win moved them to 4-4.
Brook Lopez has been dealing with a back injury and Jrue Holiday missed five games with an injury. The Bucks should have Holiday back in action soon.
Khris Middleton has missed time after testing positive with COVID-19. The positive text will hold him out a minimum of six games.
Thankfully, Giannis Antetokounmpo has stayed healthy. His legendary performance in the 2021 NBA Finals has carried over to the 2021-22 season.
Check out his performance against the Minnesota Timberwolves.
- 40 points
- 16 rebounds
- 7 assists
- 3 blocks
- 15-23 field goal shooting
- 3-6 three-point shooting
Overall, he is averaging 27.4 points, 10.8 rebounds, 6.4 assists, and 2.0 blocks.
The loss of Lopez, Middleton, and Holiday has taken a toll on the Bucks offense. After leading the NBA in scoring three straight seasons, Milwaukee ranks 14th. Among healthy players, Grayson Allen is the second leading scorer with 13.0 points per game.
I’m sure the sportsbooks are aware the Bucks slow start has more to do with injuries than anything. Coming into the season, Milwaukee had +900 odds to win the title. Even with a 4-4 start, their odds have improved.
We can’t forget about their 23-point victory over the Brooklyn Nets on opening night.
Once the Bucks are back at full strength, I think we’ll see them at the top of the Eastern Conference.
Top Sleepers for the NBA Finals
Coming into the season, there were a few sleepers I had my eye on. Let’s see who I’m looking at following the start of the season.
Utah Jazz (+1300)
Is it fair to consider the Utah Jazz a sleeper? Last season, they finished with the best record in the NBA and weren’t the favorite going into the playoffs.
This season, the Jazz opened with the fifth-best odds to win it all. Early in the season, they looked poised to back up their 2020-21 success.
Utah is 7-1 with wins over the Denver Nuggets, Milwaukee Bucks, and Atlanta Hawks. What makes them so tough to stop is their team basketball.
Check out the scoring breakdown of their top players.
- Donovan Mitchell: 24.9
- Bojan Bogdanovic: 17.5
- Jordan Clarkson: 16.4
- Mike Conley: 15.9
- Rudy Gobert: 15.4
Their all-around success has them third in the NBA with 112.8 points per game. And what’s crazy is a few of those guys are struggling from the field.
Mitchell and Bogdanovic are shooting in the low 30s from three-point range. Both would be a career-low.
Last season’s Sixth Man of the Year, Jordan Clarkson, is shooting 22.7 percent from three-point range. Needless to say, that would mark a career-low. Once these guys improve, their offense will get even better.
Utah has finished fourth or better in scoring defense in six of the last seven seasons. Therefore, it’s not surprising to see them third this season. Their defensive anchor, Rudy Gobert, leads the charge.
The three-time Defensive Player of the Year is on a tear to start the season. He is averaging a ridiculous 17.3 rebounds and 1.8 blocks. He has 19 or more rebounds in four of his eight games this season.
Since 1980, only Dennis Rodman has averaged more than 17 rebounds in a season.
Once again, Quin Snyder is showing why he is one of the best coaches in the NBA.
Philadelphia 76ers (+2200)
All offseason, all we heard about the Philadelphia 76ers was Ben Simmons’ trade status. It’s easy to forget that they finished with the best record in the Eastern Conference last season.
Coming into the season, the 76ers had +2000 odds to win the NBA Finals.
Following a 2-2 start, the 76ers have five straight wins. Their 7-2 mark tops the Eastern Conference. Even with their early-season success, the 76ers odds have moved to +2200.
So far, I’d say the 76ers are very comparable to the Utah Jazz.
Philadelphia has seven players averaging over 10 points, with Joel Embiid leading the way at 20.4. While not as overpowering as last season, Embiid is still having a good season.
One of the reasons I wasn’t concerned about Simmons leaving is the emergence of Tyrese Maxey. He averaged 8.0 points and 2.0 assists his rookie season.
Check out his numbers this season.
- 14.7 points
- 4.3 assists
- 3.1 rebounds
- 51.5 field goal percentage
- 34.8 three-point percentage
Also, I feel like I have to mention Seth Curry is shooting a ridiculous 53.1 percent from three-point range. That’d be something if he could finish the season shooting over 50 percent.
Going back to the Jazz comparison. Utah has the best point differential at 12.7. Philadelphia is fourth with 8.5. Their defense has allowed the seventh-fewest points.
At this point, I have no idea what will happen with the Simmons saga. There’s a chance the 76ers upgrade their team with a potential trade. If Simmons returns, I suppose that helps their defense.
Honestly, they’re probably better off without him.
Betting on the NBA Finals in 2021-22
It’s still so early in the season that I wouldn’t worry if one of your bets was struggling. There is plenty of time to turn it around.
On the other hand, it’s important to be patient with a team that is performing much better than expected. The Toronto Raptors are 6-3 but I wouldn’t say they’re better than the 3-5 Portland Trail Blazers.
Betting on the NBA Finals early in the season gives you much better value. No matter who you decide to bet on, make sure you use the top NBA betting sites.