The NBA season is often a rollercoaster packed with drama and surprises, and this season has been no exception. Thanks to the expansion of sports betting across the US, NBA fans can now follow the season by watching the odds and checking out which team is up and which team is down at the many sportsbook sites that are now available across the nation.
If you’re new to NBA betting or you need a refresher on understanding NBA Championship odds, WSN.com has created a guide to the NBA Championship odds 2022 – in this article we will cover the basics.
Who won the NBA Championship last season?
Last season was one of the most dramatic NBA competitions ever as the play-offs produced a series of upsets as injuries and loss of form played their part along the way.
The Milwaukee Bucks, led by Giannis Antetokounmpo, sprang a surprise by claiming the title, beating the Phoenix Suns in the Finals. Flashback to September 2021 and the NBA Championship odds before the season would have been pretty long on that Finals pairing! The consensus was that the LA Lakers and the Brooklyn Nets would come out of the West and the East, but that didn’t happen.
Milwaukee edged out Brooklyn in the Eastern Conference semi-finals and the Lakers didn’t make it past the first round in the West, getting beat out by the Suns. The West seemed to have opened up for the LA Clippers, but they also fell to the Suns, while in the East, the Atlanta Hawks surprised many by making it to the Conference Finals, where they lost 4-2 against the Bucks.
In the Championship Finals, the Suns opened up a 2-0 lead, winning both of their home games, but the Bucks fought back, claiming four in a row to claim the Championship.
How to read NBA Championship odds
If you want to make a bet on the NBA Championship, you will be focusing on the futures markets. As the name suggests, these are markets based around betting on events that haven’t happened yet, though looking at the NBA Finals odds history can give you an indication of how these markets develop.
An NBA Championship futures market will show all of the teams in the competition and each will have a price allocated to them, reflecting their chances of winning. For instance:
LA Lakers +210
LA Clippers +600
Milwaukee Bucks +600
Let’s say you think the Lakers are the team to beat based on the aforementioned odds. If you put in $100, you’ll receive a payment of $310, which includes your $100 plus your profits of $210. With these odds, the Lakers’ implied likelihood of winning is 32.26 percent.
On the other hand, let’s say you want to bet on the Milwaukee Bucks. If you put $100 on the Bucks to win the NBA championship in 2021-22 and they win, you’ll earn $700 – your $100 will be repaid, and you’ll make a $600 profit.
Who is the favorite to win the NBA Championship?
So how are the NBA Finals odds for 2022 looking?
There are a few teams in the Western Conference who have broken away from the pack, but the East is congested from top to bottom, and eight teams are all within 4.5 games of top spot.
The preseason favorite Brooklyn Nets (+300) are still leading the odds lists with sportsbooks, despite their defeat to the Bucks in the playoffs last year, and their ongoing issues. Kevin Durant is out for several weeks with an injury, James Harden is unhappy and Kyrie Irving is only playing road games due to his vaccination status, so although their potential remains huge, betting on Brooklyn at this stage involves quite a lot of risk and uncertainty with a long way left to go in the season.
Still trailing the Nets are the Golden State Warriors (+475), the Suns (+600) and the Bucks (+700). The Warriors, with Klay Thomson now back with Steph Curry, are looking dangerous in the West, as are the Suns, who have strengthened since last season, while the Bucks, with their past NBA Championship success, cannot be discounted.
One name missing from the upper reaches of the NBA Championship betting is the LA Lakers. Despite some headline-grabbing recruitment, which had them bring in Russell Westbrook and Carmelo Anthony, among others, the Lakers have been dysfunctional all season and will need a major turnaround if they are to compete for the title, though, such is the magic of the NBA that anything is possible!