The Milwaukee Bucks will begin the defense of their 2021 NBA title when the 2021-22 NBA season starts on Oct. 19. The Bucks will host the Brooklyn Nets in the first game of the new season at the Fiserv Forum in Milwaukee, Wis.
However, the team on the floor that night that's favored to win the 2022 title is NOT the Bucks. It their opponent, the Nets, according to the sports gambling website SISportsbook.com
Here are the top-five favorites to win the 2022 NBA title, according to SISportsbook:
1.) Brooklyn Nets (plus-210)
The Nets lost to the Bucks in the second round of the playoffs last season, falling in Game 7. However, they did not have All-Star Kyrie Irving after Game 4 because of an ankle sprain. A fully healthy team with former MVPs Kevin Durant and James Harden, along with Irving, should be the lead title contender.
Health will be their most important question, of course. In addition, Irving's availability is still in question because of the COVID-19 vaccination protocols. Irving has thus far refused to get vaccinated.
2.) Los Angeles Lakers (plus-333)
The Lakers have the longest list of famous players on one roster in NBA history, with LeBron James, Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony, Dwight Howard, Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo, et al. Many of those players are past their primes except for Davis, but they're all still very good and James, like he is every year, is still an MVP candidate heading into the season.
Davis is still injury-prone, and injuries that come with age is always a concern for the rest of them. Therefore, just like the Nets, they will have to prove they can stay healthy for an entire season. Being the second favorite to win the title is a suitable placement.
3.) Milwaukee Bucks (plus-800)
The Bucks are the defending champion, yet, they come in as the third-highest favored team to win this year with mostly the same roster. While they did lose P.J. Tucker, their roster is still in a prime position to compete again. Last season was tough for everyone in the NBA.
There were a lot of injuries, and even though the Bucks earned their title, they can't get knocked out early this year because then some might think their title might be a bit of a fluke.
4.) Golden State Warriors (plus-1200)
After making the NBA Finals five seasons in a row and winning three championships in that span, the Warriors have not made the playoffs the last two seasons. They've been without Klay Thompson the previous two years, and if he can come back at some point during the season being his usual self, that would instantly put them back in title contention.
Steph Curry led the NBA in scoring last season and is still a top-five player in the world. They also have Draymond Green, James Wiseman and Andrew Wiggins. The Warriors being listed at fourth could either be too low or high when it's all said and done. The ultimate X-factor will be the return of Thomson to All-Star form.
5.) Los Angeles Clippers and Utah Jazz
The casual NBA fan may think the Jazz having the fifth-best chance to win a title is nuts. However, the Jazz have a legitimate star in Donovan Mitchell who could even blossom into superstar status this season. Not to mention, they also had the best record in the regular season last year out of all 30 NBA teams. They'll need to prove they can make noise in the playoffs, and that starts with Mitchell taking the next step.
As for the Clippers, they have the talent, but Kawhi Leonard's health will be a concern.
Leonard led the Toronto Raptors to the 2019 NBA Title, but since joining he Clippers they lost in the second round of the 2020 NBA Playoffs, and last season they made the Western Conference Finals, but Leonard missed the entire series.
This offseason, he underwent surgery for the partial tear in his ACL.
Paul George proved last season that he can carry a massive load in the playoffs, but he will need his co-star if they want any chance of making a real won at an NBA Championship.
Leonard has two rings, George has yet to make a Finals.
Another thing that they do have going for them is Ty Lue is one of the best coaches in the entire NBA.
As with all betting odds, sometimes it pays to shop around. For instance, on the FanDuel site, the Nets are plus-210, which means a $100 bet pays $210.
Here are the odds for Fanduel's top-10 favorites heading into the season:
- Brooklyn Nets — plus-210
- Los Angeles Lakers — plus-450
- Milwaukee Bucks — plus-650
- Golden State Warriors — plus-1200
- Utah Jazz — plus-1400
- Phoenix Suns — plus-1500
- Los Angeles Clippers — plus-1600
- Philadelphia 76ers — plus-2000
- Denver Nuggets — plus-2400
- Miami Heat — plus-2500