With the trade moratorium about to be lifted and the NBA Draft and Free Agency only a week away, it’s time to start discussing future odds. Rumors about blockbuster trades and potentially big free agent signings haven’t shaken the odds up yet. However, once they become official, it would be only a matter of time before some of these picks get hit with some steam towards shortening.
If there is one play that I feel really good about right now before we know anything about what happens in regards to player movement, it’s the Boston Celtics to come out of the East. It won’t be easy, especially, with the Bucks still dangerous, the Nets healthy, and the Heat still top dogs. However, the top four favorites in the Eastern Conference are bunched up all around 4:1 to win the conference, and the Celtics have as much upside as any of the other three.
The Bucks have more pressure this year after folding under the pressure of the bubble. The Nets have a top-heavy roster without a ton of wing defense, and they might lose their best shooter to free agency. Finally, the defending Eastern Conference champs have some tough free agency decisions to make on a number of key veterans, so they could look a lot different and potentially be tired after a long 2020 season.
That leaves Boston, who has been rumored to be after Myles Turner. If they are able to somehow flip Gordon Hayward for Turner, that would be an enormous upgrade for them in the middle. The Pacers might make them take back Victor Oladipo too, which would add a ton of guard depth to an already deep team at that position.
If the Celtics pull off that deal or are at least able to bring in Turner, and potentially flip one or more of their three first-round picks this season, they could be the favorites to win the East by next week.
If the Celtics don’t tickle your fancy, Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, and the Brooklyn Nets also have some value both in the East and to win it all. For this to happen, all the pieces will have to fall into place, but the Nets will almost surely close the regular season below 10:1 to win it all if they stay completely healthy.
Like I said above, the prospect of losing Joe Harris is not that appealing for this free NBA pick, but if Durant and Irving stay healthy all season, I don’t know how they finish lower than third in the conference.
The defense will be what ultimately ruins this pick (or Boston getting better before the season starts). However, even if they lose Harris to free agency, they could pad their roster with veterans who either have playoff experience or are defensive-minded. They are only one or two pieces away from being below 10:1 to win everything.
The Nets are also around 4:1 to win the East. I’m tempting to put an equal amount on Brooklyn, the Celtics, and Heat to win the East, which would make a 2:1 play if one of them makes it to the championship game. If you’re fading the Bucks, it’s not a bad play at all.
Futures Picks: Nets to win NBA Championship +1100 at BetOnline
If you’re into the longer shots and need one that is going to be live by playoff time or one you could prop swap into a nice profit, the Utah Jazz to come out of the West is the one for you.
At one point, the Jazz was the best team in the bubble. They play excellent defense, they are mostly returning their roster from last year (and will be getting back Bojan Bogdanovic, who was sorely missed in the playoffs), and their offense looked amazing when they were healthy.
If they can reach into the tax to bring back Jordan Clarkson, and potentially add some high-value veterans, this team is not as bad as the future odds suggest. I am shocked the Blazers, Rockets and Mavericks are all between 14 and 20:1. Utah should be priced more towards that range, not 25:1. They are +4000 to win everything at some of the top sportsbooks.
Futures Picks: Jazz to win the West +2500 at BetOnline