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2021 NBA Finals Prediction

March 18, 2021
Possible finals preview - nets vs Lakers

With the 2020-21 NBA season moving into its second half, it’s time to look once again at the NBA futures market specifically at the NBA Finals matchups. A handful of teams appear to have what it takes to grind through the rest of the regular season, survive the playoffs, and wind up playing for an NBA title.

Here’s a look at the potential matchups, their odds, and a prediction on which two teams will play for this year’s NBA championship

Nets-Lakers (+250) – odds by SportsBetting.ag

The most favored matchup pits Brooklyn from the East taking on the defending champion Lakers of the West. There is plenty to like about the Nets. They have three players that currently average 25 points or more per game. No other team in NBA history has ever had such a luxury before. Not even Golden State in its glory years with current Net Kevin Durant.

Durant has been out of the Nets lineup for a few weeks and may actually need some time before returning from a hamstring issue. Durant was averaging 29.0 points a game before the injury. Teammate Kyrie Irving is scoring 27.4 a game and the latest addition to the Nets, James Harden, has been outstanding recently and is averaging 25.2 points and 11.2 assists per game.

The Lakers are still the favorite to win the Western Conference despite playing without Anthony Davis for the past few weeks. It was reported on March 15 that Davis will likely be out for another three weeks before returning.

L.A. is 6-6 without Davis, but won their first three games after the All-Star break. LeBron James is still amazing, but he can’t lead the Lakers to another title by himself. With Davis, the Western Conference is the Lakers to lose.


Nets-Jazz (+500)

– odds by SportsBetting.ag

Rudy Gobert chances of making NBA Finals

Rudy Gobert – Utah Jazz – Averages 14 points and 13 rebounds per game

If the Lakers have an issue with getting Davis back in the lineup, the Utah Jazz have all the pieces of a championship team. They have great guard play. Donovan Mitchell leads the team averaging 24.6 points per game and veteran Mike Conley adds 16.4 points and a team-high 5.6 assists per game.

The Jazz have one of the best – if not the best – rim defenders in the NBA in Rudy Gobert who scores 14.5 points, grabs 13.5 rebounds, and blocks 2.9 shots per game. Utah also leads the league in three-pointers made per game with 17. The Jazz shoot a lot of threes and they hit nearly 40 percent of them.

Utah has a win over the Lakers already this season, 114-89. Davis didn’t play in that game and if he is unable to return or not at full strength, it will be tough for L.A. to beat the Jazz. That’s why the Utah versus Brooklyn matchup is listed at +500.


Bucks-Lakers (+850)

– odds by SportsBetting.ag

Giannis vs Lakers Finals possibility OddsNow, in the East, Brooklyn will have to fend off Milwaukee and the Philadelphia 76ers. The problem for Philly is Joel Embiid. He recently suffered a knee injury, but he is likely to return. Embiid has a history of injury problems and without him; the Sixers cannot win a conference championship let alone an NBA title.

That leaves the Bucks who had the NBA’s best regular season record in each of the past two seasons. They added Jrue Holiday to the lineup, but the Bucks struggled defensively earlier in the season. There is no doubt they can score. Milwaukee ranks second in the league just behind Brooklyn in scoring.

They are also starting to come together. Two-time reigning league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo scores 29.1 points per game and Khris Middleton adds 20.2. The addition of Holiday (15.2 ppg) has helped Milwaukee win 10 of its last 11 games.

The Bucks lost to Brooklyn by two earlier this season and will play them twice more in May. If there is a team that can hang with the Nets at full strength, it is Milwaukee. The Bucks-Lakers NBA Finals matchup is not that much of a stretch as seen in its pricing – +850.


Bucks-Jazz (+1650)

– odds by SportsBetting.ag

The one scenario that makes sense but doesn’t include any of the favorites is Milwaukee and Utah. This matchup makes even more sense if Davis doesn’t come back for Los Angeles and if Brooklyn continues to have issues with Durant.

Both teams are entirely capable of making a strong playoff run and winning a conference championship. Both Utah and Milwaukee are listed at +325 to win their respective conference. The Bucks-Jazz NBA Finals matchup is given longer odds at +1650.


PREDICTION

All four of these teams will make the postseason. That’s where it really counts. If the Lakers have to rest Davis and Brooklyn has to rest Durant in the regular season, so be it. That only prepares them for the part of the season that really matters.

With both players returning to the lineup for the postseason, the West will belong to the Lakers and the Big Three of Durant, Irving, and Harden won’t be stopped. Take the Nets-Lakers final at +250.