We are just one month from the NBA regular season and oddsmakers are releasing a plethora of different future odds. Here are our top picks in the playoff market for 2021-22 with the NBA odds courtesy of BetOnline (visit our BetOnline Review).
Chicago Bulls (Yes -145)
If there was an award for the most improved team in an offseason, the Chicago Bulls might get it their 2021 acquisitions of DeMar DeRozan and Lonzo Ball.
They had to spend some money to ensure they have a chance to re-sign Zach LaVine and/or Nikola Vucevic after this season, and with the East still very top-heavy, the Bulls should slot somewhere between a fourth and sixth place in the playoffs this season.
If you look at other teams who are projected to be that high in the West, like the Nuggets, Warriors and Mavericks, who are all -600 or more to make the playoffs, it makes the Bulls look like a steal of a value at -145 assuming they gel quickly and stay healthy.
Memphis Grizzlies (Yes +105)
Putting two of my favorite teams at the top of this list is slightly by design. But, among the teams that are around coin flips to make the playoffs, the Grizz have the best NBA Odds.
Last season Memphis was one win away from the playoffs despite missing their best player for the whole season.
This year with one of the deeper benches in the NBA and several young budding stars all aligning at once, this could be Memphis’ year to get back into the playoffs.
You’re essentially betting on winning or being the runner-up in the play-in tournament, but among the teams that will be fighting for those last few Western Conference playoff seeds, the Grizz are primed for a breakout and have the most upside.
Portland Trail Blazers (No +185)
This may be a bit of a stretch, but hear me out. I doubt the Blazers will trade either one of their star guards, but if they get off to a slow start and are hovering around the lower seeds of the playoffs, or not in them at all, Portland may try to get a jump start on what will have to be a roster makeover in the summer of 2022.
Only Damian Lillard, C.J. McCollum and Norman Powell are signed past the 2022-23 season and they only have two other guys signed beyond this year. Six contracts are set to expire after this year, including Robert Covington and Jusuf Nurkic, two guys that will command huge paydays in less than a calendar year.
Portland already has between $85 and $100 million per year tied up in the three aforementioned guards, so paying both Covington and Nurkic will almost certainly be impossible if they want to avoid a ton of luxury tax payments.
If the Blazers slip early in the season, I expect them to trade Covington or Nurkic and embark on a mini tank that could keep them out of the playoffs.
Washington Wizards (Yes +450)
If you thought fading the Blazers was bold, you’re in for a treat here, because this may be the best play of them all.
Washington made the playoffs last season and while Russell Westbrook is gone, their desire to be back in the playoffs is probably pretty high.
The play-in tournament makes this feasible. We don’t know much about who will win the East, but I can map out who is in the playoffs pretty easily.
The Bucks, Sixers, Nets and Heat are probably the top four teams in the East this season, while the Hawks, Celtics, Knicks and Pacers will likely make up the next four in some order.
That leaves the Wizards and maybe the Orlando Magic or some other team rounding out the play-in and it just seems like the Wizards’ floor is having to win two play-in games to cash this wager.
If Bradley Beal and Spencer Dinwiddie stay healthy, this team has a ton of potential. I think the Lakers’ castaways from the Westbrook trade will be hungry to prove themselves and this team is also one career-year from Deni Avdija or Rui Hachimura from cashing this bet with ease.
*The line and/or odds on picks in this article might have moved since the content was commissioned. For updated line movements, visit BMR’s free betting odds product.