The NBA offseason is a time of optimism for basketball fans.
It’s also a great time for bettors to capitalize off the optimism before free agency and the 2021 NBA Draft completely changes how we view title contenders.
We’ve already ranked our top five contenders in 2022, but now let’s take a look at the three best values for hoisting the Larry O’Brien Trophy next season.
*Odds via DraftKings Sportsbook as of July 27
Brooklyn Nets (+200)
The Nets are the betting favorites to win the 2022 NBA championship, and for good reason.
As everybody knows, Brooklyn is absolutely stacked. Their Big 3 of Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving give them a talent advantage over every team in the NBA. While their depth will take a hit this offseason, there’s little doubt that the Nets — if healthy — will be a juggernaut on offense.
But health is the big caveat, though. The Nets, like pretty much every team in the league, were bit by the injury bug all season. But even with a hobbled James Harden and without the services of Kyrie Irving, the Nets were a Kevin Durant footstep away from sending the eventual NBA champions home.
While that was a big bummer for Brooklyn, it’s still a great sign for a team that didn’t have much time to gel on court. With a full offseason and regular season to build chemistry, the Nets should be a nightmare for teams to play on a nightly basis.
At +200, the Nets won’t bring back a huge return, but they are the safest bet on the board.
Golden State Warriors (+900)
After a string of bad luck for the Warriors, things are starting to line up for Golden State.
If you squint hard enough, the once-feared Western Conference is opening up for the Dubs to regain their throne.
The Lakers have limited options to improve — outside of trading Kyle Kuzma and others — while LeBron James is a year older and Anthony Davis seems to be perpetually recovering from injury. The Clippers will be without Kawhi Leonard for most, if not all, of the 2022 regular season — if he opts-in or re-signs — and could lose Reggie Jackson in free agency. Chris Paul could leave the Suns if they aren’t willing to sign him to a lucrative contract. The Nuggets won’t have Jamal Murray for a majority of the campaign as he recovers from a torn ACL. The Jazz are purely a regular-season team and could lose Mike Conley Jr. And the Mavericks seem to hate each other.
The Warriors will, of course, get Klay Thompson back, have the Nos. 7 and 14 picks in the draft, which could bring in another star or two rotational players, while James Wiseman and Jordan Poole will have another year of experience under their belt.
It wouldn’t be surprising to see a resurgent Warriors squad win the Western Conference — and potentially the title — next season. Bettors seem to agree as their odds have shifted from +1200 to +900 in less than a week.
New York Knicks (+10000)
Looking for a longshot bet that could turn into a lottery ticket? Look no further than the New York Knicks.
Yes, that’s right: the Knicks.
New York shocked the basketball world by being arguably the best story of the regular season. On the back of Julius Randle’s leap to stardom, the Knicks emerged as a threat in the Eastern Conference.
And when the Knicks are good, Madison Square Garden is electric, which sure helps drive interest in players wanting to come to New York.
This offseason could prove that point.
The Knicks will be star-hunting this offseason and could come away with Chris Paul and potentially another star to add to Randle and Co. That might not put the Knicks on the same level as the Milwaukee Bucks or Brooklyn Nets, but, as we’ve seen, injuries can completely change the game, which makes the Knicks a solid bet at +10000.
Jump on the Knicks before it’s too late.
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