FanDuel's NBA Championship odds are fascinating to me right now.
The Lakers have clearly not been playing their best basketball with LeBron out of the lineup. Losing 9 of their last 11 games, even with AD returning to the lineup they continue to struggle against non playoff teams losing 3 in a row to Washington, Sacramento and the Tampa Bay Raptors. But Vegas does not care, at +550 they are still the favorites in the West. Now granted Vegas knows that the Lakers have the biggest fan base in the NBA (sorry Knicks fans but you know its true) +550 seems like a trap to try and get all of the Lakers hive to throw money at their idea of a back to back championship in Hollywood. Now I still think that the Lakers have the best roster in the league when everyone is healthy. Brooklyn has looked unstoppable at times during the season, but Harden has not played in about a month and as much as I loved Steve Nash as a player, are we sure that a first year head coach can lead the personalities of Harden, KD and Kyrie through 4 rounds of the playoffs. History of the NBA says they will not win the championship their first year together.
LeBron has been outspoken that he is not a fan of the play-in tournament , which is kinda hilarious to me. He's been out for almost 6 weeks and let the Lakers slip down to the 7 seed. Mark Cuban has also made comments about how he is not a fan of the play-in tournament. But this was approved by all the owners before the season started. Now obviously there has been some brutal injuries to some key players on teams with aspirations of hosting up the Larry O'Brien trophy this summer. But with the loss of revenue from the COVID shortened season they needed to rush this season back so that they can have full season for 21-22 and the play-in tournament is a way to give some lost revenue back to the players. So with these prominent NBA players and owners publicly being against the play-in tournament you know that some of these teams that are on the cusp are not happy with how their seasons have gone. But as a fan and a gambler this play-in tournament is a huge win for the fans. It makes the end of the regular season more interesting and the play-in games should be must watch TV.
Hopefully we do not see any more injuries or COVID health and safety protocols causing prominent players to miss important games, because we are approaching the best time of the year to be an NBA fan. Playoff basketball almost every night should make gambling picks slightly easier knowing that every night we should get the best lineups and effort from the biggest names in the league. LeBron and Schroder are reportedly the only Lakers players that are still not fully vaccinated, it would be a huge mess for the NBA to have LeBron have to miss 10 days because he came into contact with someone that tested positive for COVID.
My other playoff related pick that I like is the Hornets to make the playoffs, currently sitting at the 8 seed would be matched up against the Celtics in the play-in tournament if the season ended today. I like the Hornets in that match up with Jaylen Brown being ruled out for the season. I am fading the Celtics because they have had the year from hell and it seems like a poetic ending to have them bounced from the playoffs by Gordon Hayward and Lamelo Ball. At +128 I like the value of potential ROY Lamelo Ball making the playoffs