A fascinating new NBA season is about to begin, with the LA Lakers out to defend their crown as a whole host of challengers prepare to topple them in the race to become 2021 NBA champions.
It was expected to be a low-key off-season of trading given the current climate, but nothing could be further from the truth.
Russell Westbrook, Marc Gasol and John Wall are just three of the high-profile names to have moved on to pastures new prior to the start of the new campaign. Their high-profile moves could see them move alongside the likes of Kevin Durant, Zion Williamson, LeBron James and Anthony Davis as expected star performers of the 2021 NBA season.
Join us as we break down the championship credentials of the main NBA contenders, where the Lakers start out as worthy favourites…
Who will win the NBA 2021 title?
We’ve split up the main contenders into two groups – the frontrunners and some more value options in the current NBA betting.
NBA Outright Betting 2021
First, let’s take a look at the so-called ‘big hitters’
In the Western Conference everything points towards another strong campaign from the two Los Angeles sides. Both the Lakers (as reigning champions) and the Clippers have the strength in depth required to mount another challenge.
Away from LA, the Milwaukee Bucks are expected to challenge again, but a strong off-season from the Brooklyn Nets could also see the NYC side force themselves into the reckoning.
Can the Lakers go again? 🏀
Reigning NBA champions Los Angeles Lakers haven’t rested on their laurels, strengthening significantly over the summer – something that sees them overwhelming favourites with Marathonbet to become champions again at 13/5.
The tireless LeBron James continues to power them to new heights, with the NBA legend still breaking new ground at the age of 35. Together with Anthony Davis, the Lakers boast one of the most fearsome duos in this competition for a second consecutive year.
It should also be noted that the team has added even more quality since their title win, including the eye-catching capture of Montrezl Harrell – controversially poached from the Clippers. Other additions include the German point guard Dennis Schroder, who could make a real difference from the base position, as well as the experienced Wesley Matthews and Marc Gasol.
Could it be the Brooklyn Nets’ time? 🏀
The Nets aren’t wasting any time either in their bid for NBA glory. The New York team has undergone an extremely rapid transformation in recent times, becoming a clear candidate to win the NBA championship title over the last two seasons.
Their quest for Championship success was ultimately thwarted by the disruption caused by the pandemic last year, as an understrength Nets side were eliminated in the playoffs with a resounding 4-0 series defeat by the Toronto Raptors.
However, 2020 was always viewed as a transitional season for them, and that setback may prove short-lived.
With Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in their ranks, the Nets have an outstanding chance to progress this season. Both players were snapped up as free agents in 2019, but due to Durant’s long-term injury in the 2019 finals, the Nets had to make do without their star signing last season. Irving will also be hoping to play a more prominent role in this campaign after an injury-hit first season with his new side.
Clippers to outsmart their city rivals? 🏀
LA’s ‘second team’ has ambitions on toppling their noisy neighbours and could go well again after a bittersweet conference semi-final exit against the Denver Nuggets (4-3 on aggregate).
This will be Kawhi Leonard’s second year in the squad, and his presence alone adds to the Clippers’ claims. The addition of Spanish centre Serge Ibaka looks intriguing, as he’ll be reuniting with Leonard. The pair became NBA champions together in the 2018/2019 season with the Toronto Raptors.
Bucks to make a bold bid? 🏀
The Bucks look overdue a tilt at the title after going close yet again last year.
A decent 2020 campaign ended on a sour note for the Milwaukee team after they were eliminated in a resounding 4-1 series defeat in the conference semi-finals against the Miami Heat.
Choking seems to be the big issue for this side, who for all their dominance during the regular season, never seem to transform their form to the playoffs.
They’ll once again be leaning heavily on star man Giannis Antetokounmpo. The ‘Greek Freak’ may need more support from other areas if the Bucks are finally going to go all the way.
Who will be the surprises of the 2021 NBA season?
We’re backing three sides to make a bold bid this season: the Boston Celtics, the Miami Heat and the Portland Trail Blazers.
Boston Celtics (14/1) look an interesting proposition for this season.
Last year they reached the Conference Finals and often proved a very difficult team to beat.
Stellar young talents Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown will be better for that experience as they look to make another step up in 2021.
Will being a known quantity be a help or a hindrance for Miami Heat (16/1) after they surprisingly reached last year’s NBA Final?
The big question is whether the Heat have reached their ceiling, but this young squad has time on its side to improve even further if the form of Jimmy Butler can continue to inspire them.
Finally, the Portland Trail Blazers (45/1) could be ones to watch given their strong spine, headed up by the outstanding Damian Lillard.
Injuries blighted some of their momentum last season, but they reached the Conference Finals in 2019 and a repeat can’t be written off if they enjoy a relative clean bill of health throughout the 2021 campaign.
Odds correct at time of writing but may be subject to change.
Who are you backing to become NBA champions?