Reigning NBA champions the Milwaukee Bucks are ready to defend their crown this season. However, the Eastern Conference has seen significant improvements across the board to challenge Giannis and Co., including one particular team that has better odds to win this season’s Larry O’Brien Trophy than the Bucks.
NitroBetting is here to deliver the latest news from the on and off the NBA hardcourts. This time, let’s take a look at the latest futures odds for the 2021-22 NBA Eastern Conference Championship race. Be on top of all the developments by tuning for the NBA odds, previews, and predictions for all the exciting basketball action ahead.
Favorites to Win the 2022 NBA Eastern Conference Championship
- 2022 NBA Eastern Conference Championship Odds: +105
Thanks to good health and a fresh start, the Nets are the current consensus favorites to win the Eastern Conference title. They’re looking to avenge their seven-game conference title loss to the Bucks last season, this time with the terrifying trio of Kevin Durant, James Harden, and Kyrie Irving at optimum strength.
However, Irving’s status is still up in the air as we speak, as the outspoken guard is still reluctant to get vaccinated despite the NBA’s strict protocols. Regardless of whether or not Irving will play this season, Brooklyn is so deep in talent that the likes of veterans Blake Griffin, LaMarcus Aldridge, and offseason acquisition Patty Mills, can each fill the void left by the seven-time All-Star guard.
- 2022 NBA Eastern Conference Championship Odds: +325
With most of its title-winning roster still intact, it’s only fitting that the Bucks have great odds to win the East for the second year in a row. Milwaukee will have to prove that its win from the pandemic-shortened campaign was no fluke and that the team deserved to win the title despite facing several playoff teams with a star player or two missing or having gotten hurt during the series.
Nevertheless, we all know better than to underestimate the dominance of two-time league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo when he and his supporting cast are firing on all cylinders. The departures of defensive stalwart P.J. Tucker and deep-ball threat Bryn Forbes could be huge and so too is the lack of a first-round pick from this year’s draft. But all things considered, the core of the Bucks’ title-winning core is all that matters to make another strong run at the championship.
So You’re Telling Me There’s A Chance?
New York Knicks
- 2022 NBA Eastern Conference Championship Odds: +2800
One of the biggest surprise teams last season was the Knicks, who finally got to scratch their seven-year playoff itch as the fourth seed in the East. That stunning turnaround is largely attributed to two-time Coach of the Year Tom Thibodeau, as he turned New York into a sound defensive unit that ranked fourth in the league last season.
Journeyman Julius Randle has also warmed up to his new home in the Big Apple, winning the Most Improved Player of the Year award after his underwhelming stints in LA and The Big Easy. With the additions of Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier on offense, it’s quite possible that the Knicks will have an even better campaign now that the previous with more weapons on offense to balance out their defensive prowess.
- 2022 NBA Western Conference Championship Odds: +2800
Thibodeau’s old team in the Chicago Bulls, meanwhile, is also expected to make a significant leap this season from the last. After finishing 10 games under .500 last season despite making huge moves before the trade deadline, Chicago broke the bank and picked up the likes of DeMar DeRozan, Lonzo Ball, and Alex Caruso in the offseason to bolster its lineup.
Going all-in by rebuilding with proven parts and getting rid of their other raw, younger talent means that the Bulls are serious at wanting to break their own playoff drought this season. Star guard Zach LaVine is also in the final year of his contract, giving even more motivation for the Bulls to, at the very least, finish with a winning record for the first time in half a decade.
Digging Even Deeper
- 2022 NBA Eastern Conference Championship Odds: +15000
The Cavaliers have yet to return to relevance since LeBron James took his talents to Los Angeles following their championship-winning run in 2018. On the bright side, Cleveland did see its win percentage gradually improve over the next three seasons; albeit still as one of the worst teams in the NBA record-wise.
It will take a huge collaborative effort from rising stars Jarrett Allen, Collin Sexton, Darius Garland, and 2021 first-round pick Evan Mobley to get the Cavs back into title-contention form. Then again, we’ve seen the Knicks and Hawks make that jump just last season, and who’s to say that these young Cavs don’t have what it takes if everything goes according to GM Koby Altman’s rebuilding plans.
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*All odds stated are subject to change without prior notice.