Fans of the Warriors will need no reminding that the season should be underway by now, nor do they need reminding that it has been over seven months since they last saw their team play a competitive game. It’s still not clear when the new season will start, but mid-January 2021 seems the most commonly cited date.
Still, even though there is still a bit of doubt over when the new season will start and how it will look, several sportsbooks have released odds for the campaign. And, it’s interesting to see where GSW stand, especially given that 15-50 record posted last year.
The good news for fans is that sportsbooks expect the Warriors to do a lot better in 2021, although it could really be worse in terms of those numbers. The upshot is this: Most sportsbooks range the Warriors’ odds from around +600 to +700, putting Steve Kerr’s team firmly among the favorites for the NBA Championship.
LA teams lead the way again this season
It is tight at the top. But when averaging all the odds, the Lakers and Clippers (both sitting around +400) come out ahead of the Bucks and Warriors, and then there is a big drop off to teams like the Celtics, Nets, Heat and Raptors (all priced at +1000 or above).
Although the Warriors aren’t placed as red-hot favorites like they were in the seasons in the latter half of the 2010s, it is still a confidence boost for fans after the, frankly, awful numbers put up last season.
When we look at it from a purely betting perspective, however, there is again a problem with a skewing of the odds towards Western Conference teams. There of the top four market leaders – the Lakers, Clippers and Warriors – all coming from the same Conference should not sit well with those trying to get value on an outright winner preseason.
If you compare it to betting on European basketball, there is a little bit more of an even spread in competitions on that side of the Atlantic. You might fancy a team like The Lakers to win it all in 2021, but the skewing towards the West impacts the probabilities when reflected in the betting odds set out by sportsbooks.
In plain English, having three teams from the Western Conference all highly placed as favorites doesn’t make sense as only one team is going to reach the Finals from that Conference. A similar pattern emerged last season – The Rockets were also among the top-tier teams. In effect, they should cancel each other when looking at it from an objective viewpoint.
The Heat surprised many last season
Taking a team to cut through the weaker Eastern Conference on an each-way bet (the bet would win should the team reach the Finals, win or lose) makes a bit more sense from a betting perspective. The Miami Heat started last season as +6000 chances, for example. Although, it would have taken quite the leap of faith to predict that they would make it to the finals.
What, then, are the main takeaways here? For the Warriors, most fans expected that the team would be backed to succeed again. Last season was – or at least we hope so – be viewed as something of an outlier. But it’s worth remembering that sportsbooks put GSW among the favorites last year – they started the 2019/20 season as +900 chances (6th favorites overall), so it’s not as if sportsbooks always get these things right.
Finally, we should mention that the odds could certainly change between now and the expected start of the season in January. Consider, for instance, if the Warriors end up trading their draft pick, as many think they will. Getting a top-level defender like Marcus Smart might push the Warriors closer to the Lakers, both in the eyes of fans and sportsbooks. But as with everything else in NBA right now, we will have to wait and see what happens.