NBA Odds Update: Are the Nuggets Contenders or Pretenders?
In this edition of the NBA Odds Update, we’ll look at which teams saw their odds move the most since our last update.
Teams that had strong weeks and are starting to look like cohesive units will likely see the most upward movement, while those who had it rough could see their odds spiraling.
If you want to see our odds for every team, be sure to check out our power rankings. Here's a look at the only two teams who had their title odds move by more than two percentage points.
FanDuel Title Odds: +1600
numberFire Champs Probability: 3.1%
While the Denver Nuggets have seen their title odds drop by nearly two percentage points over the last two weeks, they still boast the seventh-best Championship Probability, according to our rankings.
That said, you need to be able to win on the road if you're going to win in the playoffs, and the Nuggets haven't been doing that -- especially as of late. Denver has lost four of the last five on the road and are just 4-5 overall since starting the season 13-3.
Denver hasn't been shooting the ball well this year, as they're eighth-worst in effective field goal percentage and seventh-worst in true shooting percentage. They're going to need to shoot the rock better and improve their play away from home in order to have a legitimate chance at contending for a title.
FanDuel Title Odds: +4200
numberFire Champs Probability: 2.6%
The Toronto Raptors are another team that saw their title odds drop by close to two percentage points over the last two weeks. After winning 11 of 13 heading into December, the Raptors have since lost four of their last six, including three on their home court.
One could make the argument that the Raptors have just one win against a legitimate contender this season, and that came against the Los Angeles Lakers on December 10th. Toronto's second-best net rating of 8.8 two weeks ago is down to 5.2 points as of today. The team's three-point percentage as a whole has dropped by nearly three percent during that period.
While Toronto still possesses an elite defense, their offense is just 17th in the league.
Without making another move, it'll be tough to think of the Raptors as true contenders.
Los Angeles Lakers
FanDuel Title Odds: +390
numberFire Champs Probability: 26.9%
No team saw their title odds drop more than the Los Angeles Lakers.
Now, before you scoff at and exit this article in a rage, know that it more than likely has little to do with their play and everything to do with the play of others.
Three of the top four teams in our title odds are in the Western Conference, as are five of the top eight. There's a good chance that the Lakers will have to get through two of the Clippers, Rockets, Nuggets, and Mavericks in order to just reach the Finals. Once they get there, the odds are in favor of them having to face a Milwaukee Bucks team that is playing on a ridiculous level right now.
All of that adds up to a drop in title odds for LeBron James and Co.
FanDuel Title Odds: +480
numberFire Champs Probability: 28.5%
For the fifth straight week, the Milwaukee Bucks saw their title odds jump by at least three percentage points.
Milwaukee is currently riding an 18-game winning streak, which is the 11th-longest streak in NBA history. The Deer have the league's best net rating, by 3.9 points, as well as the highest defensive efficiency rating. It's hasn't just been the offense that's been driving the Bucks, as their effective field goal percentage and true shooting percentage are also tops in the league.
The MVP, Giannis Antetokounmpo, is averaging 32.1 points, 12.1 rebounds, and 4.4 assists during the streak, on 55.9 percent from the field and 34.7 percent from three. And he's doing all of this while sitting out nearly 1.5 quarters per game.
The Bucks, deservedly so, have the highest Championship probability of any team, according to our metrics.