Back on December 23, the new NBA Season got underway as the Brooklyn Nets beat the Golden State Warriors and the Los Angeles Clippers got one over their city rivals the Los Angeles Lakers.

A month or so on from those opening games, the 30 teams have now played a decent number of games so now is a great opportunity to catch up on how teams are doing in both the Western and Eastern Conferences.

With that in mind, we are going to give you our tips for the teams to watch (and perhaps back) to win each of the two conferences in the regular season. We will then go on to take a look at how things are looking in terms of the overall NBA Championship winner. A title currently held by the Los Angeles Lakers.

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Let’s now take a look at how last season in the NBA finished, how the current season in the NBA started and where we stand regarding the state of play in each conference.

NBA Recap

Last season concluded with the Los Angeles Lakers winning the NBA Championship with a 4-2 victory over the Miami Heat in the final series. LeBron James and company earned the Lakers 17th NBA Championship, drawing them level with the Boston Celtics.

The new season began with the Lakers the clear favourites to win the Championship once again with teams such as the L.A. Clippers, Brooklyn Nets and the Milwaukee Bucks tipped as those being most likely to offer a dominant challenge.

The season has been running a month since those opening two games on December 23 and here is where we stand currently.

Eastern Conference Round Up

The early season odds suggested that this would be a two-horse race between the Brooklyn Nets and Milwaukee Bucks for the Eastern Conference title, with the Boston Celtics likely to be their closest challengers. The bookies were proved pretty accurate with that assessment.

The. Bucks are third behind the Celtics in the East both with a 10-6 record from their 16 games played so far, while the Nets are fifth with an 11-8 record.

The teams to have forced their way into the reckoning in this division are the leaders the Philadelphia 76ers who have a 12-6 record. Led by center Joel Embiid, a superb home record of 9-1 has been the catalyst for the 76ers excellent start to the campaign.

The other team to have forced their way into the reckoning of late has been the Indiana Pacers, who have a 10-7 record.

The big news in this division though came a couple of weeks back when the Brooklyn Nets instigated a four-team mega trade for Houston Rockets star man James Harden. Adding to Joe Durant and Kyrie Irving who were already with the Nets, the addition of Harden, who made it public he wanted out at Houston, has catapulted the Nets into the favourites to win the Eastern this season.

Since signing, Harden and the Nets have gone 4-2 in their six games, dropping two games against the Cleveland Cavaliers in the middle of that run. They will need to improve on that if they are to live up to expectation as the favourites to win this division.

Eastern Conference Betting Odds & Our Pick

The signing of James Harden has moved the Brooklyn Nets in as favourites to win the east at 8/5 now, ahead of the previous favourites the Bucks. The Cetlics and 76ers are both 11/2 shots and after that the odds lengthen somewhat to the Miami Heat (still 9/1 despite their poor start) and the Indiana Pacers (18/1).

The Nets may be the popular pick at the moment, but I still feel the 76ers at 11/2 are the team to back here at the moment, especially with that excellent home record.

Western Conference

The Lakers may have got off to a slow start in the Western Conference but they have gone 14-3 since their opening night loss to top the division. However, they are only one game ahead of the flying Utah Jazz who have won all of their last nine games to become the form team in the entire NBA.

Another team recovering well from a slow start is the Memphis Grizzlies who have won their last five games to improve to 7-6 after a 2-6 start, although it is worth noting that they do have a number of games to catch up on compared to other teams in the west.

The other team to start well is the Los Angeles Clippers who are 13-5 in the division. The Denver Nuggets are next on the list behind them at 10-7, so they do have a bit of catching up to do with the three teams above them. As do the 9-7 Portland Trail Blazers.

Two teams that will be hoping for a stronger showing in the next few weeks are Steph Curry’s Golden State Warriors (9-8) and Luka Doncic’s Dallas Mavericks (8-9).

A word too for the Houston Rockets who despite losing James Harden, have won their last three games to improve to 7-9 and they are also not out of the reckoning in this division just yet.

Western Conference Betting Odds & Our Pick

The Lakers have been the consistent favourites to win the western since the season began and nothing has happened in the opening month of the season to change that. I do think they will finish top of this conference and at 6/5, they still offer better than even money betting to win it.

For an outside each way bet, I think the Utah Jazz (17/2) could be a decent pick to perhaps pip the Clippers to second spot in the conference.

Remember, the top eight teams in each conference go forward into the playoffs to decide who are the NBA Champions.

NBA Championship 2021 – Contenders & Our Pick

The big movers in this market have been the Brooklyn Nets who have come in to 7/2 to b e second favourites to win the title just behind the Lakers. That is exclusively based on more money being bet on them thanks to that trade for Harden.

Outside of the two front-runners in this market, I think the Philadelphia 76ers are a decent each way shout at 16/1. I do feel that the eastern conference is the one that could see a tam follow the surprise of Miami Heat last season reaching the final.

As such, my tip to back outright here would be the Milwaukee Bucks at 13/2. They dominated the east last season before faltering in the playoffs, due chiefly to an injury to their NBA MVP last season Giannis Antetokounmpo. If Giannis can stay fit this time around into the playoffs, then the Bucks are a match for anyone.

*All odds shown were correct with bet365 Sport as of 9.10am on Wednesday 27th January 2021.

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