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Dame Time Heads to Milwaukee: Miami's Odds Plummet

Mark Strotman for Bookies.com

Mark Strotman  | 4 mins

Dame Time Heads to Milwaukee: Miami's Odds Plummet

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The monthslong Damian Lillard Sweepstakes are finally over—with a surprise winner. The seven-time All-Star and NBA Top 75 member is headed to Milwaukee—not Miami—to join Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks, vaulting the league’s best duo to the top of the NBA futures odds list. 

The Bucks are now +390 favorites on DraftKings to win their second championship in four years, ahead of the defending champion Denver Nuggets (+475) and the Boston Celtics (+500).

Bucks Odds Shorten Across The Board

It’s no surprise that NBA betting oddsmakers are bullish on the Bucks after acquiring Lillard, who averaged a career-best 32.3 points per game in 58 games with the Blazers last season. 

That included a career-best 4.2 3-pointers per game (third behind the Splash Brothers), and he now joins a Bucks offense the fourth-most 3-point attempts in the league.

Though Milwaukee lost one of the league’s best defenders in Jrue Holiday and unheralded role player Grayson Allen, the chance to bring on Lillard was simply too good to pass up. Add in Khris Middleton and the Bucks should flirt with the NBA’s top offense, which slipped to 15th last season after three consecutive years in the top-7 each of the last four years (including first in 2019 and 2020).

In addition to now being the title favorites at betting apps, Milwaukee is also the favorite to win the inaugural In-Season Tournament (+850) and to earn the top seed in the East (+125). Their season-long win total set at 54.5 is tied for the highest in the NBA along with Boston.

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Heat’s Failures Show In Their Odds Tumble

Milwaukee was the clear winner of the Lillard Sweepstakes, and the Heat were on the opposing end. Lillard’s request to be traded to South Beach never formalized—and Miami’s title odds suffered mightily because of it. 

They had inched as high as +1000 when it was thought that they were the frontrunners to add a core of Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo, but they’re now just +2800 on DraftKings to win the NBA Finals. That’s down with the likes of the Grizzlies (+2800) and Cavaliers (+3000).

Miami could certainly still make moves—and Jrue Holiday is expected to be on the move from rebuilding Portland—but it’s a gut punch for a team that made the NBA Finals last season and could have used Lillard’s scoring after ranking 25th in offensive efficiency.

They’re still the favorites in the putrid Southeast Division (-180), but it seems unlikely that their current roster will be able to play in the same class as the heavyweights in Milwaukee, Boston, and Philadelphia.

For those keeping score at home, the Blazers are +25000 to win the NBA Finals after dealing Lillard. Those odds are seventh-worst and hold no value as they look to the future.

How Will Giannis and Lillard Co-Exist?

It’s possible to win MVP and make All-Pro teams playing alongside another superstar, and oddsmakers didn’t shift Giannis’ odds all that much in the wake of the Lillard trade. 

Giannis currently has +550 odds to win his third MVP, trailing only Nikola Jokic (+450) and Luka Doncic. He’s also +140 to make First Team All-NBA, something he’s done each of the last five seasons.

Lillard will be playing second fiddle for the first time in his Hall of Fame career, so it’s anyone’s guess as to how he’ll perform in the role. Oddsmakers have him at +2200 to win MVP—he’s never finished higher than fourth—but there may be value for him to win the Clutch Player of the Year award. 

Known for making some of the biggest shots in recent league history, his +1400 odds trail only Luka Doncic (+1200), Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+1200), and last year’s winner DeAaron Fox (+1200).

The Lillard trade will also thrust first-year head coach Adrian Griffin even more into the spotlight. His +700 odds to win NBA Coach of the Year trail only Oklahoma City’s Mark Daigneault (+650). 

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About the Author

Mark Strotman for Bookies.com
Mark Strotman
Mark is a veteran sports betting journalist who has covered the Bulls and the NBA since 2012. His work has appeared on ESPN.com, FoxSports.com, The Chicago Tribune and Yahoo Sports. He regularly provides NBA betting picks, as well as in-depth sportsbook reviews and the latest promo codes for all the major sports gambling operators, including Caesars Sportsbook, BetMGM, DraftKings, FanDuel and more.