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Mark Strotman for Bookies.com

By Mark Strotman | | 12 mins

How NBA Title Odds Changed Based On Free Agency

How NBA Title Odds Changed Based On Free Agency
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Kevin Durant’s and Kyrie Irving’s trade demands have stolen NBA headlines over the last few weeks, making it easy to forget that we’re a week into NBA free agency. And though there weren’t any major surprises—Jalen Brunson was the best player to sign with a new team—there was plenty of action across both conferences, including trades and rumors that have swung 2023 NBA title odds.

Here’s a look at the top six current contenders, how their odds have shifted since free agency (and the KD/Kyrie rumors) began, and what other factors could shift those odds one way or the other prior to the start of training camp. Note that title odds differ pretty significantly based on the operator at this point in the offseason, so shop around at different sports betting apps if you’re looking to place a bet.

NBA Title Odds Before & After Free Agency

TeamTitle Odds Before FATitle Odds Now
Boston Celtics+600 +500
Milwaukee Bucks+600 +550
Phoenix Suns+1000 +650
LA Clippers+650 +700
Golden State Warriors+600 +700
LA Lakers+2500 +1200

Odds courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook and accurate as of publication

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Boston Celtics

Title Odds Before Free Agency: +600

Title Odds Now: +500

There’s a new title favorite on betting sites—at least until the Nets find a landing spot for Durant. But the Celtics decided not to rest on the results of last year’s NBA Finals appearance. Instead, they landed point guard Malcolm Brogdon in a trade with the Pacers and signed Danilo Gallinari. Both should provide a scoring punch that Boston was lacking at times in the postseason—the C’s were 14th in this year’s postseason in bench points per game (22.5, trailing only Chicago and Philadelphia).

They’re also bringing back their entire core, including superstar Jayson Tatum and All-Star Jaylen Brown. At 24 and 25, respectively, they’re not even close to their full potential. If they make jumps again, they’re easily the team to beat in the East. The defending East champs making arguably the best moves in the conference? Sounds like the title favorite to us.

Milwaukee Bucks

Title Odds Before Free Agency: +600

Title Odds Now: +550

The Bucks’ title odds didn’t improve all that much over the last few weeks, but that shouldn’t detract NBA futures bettors from considering them. Their free agency went swimmingly, re-signing Bobby Portis and Wes Matthews while adding Joe Ingles on a one-year deal. Milwaukee’s season will always hinge on the health of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jrue Holiday, but it’s nice to see the supporting cast taking shape once again.

Let’s not forget that Milwaukee won the title in 2021 and took the Celtics to seven games without Middleton. Giannis is also somehow getting better. The Bucks aren’t going anywhere, and there actually may be some value here considering how quietly they’ve gone about their business this offseason. They’re bringing back the same core that won a title two seasons ago.

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Phoenix Suns

Title Odds Before Free Agency: +1000

Title Odds Now: +650

There’s an expectation here that the Suns are the overwhelming NBA betting favorites to trade for Durant. They could include Deandre Ayton in a sign-and-trade and attach budding star Mikal Bridges in a potential deal. Phoenix has all of its draft picks to offer a Brooklyn team that sent a bundle of picks to Houston in the 2021 James Harden deal. Durant reportedly wants to be in Phoenix, which goes a long way in today’s player-driven league. At this point, we’d be surprised if KD isn’t with the Suns this summer.

Assuming Devin Booker and Chris Paul are not part of the deal, a trio of those two and a peaking Durant is absolutely lethal. It’d be the best in basketball and it wouldn’t be close. GM James Jones has shown the ability to build deep teams around his stars, and we have no doubt he could reload and replace whatever pieces went out the door in a KD deal. Exciting times for Arizona sports betting fans.

How NBA Title Odds Changed Based On Free Agency 1

LA Clippers

Title Odds Before Free Agency: +650

Title Odds Now: +700

Oddsmakers certainly believe in John Wall, that’s for sure. The former All-Star was bought out of his contract with the Rockets and promptly signed with the Clippers. It vaulted LA up the title odds chart for good reason—if Wall is healthy. He will turn 32 in September and hasn’t played in two of the last three seasons since tearing his Achilles heel. What does he have left in the tank? We’ll find out.

The other X-factor here, of course, is the return of Kawhi Leonard. The two-time Finals MVP missed all of last season with a torn ACL but is expected to be ready for training camp. That gives LA a quartet of Leonard, Wall, Paul George and Reggie Jackson. Quietly, but importantly, the Clips also brought back Nicolas Batum and Amir Coffey to solidify a solid bench unit.

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Golden State Warriors

Title Odds Before Free Agency: +600

Title Odds Now: +700

On one hand, the Warriors lost Nemanja Bjelica, Juan Toscano-Anderson and Gary Payton II. On the other hand, Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, Andrew Wiggins, Jordan Poole and Draymond Green return as the defending champions and look ready to contend for a repeat. Golden State was able to bring back Kevon Looney in free agency, and there’s an expectation that their young trio of Jonathan Kuminga, Moses Moody and James Wiseman will mature into even more consistent contributors.

There are rumors about Durant landing back in Golden State, but reputable beat writers in the Bay Area have suggested it’s highly unlikely. They won’t need him to maintain their spot near the top of this list. If Curry is healthy, the Warriors have a chance. It’s that simple.

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LA Lakers

Title Odds Before Free Agency: +2500

Title Odds Now: +1200

No team has seen their NBA championship odds shrink this summer as much as the Lakers, who are now the most likely destination for Kyrie Irving. Russell Westbrook almost certainly would be in the deal, giving Los Angeles a new three-headed monster of LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Irving. That’s title-worthy, especially considering LeBron, Kyrie and Kevin Love were good enough to win a ring in Cleveland in 2016.

The Lakers also quietly retooled their bench by agreeing to deals with Lonnie Walker IV, Damian Jones, Troy Brown and Juan Toscano-Anderson. Those aren’t game-changers, but they’re a breath of fresh air based on last year’s woeful reserves. If and when Irving joins the Lakers, the Lakers will be back in contention in the West.

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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.