Phoenix Suns co-favorites with Warriors in NBA title odds after All-Star break

Feb 24, 2022, 7:39 AM
Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns talks with Chris Paul #3 and Devin Booker #1 during t...
Head coach Monty Williams of the Phoenix Suns talks with Chris Paul #3 and Devin Booker #1 during the second half of the NBA game against the Charlotte Hornets at Footprint Center on December 19, 2021 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Who knows why the switch was flipped now, but the Phoenix Suns are starting to get respect from the bookmakers.

FanDuel’s odds for the teams to win the NBA championship this season have the Suns at +410, co-favorites alongside the Golden State Warriors at the same odds. The Brooklyn Nets sit behind them at +550, followed by the Milwaukee Bucks (+650), Philadelphia 76ers (+750) and Miami Heat (+1000).

Those numbers seem to support the thinking that the Western Conference is a two-horse race, as the Utah Jazz at +1500 have the third-best odds after the Suns and the Warriors.

Phoenix initially opened the season at somewhere around +1500 depending on where you looked. Even after the midway point of the NBA season, though, Vegas wasn’t quite ready to back the Suns (48-10) at the top until a shift occurred in mid-February to at least have Phoenix as co-favorites at most sportsbooks.

The odds hold for the Suns after the news that point guard Chris Paul will be re-evaluated in six-to-eight weeks due to a thumb injury.

Oddsmakers have traditionally given the benefit of the doubt to teams with high-end star power and past championship precedence, which is why Golden State (42-17) sits alongside the Suns despite Phoenix clearly performing as the best team in the NBA to this point.

With that in mind, the Nets and Lakers both were designated as Vegas’ clear favorites coming into the year thanks to Brooklyn’s superteam Big Three and Los Angeles having LeBron James and Anthony Davis. That’s despite the Suns and Bucks returning nearly all of their key pieces after making the NBA Finals.

The Lakers (27-31) saw their odds slightly raise over the first half of the year until it became clear their struggles were real and there was no saving grace coming at the trade deadline. FanDuel now has Los Angeles at +4200, the seventh-best title odds in the West.

As for the Nets, the big news to drop on Wednesday was that New York City mayor Eric Adams said the city plans to phase out of its vaccine mandate in the coming weeks. That would allow unvaccinated point guard Kyrie Irving to play all home games in Brooklyn for the postseason.

The Nets initially ruled Irving wouldn’t be able to join the team before changing their mind and allowing the seven-time All-Star to begin playing road fixtures in January. Vegas’ odds never landed in a space that suggested Irving would miss parts of the postseason due to the mandate because, well, Vegas knows all.

Brooklyn (31-28) traded one of those Big Three at the trade deadline, James Harden, to the Philadelphia 76ers at the deadline in exchange for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond. The Nets will hope that shifts their momentum while Kevin Durant (MCL sprain) heals up, as their 11-game losing streak was snapped with a win on Feb. 14.

Simmons, who hasn’t played all year, is ramping up toward his debut for the Nets and a timeline on his return is unknown.

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