LAS VEGAS — With three superstars who are typically polarizing personalities, the Nets would possibly not be America’s favourite NBA crew. Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving encourage a mixture of love and hate.
During an eventful weekend in Boston, the Nets had been showered with boos and a bottle tossed from the stands at Irving.
But the weekend additionally confirmed one thing else — when the Nets are scorching, their offensive firepower is unmatched, so there are a couple of the explanation why Brooklyn is the betting favourite and the crew to beat because the playoffs transfer towards the second spherical.
“The Nets are going to be power-rated No. 1,” mentioned Jeff Sherman, lead NBA oddsmaker on the Westgate SuperBook.
BetMGM lists the Nets as odds-on favorites to win the Eastern Conference at -105 and NBA title favorites at 2/1.
It’s a a lot completely different story with the Knicks, who took a pair of double-digit losses in Atlanta and face an elimination recreation Wednesday on the Garden. The Hawks maintain a 3-1 lead and are priced as -1,400 favorites within the sequence on the Westgate.
“The Knicks are cooked,” Sherman mentioned. “Julius Randle is a good player, but he played over his head this season. When Derrick Rose is your second-best player at this stage of his career, that’s not the sign of a really good team. I don’t think the Knicks have enough offensive weapons to keep up with the Hawks.”
Offense is rarely an issue for the Nets, who shredded the Celtics in a 141-126 win on Sunday. Durant scored 42 factors, Irving added 39 and Harden completed with 23 factors and 18 assists. Durant, Irving and Harden turned the primary threesome in NBA historical past to attain 95 or extra factors in back-to-back playoff video games.
Rotation depth and protection are a few the Nets’ apparent weaknesses, however their scoring energy might be sufficient to place them excessive.
“Maybe defense doesn’t matter for the Nets,” mentioned VSiN senior NBA analyst Jonathan Von Tobel, who famous Boston averaged 130.1 factors per 100 possessions in Games 3 and 4 however nonetheless posted a -4.7 internet score as a result of Nets dropping a 134.7 offensive effectivity mark over these two video games.
After knocking out the Celtics, the Nets will get a real take a look at in a showdown in opposition to Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks, who swept the Heat within the first spherical. Sherman mentioned he plans to open Brooklyn, which holds home-court benefit because the East’s No. 2 seed, as a -200 sequence favourite over Milwaukee.
“The Celtics are shorthanded and they have no chance,” Sherman mentioned. “I upped my power rating on the Bucks. I also think the Sixers can give the Nets a good series, but the Nets would be favored over the Sixers.”
If the Nets advance to the East finals, Philadelphia is the doubtless opponent. The 76ers have a frontcourt stud, Joel Embiid, who may expose one other Nets weak point.
“Durant is impossible to stop, and Harden is out there running the point and he’s a tough guy to guard,” DraftKings sportsbook director John Avello mentioned. “But I think there are teams out there that are better. The Bucks are a dangerous team.”
On the BetMGM odds board, the second selection within the East is Milwaukee (+250), adopted by Philadelphia (+280) and Atlanta (30/1). The crew to beat within the East is apparent.
Or is it?
“If you listen to [the media], it’s the Nets,” William Hill e book director Nick Bogdanovich mentioned. “But I don’t believe it is because I believe it’s wide open. The Bucks and Sixers are playing lights out.”
The Nets’ star energy interprets to betting motion. Sherman mentioned Westgate took a $50,000 wager on Brooklyn to win the NBA championship at +275 earlier than the playoffs.
The Lakers are the second option to win the title at 5/1. However, Anthony Davis’ unsure status with a groin harm has the Lakers tangled in what’s now a decide ’em first-round sequence in opposition to the resurgent Suns.
“Davis’ injury changes the complexion in the West,” Sherman mentioned. “Now the Clippers are coming back. These things are so fluid. What I say today could be different the next day.”
Sherman will not say the Knicks are getting back from a two-game sequence deficit. Von Tobel wager on the Hawks earlier than the sequence and his cash nonetheless is on Trae Young.
“The Hawks shot a combined 47.7 percent on 65 attempts from 3 in Games 3 and 4, and in their three series wins the Hawks have shot 43.4 percent from beyond the arc,” Von Tobel mentioned. “Many of those 3-point attempts have been wide open, something that has been an issue for the Knicks’ defense, which ranked 28th in frequency of wide-open attempts from 3-point range in the regular season.”
Few bettors can be prepared to take a shot on the Knicks’ 150/1 odds to win the East.
“The Knicks had a great year,” Avello mentioned, “and they can build on that for next season.”