LAS VEGAS – The Los Angeles Lakers and Denver Nuggets are now co-favorites to win the NBA championship, according to several sportsbooks in Las Vegas.
The Lakers moved up to the favorite position at 3/1 after the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Boston Celtics, 115-103, to take a 3-2 series lead with the potential to close-out their semifinal series in Philadelphia in Game 6. The Nuggets joined the Lakers as co-favorites at 3/1 when they defeated the Phoenix Suns, 118-102, to take a 3-2 series lead in their semifinal matchup.
Following the Lakers and Nuggets at 3/1, are the 76ers at 7/2, Celtics at 4/1, Miami Heat at 12/1, Phoenix Suns at 14/1, Golden State Warriors at 20/1 and New York Knicks at 150/1.
This is the first time in nearly two years that the Lakers have been the favorites to win the NBA championship.
Before this season started, the Lakers’ odds of winning the championship were +2200. Their longest odds during the season were 200/1 in November when they started the season 2-10. The Nuggets, the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, have been consistently one of the favorites to win the West and compete for a championship this season.
The Lakers were 33-49 and missed the playoffs last year and were 25-31 this season and trending in the same direction before the NBA trade deadline where they revamped their roster and added D’Angelo Russell, Jared Vanderbilt, Rui Hachimura, Malik Beasley and Mo Bamba. Since then, the Lakers have been one of the best teams in the NBA.
The Lakers took a 3-1 series lead in the Western Conference semifinals against the defending champion Warriors on Monday and have not lost a game at home since the end of March.
If the Lakers and Nuggets do meet in the Western Conference Finals, it would be a rematch of their battle in 2020, which took place in the Orlando bubble during the pandemic. The Lakers won that series in five games and went on to beat the Heat to win their 17th championship in six games. The Heat advanced to the Finals that year after beating the Celtics in six games. All four teams are still alive in this year’s postseason.