NBA Season Begins with Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics as Title Favorites

Posted on: October 24, 2023, 09:46h. 

Last updated on: October 24, 2023, 11:23h.

The NBA regular season tips off Tuesday night, as the Denver Nuggets begin their title defense. Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics and Milwaukee Bucks are betting cofavorites to win the NBA championship at +400 odds.

Damian Lillard Milwaukee Bucks
Milwaukee Bucks point guard Damian Lillard drives by Los Angeles Lakers forward Taurean Prince during his preseason debut with his new team. (Image: Getty)

The Nuggets are +550 odds to repeat, and the Phoenix Suns are a close fourth at +650 odds on DraftKings’ futures board.

2023-24 NBA Championship Odds

Milwaukee Bucks +400
Boston Celtics +400
Denver Nuggets +550
Phoenix Suns +650
Los Angeles Lakers +1200
Golden State Warriors +1300
Philadelphia 76ers +1800
LA Clippers +1800
Dallas Mavericks +2200
Miami Heat +2800
Memphis Grizzlies +3000
Cleveland Cavaliers +3000
New Orleans Pelicans +5000
New York Knicks +5000
Sacramento Kings +5500
Minnesota Timberwolves +7000
Atlanta Hawks +7500
Oklahoma City Thunder +8000
Brooklyn Nets +13000
Toronto Raptors +15000
Chicago Bulls +20000
Indiana Pacers +30000
Orlando Magic +40000
Houston Rockets +40000
San Antonio Spurs +50000
Portland Trail Blazers +50000
Utah Jazz +50000
Charlotte Hornets +50000
Detroit Pistons +60000
Washington Wizards +100000

At the beginning of last season, the Nuggets were eighth on the futures board at +1800 odds to win the 2022-23 NBA Championship. The Miami Heat, last season’s runner-up, was ranked #10 in the preseason at +2200 odds to win the NBA Championship

In the last four seasons, neither of the teams that reached the NBA Finals in the previous year returned to the finals in the following season.

Milwaukee Bucks +400

The Bucks parted ways with head coach Mike Budenholzer after a first-round playoff exit last season. They hired rookie head coach Adrian Griffin, a top assistant with the Toronto Raptors, to replace Budenholzer.

The Bucks recently inked Giannis “Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo to a contract extension. That’s after he politely threatened to leave in free agency if the team didn’t demonstrate they were serious about making another title run. In the off-season, they acquired all-star point guard Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers in one of the biggest blockbuster trades.

The Bucks said goodbye to Jrue Holiday, their top perimeter defender, to pull off the trade for Lillard. They sacrificed an important part of their defense to vastly improve their outside shooting and overall playmaking with Lillard.

The Bucks were at +850 odds to win the NBA championship before the Lillard trade and emerged as co-favorites with the Celtics after the trade at +400 odds.

Boston Celtics +400

The Celtics were extremely active in the offseason, essentially rebuilding a new team around the dynamic duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown. They traded point guard Marcus Smart, the former defensive player of the year, to the Memphis Grizzlies to facilitate a three-team deal with the Washington Wizards that sent them center Kristaps “Unicorn” Porzingis.

The Celtics were quick to take Holiday off the hands of the Trail Blazers. They acquired Holiday in exchange for backup point guard Malcolm Brogdon and center Robert Williams III. They also traded forward Grant Williams to the Dallas Mavericks.

The Celtics have a thin bench, but a powerful starting five, so long as the Unicorn remains healthy.

The Celtics advanced to the NBA Finals two seasons ago, but only a portion of that postseason roster remains intact at the start of this season. Despite the revamped roster, Tatum and Brown remain the heart and soul of the Celtics. The Celtics are cofavorites with the Bucks to win the NBA Championship at +400 odds.

Denver Nuggets +550

The Nuggets will attempt to become the first team in five seasons to win back-to-back NBA championships. All-star center Nikola Jokic skipped the 2023 FIBA World Cup and didn’t play for Serbia so he could rest up after leading the Nuggets to their first NBA Championship.

In previous seasons, point guard Jamal Murray and forward Michael Porter, Jr. were injury liabilities. Still, both starters were healthy last season, one of the primary reasons they won a title.

The starting five returns, but their bench is a little thin, with veterans Bruce Brown and Jeff Green moving on via free agency.

The Nuggets are +550 odds to pull off a repeat. They’re third overall on the futures board, but represent the top team from the West.

Phoenix Suns +650

The Suns were sold in the middle of last season and added Kevin Durant in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets. They fired beloved head coach Monty Williams after another disappointing postseason exit. Williams now coaches the Detroit Pistons, and the Suns brought Frank Vogel to replace him.

The Suns made several seismic roster moves in the postseason. Teams had been trying to acquire All-Star guard Bradley Beal from the Washington Wizards for several seasons. The Suns finally made the Wizards an offer they couldn’t refuse, and they added Beal in a big trade that included veteran point guard Chris Paul.

The Suns parted ways with center Deandre Ayton. They traded the former #1 pick in the draft to the Portland Trail Blazers as the third team in the Lillard trade to the Bucks. The Suns added center Jusuf Nurkic and bolstered their bench with forward Nassir Little and guard Grayson Allen in the blockbuster Lillard trade.

The Big 3 in Phoenix revolves around shooting guard Devin Booker, Durant, and Beal.

The Suns are +650 odds to win the championship, and they’re the fourth team on the NBA futures board behind the Bucks, Celtics, and Nuggets.

LA Lakers +1200

LeBron James will suit up for his 21st season in the NBA when the Lakers meet the Nuggets to tip off the season on Tuesday night. The Lakers know this might be their last chance to win another title with James and Anthony Davis.

Shooting guard Austin Reaves emerged as a fan favorite in Hollywood and a legitimate perimeter threat for the Lakers.

The Lakers got hot in last year’s playoffs after they finally traded point guard Russell Westbrook to end a tumultuous chapter in their history. They also acquired forward Rui Hachimura, point guard D’Angelo Russell, and power forward Jared Vanderbilt at the trade deadline. Their new squad secured the #7 seed via the Western Conference Play-In Tournament and advanced to the conference finals before they were swept by the Nuggets.

The Lakers are a team popular with bettors. They are +1200 odds to win the title this season and fifth on the futures board at DraftKings.

Golden State Warriors +1300

This season in the Bay Area has “Last Dance” vibes surrounding the Golden State Warriors. This could be the last season that features the holy trinity of Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

The Warriors are another popular team that the public loves to bet on. They’re the sixth team on the futures board at +1300 to win the championship.

The Warriors made a polarizing off-season acquisition when they added Chris Paul in a trade with the Wizards after the Suns swapped the veteran point guard for Beal. In one of his first major moves as the new general manager, Mike Dunleavy Jr. grabbed Paul.

The Warriors moved on from guard Jordan Poole, involved in a practice spat with Green last season. The two supposedly squashed their beef, yet the Warriors jettisoned their rising star for one more chance to win a title with their core three.

Meanwhile, Paul enters his 19th season in the NBA, still chasing his first ring.