The Milwaukee Bucks last week leapfrogged the Boston Celtics in the NBA futures market, solidifying themselves as the championship favorites for the 2023-24 season by acquiring Damian Lillard from the Portland Trail Blazers.
Well, Milwaukee’s time atop the betting board was short-lived, as Boston’s response — a blockbuster trade with Portland for Jrue Holiday — made a predictable impact on the odds.
The Celtics and Bucks were co-favorites to win the Eastern Conference and the 2024 NBA title at FanDuel Sportsbook as of Monday evening, with +175 and +380 odds in those respective markets.
Same goes for DraftKings Sportsbook, where the Celtics and Bucks both had +180 odds to win the East and +400 odds to hoist the Larry O’Brien Trophy.
This speaks to the competitive nature of the ongoing arms race in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics shuffled the deck earlier in the offseason by swapping Marcus Smart for Kristaps Porzingis as part of a three-team trade. But that was just the tip of the iceberg. Milwaukee’s big swing for Lillard shook the NBA to its core, only for Boston to answer in resounding fashion by acquiring Holiday, one of the players the Bucks surrendered to land Lillard.
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Who will be better when the dust settles? It’s tough to tell. And the odds obviously reflect that. While Lillard joining two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is scary for the rest of the league, the Celtics can feel good about a starting five comprised of Holiday, Jaylen Brown, Jayson Tatum, Al Horford and Porzingis, with Derrick White coming off the bench.
The reigning NBA champion Denver Nuggets were next on the betting board Monday, with +550 odds to win the title at FanDuel and +500 odds to win the ‘ship at DraftKings.
The Phoenix Suns, who added Bradley Beal this offseason, also were +550 to win the NBA title at FanDuel. They were +600 at DraftKings.