The NBA is one of the biggest sports leagues in the world, and even if you don't support any of the teams competing, trying to guess which one will come on top is a great way to maintain interest. The NBA stands for National Basketball Association, the world's premier professional basketball league, located in the United States. Every year, the greatest basketball players on the planet compete for the NBA Championship over the course of a season. There are 30 teams in the running for the prize, and they're divided into Eastern and Western conferences. Fans are particularly excited for this season as it marks a routine to the old October-April schedule after several years of disruption caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.
The 2021/22 season begins on October 19 and will return to a full 82-game calendar for the first time since the 2018-19 season. It is scheduled to end on April 10, 2022. For teams who narrowly missed out on securing a playoff spot in the regular season, the play-in tournament runs from April 12-15. As the NBA explains it, 'the teams with the seventh-highest and eighth-highest winning percentages in each conference will each have two opportunities to win one game to earn a playoff spot.
The teams with the ninth-highest and tenth-highest winning percentages in each conference will each have to win two consecutive games to earn a playoff spot.' The playoffs will kick off one day after, on April 16, and end on May 30. The eight teams with the most wins from each conference compete in these games to decide who advances to the eventual final. The playoffs keep clubs split in their conferences before the two winners compete for the overall championship in the NBA Finals best-of-seven matches. The Finals will take place from June 2-19.
The current NBA champions are the Milwaukee Bucks. They made it to the finals last year after defeating the Atlanta Hawks in the Eastern Finals. Their Western counterparts were the Phoenix Suns, who made it to that stage after dispatching the LA Clippers in the Western Finals. Despite losing the first two matches of the series, the Bucks overturned the deficit - becoming only the fifth team in NBA Finals history to overturn a two-game deficit - to win the Finals 4-2. It was their second NBA championship, arriving 50 years after their first.
The Bucks' quality deserves to be respected, but their name is not the first that comes to mind for the casual NBA fan. Franchises that might pop up sooner include legendary teams like the Chicago Bulls, Boston Celtics, San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Lakers. There is no shortage of contenders in this year's competition, with clubs like the Miami Heat spending big on reinforcements. The Heat brought Duncan Robinson back to his old stomping ground on a five-year contract worth $90 million, the biggest ever amount for an undrafted player. It's an open race, which means that there are plenty of opportunities for punters to take advantage. Few sports capture the end-to-end quality of a sporting contest like basketball, which is why it's one of the most beloved games in the world.
Whether or not you're a basketball fan, you already know that research for sports betting involves familiarising yourself with relevant statistics. One thing you need to know about basketball is that it favours teams with attacking strength. The emphasis is on scoring points, meaning that teams set up defensively rarely come out on top. However, there are exceptions to the rule. It's always helpful to look at the previous edition of a sporting competition to understand how this one may pan out, and it's no different with the NBA. The Bucks have a serious star on their hands in 'Greek Freak' Giannis Antetokounmpo. He became the first player in NBA Finals history to average more than 30 points, ten rebounds and five assists on 60% shooting; a hell of a feat. On that run to a championship victory, Giannis made five brilliant blocks against the Phoenix Suns in a legendary individual performance. He's a game-changer. Punters need to watch power players like him closely as they can swing games.
Home advantage is crucial in the NBA, more than any other sport in North America. Over the history of the league, home teams have won around 62% of games. This stat has been affected somewhat in recent seasons by the fact that there have been no fans in attendance. However, fans will be back this season, so we believe that factoring in the home team is essential before placing any bet. If you can't decide which team to get behind ahead of a big game, ask yourself what are the closest landmarks to the venue, and that may swing your vote. Ultimately, remember to consult Wincomparator's resident betting experts before making any wager.
The Milwaukee Bucks have outstanding balance within their side, with players like Giannis capable of settling close games. They captured the 2020/21 title by defeating the LA Clippers 4-2 in the finals series, and bookies have placed them among the favourites for this campaign. However, several teams at shorter prices show the value in backing the Bucks. The Clippers are up there, with the re-signed Kawhi Leonard hoping to lead the redemption charge after they were eliminated in the playoffs last time out. And with the 20-21 NBA MVP, Nikola Jovic, in their ranks, the Denver Nuggets can't be dismissed as contenders either.