Nets vault to East favorites with James Harden

The Brooklyn Nets shot to the position of Eastern Conference favorites shortly after reportedly acquiring eight-time All-Star James Harden on Wednesday.

Brooklyn opened at +1500 by PointsBet to win the 2021 NBA title. Those odds shortened to +600 by the start of the season on Dec. 22 and lengthened a bit to +650 by Tuesday with the Nets at 6-6 ahead of a game against the New York Knicks.

However, those odds were slashed by more than half after the Harden news broke, with the Nets now being offered at +300, behind only the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers (+275). Brooklyn is being backed by 23 percent of the total bets at PointsBet, ahead of the Lakers at 21 percent.

The story is similar at FanDuel, where Brooklyn went from +600 before the Harden reports to +270, just behind the Lakers at +260. The Nets were being offered at +1300 in October.

“The Lakers will remain the favorites as Brooklyn will have to prove they can jell together and become a championship team,” said John Sheeran, from FanDuel’s Risk and Trading Team. “But if the Nets are all healthy and playing well, the acquisition of Harden could see the Nets favored over the Lakers in an NBA Finals matchup.”

The Nets are currently second in handle and bet count in NBA title bets at FanDuel. One FanDuel bettor placed a $1,900 bet on the Nets at +1000 in October that would pay $20,900 should Brooklyn go on to win the title.

Brooklyn beat New York 116-109 on Wednesday to tie for fifth place in the Eastern Conference, but the Nets (7-6) are only 1 1/2 games behind the Boston Celtics (7-3), Philadelphia 76ers (8-4) and Milwaukee Bucks (8-4), who share the conference lead. The 76ers reportedly were the other team in the final mix of Harden trade discussion with the Houston Rockets.

The Nets are now being offered at +120 to win the Eastern Conference by FanDuel, ahead of the Bucks (+250), 76ers (+700), Celtics (+750) and Miami Heat (+750).

DraftKings was still updating NBA title outright winner odds Wednesday night, but the sportsbook did report that one bettor made a 45-cent, five-pick parlay with a potential $1,529 payout that included the Nets at +500.

The picks:

–Colorado Avalanche to win the Stanley Cup (+650)

–Brooklyn Nets to win the NBA championship (+500)

–Gonzaga to win the NCAA Tournament (+350)

–Los Angeles Dodgers to win the World Series (+450)

–Kansas City Chiefs to win the Super Bowl (+205)

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