The Nets have suspended Kyrie Irving until he receives the Covid-19 vaccine, which could take days, weeks, months, or never happen. Yet the uncertainty around the starting guard isn’t hurting Brooklyn’s futures odds as much as you’d think.
All the major sportsbooks list Brooklyn as the most-likely team to win the 2022 NBA championship, with sites like DraftKings even increasing their odds from +210 when the line first opened to +205.
So what does this mean and how should you interpret it?
- Nobody knows how long Irving will hold out on getting vaccinated, but for now, he’s adamant about his stance and has even taken to Instagram Live to explain why
- There is some belief that his resistance won’t last long. An oddsmaker from SuperBook told Action Network, “I would be surprised if he fights it all year,” and even left the line for Brooklyn’s Christmas Day game against the Lakers unchanged despite Irving’s questionable availability
- Irving or not, the Nets still have two of the best 10 players in the world. Kevin Durant and James Harden can and have led this group, as Brooklyn was 12-6 without Irving in 2020-21
- Losing Irving made a difference for Brooklyn’s offense last year, but not by as wide of a margin as anticipated. Their 116.6 offensive rating in those 18 games would’ve ranked eighth-best in the leagueWhen reflecting on last season’s stats, it’s important to remember how injuries played a factor, though. Harden played just 44 games in the regular season and was injured for the playoffs, and Durant played just 36 games. The Nets are loaded up top, but depth is a cause for concern that’s now worsened
- Brooklyn made a big signing for Patty Mills, the backup point guard who averaged 11 points in 25 minutes last season. He isn’t as talented as Irving, but has the experience to step in
Irving’s status has moved Durant up the board for MVP
Without Irving, Durant is going to assume a larger offensive workload, and that’s increased his MVP odds. In July, the line sat at +700 on Sports Betting Dime, and it’s since moved to +625.
Luka Doncic’s odds lead the way at +440, which feels high considering his team finished just 11 games over .500 last year. Giannis Antetokounmpo’s odds to earn his third MVP in four years are +750, Joel Embiid’s sit at +800, and Stephen Curry’s are +800.
Tip of the day
Predicting Irving’s next move is impossible, but anticipating the worst is crucial for the safety of your wager. The Nets’ health will play a big factor for whether or not they can secure a championship this season, and losing Irving for any amount of time stings. The Lakers’ future odds sit at +400, Warriors and Bucks at +900, and Suns at +1500 — and they’ll all start the season with their best players.