What are the odds? Even having to go through play-in Nets still among title favorites

Mar 29, 2022; Brooklyn, New York, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) high fives forward Kevin Durant (7) during the second quarter against the Detroit Pistons at Barclays Center. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

Han Solo famously said “never tell me the odds,” but even after what has been one of the most chaotic seasons in some time for the Nets their odds to win an NBA title are still third-best in the league going into the play-in tournament.

The Nets will face the Cleveland Cavaliers on Tuesday in the 7-8 matchup in the play-in round and need just one win to qualify for the playoffs. The winner of the No.7 vs.  No. 8 matchup automatically becomes the seventh seed in the playoffs and would face the Boston Celtics, who finished as the second-best team in the East this season.

If the Nets were to lose, they’d play the winner of the 9-10 matchup and whichever team won would be seeded eighth in the playoffs.

Of all eight teams — four in the East and four in the West — in the play-in tournament, the Nets have the best title odds at +600, per DraftKings Sportsbook. Having to go through the Celtics or Miami Heat would make the road a bit tougher, but the Nets would avoid playing the Milwaukee Bucks right out of the gate.

The Nets’ chances also give Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving intriguing odds for Finals MVP odds. Durant enters the play-in round a +900 to take home his third career NBA Finals MVP award and Kyrie Irving is a +1500 to win the award.

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Among the other play-in round teams, the Los Angeles Clippers have the second-best odds at +3500 and the San Antonio Spurs have the worst odds at +100000.

Brooklyn has gone through the wringer this season between injuries, COVID and trades. They didn’t have Irving for a third of the year because of his unvaccinated status, they lost sharpshooter Joe Harris in November and then the team was struck by COVID in mid-December. The biggest blow came when the Nets lost Durant for 21 games in January and saw the team drop 11 straight during that stretch.

The Nets finished the season winning four straight and 12 of their last 17 games. Durant and Irving have traded big performances which have renewed hope that they could make a run in the playoffs and there continue to be whispers that Ben Simmons could be ready to play when the first round of the playoffs begins.