- BetOnline has the Clippers (+400) and Lakers (+450) installed as NBA Championship favorites
- The Rockets (+600) and Sixers (+600) have seen their title odds surge since the summer
- The Warriors (+1000) can’t be dismissed if Klay Thompson can return before the postseason
You know who’s more excited than anyone for the start of the NBA season? That’s right, Adam Silver.
Square in the center Daryl-Morey-induced China drama that has swallowed both Steve Kerr and LeBron James whole, the commissioner badly needs actual basketball games being played so we can all resume talking about slam dunks, Euro steps, and superteams again.
Using the odds at BetOnline, let’s examine how the 2020 NBA Championship odds have shuffled since our post-free agency update.
2020 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS
|Los Angeles Clippers||+400|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+450|
|Golden State Warriors||+1000|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+3300|
THE BATTLE FOR LOS ANGELES
The Clippers open the season as title favorites (+400) with their odds holding relatively steady (+350 in the summer) amidst the news that Paul George will be out until mid-November.
When PG13 returns to health, he and Kawhi will form the league’s scariest lock-down tandem as Leonard is a two-time Defensive Player of the Year and George has claimed either First Team All-Defense or Second Team All-Defense four times in his career.
With three-time Sixth Man of the Year winner Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell coming off the bench, the Clip are much deeper than their Staples Center roommates, who for some reason decided to create the dream NBA 2K13 roster with Rajon Rondo, Danny Green and Dwight Howard.
Anthony Davis had to make a cameo in LeBron’s postgame interview ? pic.twitter.com/6bUB2E1b4B
— ESPN (@espn) October 17, 2019
Still, it’s okay to be top-heavy when your top is LeBron and Anthony Davis, two prime contenders to take home the 2020 NBA MVP award. King James may be 34 and coming off an injury-shortened season, but he still averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists in 2018/19.
Los Angeles may house the best two teams in basketball, but don’t expect lofty win totals with both clubs primed to play the load-management game all season long. Neither represents a particularly great value right now.
CONTENDERS WITH SURGING ODDS
Listed at +800 to win the Larry O’Brien in the summer, both the Rockets and Sixers have moved into a tie with the Bucks at +600.
The things that excite me most about Houston is the pairing of 2017 NBA MVP Russell Westbrook with 2018 NBA MVP James Harden, and the prospect of commissioner Silver having to hand the NBA trophy to Morey on stage while swearing under his breath the whole time.
I’m far less enticed by Philadelphia, who appears to have built a very big, extremely talented team with no ability to shoot from the outside.
Steph Curry will never fall victim to pressure ?#Warriors #NBA #NBATwitter pic.twitter.com/84J9Vat1px
— Warriors Nation (@WarriorNationCP) October 18, 2019
After initially falling to +1400 following free agency, the Warriors’ title odds are back at +1000. If you’re as optimistic about Klay Thompson’s return date as the man’s father, Golden State might be a solid bet.
Considering the league’s newfound parity, an organization could do a lot worse than a championship nucleus of Steph Curry, Klay, Draymond Green and coach Kerr, supplemented with newcomers D’Angelo Russell and Willie Cauley-Stein.
All and all, it’s difficult to predict a champion this year and we’re all better off for it. The era of superteams is mercifully over and we have eight months of fun, unpredictable basketball ahead… as long as China doesn’t declare full-out war on the NBA.