- BetOnline has installed Milwaukee (+250) as the new favorite to win the NBA championship
- The Lakers (+275) and Clippers (+350) are headed for a star-studded Western Conference showdown
- Jayson Tatum’s elevated play makes the Celtics (+1400) an intriguing underdog
This past summer, basketball fans celebrated the end of the Warriors dynasty with renewed hopes for a superteam-free postseason where multiple franchises battle it out for the NBA title.
Following the All-Star Break, while it’s still anyone’s guess who will win the championship, most are confident it will be one of three clubs: the Bucks, Lakers or Clippers.
Let’s examine the latest odds at BetOnline and make a best bet as we barrel towards the playoffs.
ODDS TO WIN NBA CHAMPIONSHIP
|Team||Current Odds||Trending||Before Season|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+275||↑||+450|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+350||↑||+400|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+8000||↓||+5000|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+8000||N/A|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+8000||↓||+3300|
On a 70-win pace, Milwaukee’s odds have jumped from +600 before the season to +250 favorites.
Golden State famously ran out of gas in their 73-win 2015-16 season, losing the NBA Finals to the Cavaliers in seven games. But the three other historically-great teams that racked up 69 or more victories — the 1995-96 Bulls (72), the 96-97 Bulls (69) and the 71-72 Lakers (69) — all went on to claim the championship.
Let's hope Giannis Antetokounmpo stays ?#Bucks #NBA #NBATwitter pic.twitter.com/b1TQSgbKum
— Bucks Nation (@BucksNationCP) February 15, 2020
Giannis Antetokounmpo will almost certainly win his second-consecutive MVP after upping his scoring (30.0 PPG) and rebounding totals (13.5 RPG) in his seventh season. Khris Middleton has also proven himself to be the perfect second banana, averaging over 20 points per night with 50/40/90 shooting averages.
Still, questions remain about the Bucks supporting cast and ability to adapt under increased defensive attention after the Raptors locked up Giannis in the Eastern Conference Finals last year.
With Jayson Tatum taking his game to another level over the past month, the better value in the Eastern Conference might be the Celtics (+1400). The third-year forward tied a career-high with 41 points in Sunday’s 114-112 defeat to the Lakers and is averaging career-bests across all categories.
BATTLE FOR LOS ANGELES
The Clippers were far more active than their Staples Center co-tenants at the deadline, picking up power forward Marcus Morris from the Knicks and signing guard Reggie Jackson after he was bought out by the Pistons. While relatively small additions, the moves further increased the Clippers’ one advantage over the Lakers: team depth.
Most would choose to have LeBron James and Anthony Davis over Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, but Doc Rivers’ club is far deeper with guys like Lou Williams, Montrezl Harrell and Patrick Beverley to call on. There’s also the question if whether Kawhi lives inside LeBron’s head after winning the All-Star Game’s Kobe Bryant MVP Award to display in his trophy case with his two NBA Finals MVP trophies.
"Even though Reggie Jackson adds to the talent of the Clippers, and 1-12 looks better than the Lakers, you can only play 5 guys. This helps the Lakers. Any minute he's on the court, that means Pat Beverley, Lou Williams or Landry Shamet isn't on the court." — @GottliebShow pic.twitter.com/BfV4pbpAL6
— First Things First (@FTFonFS1) February 19, 2020
Still, LAC’s lack of consistency has to be concerning. The Klaw and Co. are on a three-game losing streak and have a number of puke-worthy Ls against sad competition this season: Sacramento (twice), Atlanta, Minnesota, Memphis, OKC, Chicago, San Antonio, New Orleans and Phoenix.
While the Clippers have only managed one seven-game win streak all year, the Purple & Gold have two winning streaks of eight or more games and the Bucks have an 18- and nine-game winning streak under their belt.
Despite having one of the weaker supporting casts in recent memory, the Lakers will likely supplement their roster with buyout candidates such as Dion Waiters and/or J.R. Smith after already snapping up Markieff Morris.
Bet on the combo of LeBron and AD at +275 and pray the two stars stay healthy.