- The Lakers (+225) are favored to win their first championship since 2010 as LeBron James looks to honor Kobe by capturing his fourth-career title
- The Clippers (+300) have the NBA’s deepest bench, a healthy Paul George, and a two-time Finals MVP in Kawhi Leonard
- Giannis’ Bucks (+325) are squarely in the mix after maintaining a 70-win pace for most of the season
Unless Kyrie Irving somehow messes it all up, 22 teams will resume the NBA season on July 31 at Walt Disney World in Orlando.
While there will be an eight-game wrap-up to the regular-season slate, followed by a possible play-in tournament for the eighth seed, the playoffs will be structured exactly the same as in past years.
So, instead of being treated to an original, once-in-a-lifetime format that would capture the imagination of sports fans everywhere, we’ll get a bland, predictable postseason that ends with a Lakers (+225), Clippers (+300) or Bucks (+325) title. Let’s check the latest championship odds.
2020 NBA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS
|Los Angeles Lakers||+225|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+300|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+8000|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+8000|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+10000|
|San Antonio Spurs||+50000|
LEBRON’S LAKERS STILL THE FAVORITE
Looking to win his fourth NBA championship and regain GOAT momentum after Michael Jordan and The Last Dance dominated sports television during the COVID-19 shutdown, LeBron James has been outspoken in his desire to finish the season. And who could blame him?
In his 17th year in the league, the 35-year-old won’t have many more opportunities like this one. Before the NBA went on hiatus on March 11, the Lakers (+225) recorded a couple of statement wins against the Bucks and Clippers and The King was gaining serious ground on Giannis Antetokounmpo in the MVP race.
— ESPN (@espn) June 14, 2020
With Defensive Player of the Year frontrunner Anthony Davis, the Purple & Gold easily have the best one-two punch in basketball. The pause to the season could also allow DeMarcus Cousins to return for the postseason.
NOT MUCH BELIEF IN THE BUCKS
Even when they were on pace for 70 wins, no one seemed to believe the Bucks (+325) could win the NBA title, but playing in the Orlando bubble could conceivably help their chances.
There’s an old saying that “defense travels” and Milwaukee’s 101.6 defensive rating is by far the best in the league. This stat also bodes well: the Bucks beat opponents by an average of 11.3 points per game this season, the fifth-largest average margin of victory in NBA history. The four teams ahead of them — the 1972 Lakers, 1971 Bucks, 1996 Bulls, and 2017 Warriors — all won titles.
— Overtime (@overtime) June 14, 2020
Still, there’s the distinct possibility that coach Mike Budenholzer once again gets outschemed in the playoffs, and that Khris Middleton and a middling supporting cast will fail to come up big when opponents lock down on Giannis.
CLIPPERS COULD WIN IT ALL
Doc Rivers’ team was 5.5 games behind their Staples Center co-tenants at the time of the shutdown, but that was with Paul George missing 11 contests and Kawhi Leonard doing his patented load-management routine.
However, when play resumes, those two guys will be as healthy and rested as they have been in a while. And with conditioning possibly coming into play, a deep roster featuring two Sixth Man of the Year candidates in Lou Williams and Montrezl Harrell could provide a huge edge.
Kawhi Leonard Got a Black Belt in Karate 🥋😮 pic.twitter.com/wSkHqjBBIU
— Kollege Kidd (@KollegeKidd) June 7, 2020
With their bench averaging an NBA-best 51.5 points per game this season, the Clippers are a much more complete team than the top-loaded Lakers. They also no longer have to worry about playing LeBron and company in Los Angeles while their entire city roots against them.
Look for the “Klaw” to once again top James on the big stage en route to his third NBA Finals MVP.
Best Bet: LA Clippers (+300)