The National Basketball Association is scheduled to restart in a month’s time in Orlando with 22 teams invited to participate in a modified format. There will be no live audiences or tickets available for the remainder of the season. The league has worked with many experts and officials to establish a program to prevent risks related to the coronavirus, including a regular testing protocol.
Teams will each play eight games to determine the playoff berths and seeding. If the 9th seed in either conference is within four games of the 8th seed, there will be a play-in series between them. Once the playoff bracket is set, the NBA playoffs will begin on August 17 and the format of the playoffs will be the same as usual.
With that, NBA playoffs betting odds have been generated in preparation for the season’s restart.
In the Eastern Conference, three teams will compete to clinch a playoff berth: the Brooklyn Nets, Orlando Magic, and Washington Wizards. Although the Eastern Conference bracket might seem set as the Wizards are 5.5 games away from the Nets and Magic, both teams will try to avoid the 8th seed and evade facing the Bucks in the first round.
Also, without Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, the Nets could have some trouble winning games, and team chemistry could be an obstacle. Out of the three, the Nets have the biggest odds of clinching the 7th seed.
The favorite to win the conference title and with the highest odds to go to the NBA Finals is the Milwaukee Bucks. They have the best record in the league, better than the Lakers, and are seven games ahead of the second place, Toronto Raptors. It seems like the only chance an Eastern Conference team has to beat the Bucks is if MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo gets injured or does not play for the remaining season.
Unlike the Eastern Conference, the West has seven teams still competing to go to the playoffs: the Dallas Mavericks, Memphis Grizzlies, Portland Trail Blazers, New Orleans Pelicans, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs, and Phoenix Suns.
The Mavericks are 7th and eight games ahead of the Grizzlies, so the team will most probably qualify for the playoffs. The rest of the six teams will compete intensely to be the 8th seed.
The Grizzlies are currently in the eighth spot with a 3.5 game lead on the Trail Blazers. However, the Pelicans are a popular pick to make the playoffs.
Rookie Zion Williamson is apparently more than healthy and plays well with Brandon Ingram in the frontcourt, along with center Derrick Favors. Their backcourt players, Jrue Holiday and JJ Redick play considerably well together. With a talented roster, they can solidify a spot in the playoffs.
Most people expect the Conference Finals to be an LA battle, Lakers vs. Clippers. Both teams have skilled superstars like Lebron James, Anthony Davis, Kawhi Leonard, and Paul George. Yet, the Clippers have the lower odds to win the conference title. Besides the two LA teams, the Nuggets are also discussed in the Conference Finals debate.
NBA Finals Odds
The Los Angeles Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks have been appointed as betting favorites to win the NBA Finals. The Lakers are the overall betting favorite, followed by the Bucks. The Clippers are third on the list, followed by the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets.
The Lakers may look a lot different with guard Avery Bradley and center Dwight Howard opting out of the season due to the ongoing crisis in the country. However, Anthony Davis believes that they have a greater chance of winning the championship because he got extra rest and was able to recover from injuries due to the hiatus. The team also signed JR Smith, former teammate of Lebron, and James believes that he is the right fit for the team as they have great chemistry.