NBA Restart: What Sportsbooks Say About the Contenders

Giannis Antetokounmpo
MILWAUKEE, WI - NOVEMBER 30: Giannis Antetokounmpo #34 of the Milwaukee Bucks dunks the ball during a game against the Charlotte Hornets on November 30, 2019 at the Fiserv Forum Center in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Photo by Gary Dineen/NBAE via Getty Images

The NBA authorities seem increasingly confident that the plans for a season restart will go ahead in Florida. As such, we are just over a month away from getting to see our favourite teams in action again. However, the break in the season does give us time to reflect on the chances of success for the top teams. It’s almost guaranteed that some teams will lose a bit of momentum, whereas others might gain some. In addition, the unique circumstances of the Orlando tournament might be a better fit for some teams than others. 

Sportsbooks tend to factor in everything when deciding on NBA betting odds, but it’s also worth noting that some unprecedented issues will impact those odds. Before we examine them, let’s take a quick overview of what’s proposed for the NBA restart: 

  • On 30th July, 22 teams (13 from the Western Conference, nine from the Eastern) will restart the season. Teams already eliminated will not compete. Teams will play eight games each to decide playoff qualification and seedings. 
  • On 17th August, the NBA Playoffs are scheduled to begin. They will follow the standard format. It is hoped that the NBA Finals will begin on 30th September. The start of the 2020/21 season will be moved to December. 

The above is fairly easy to follow, but it should be remembered that the season does not start from scratch. So, teams like the Phoenix Suns and the Washington Wizards are very close to elimination and fans might think it’s a little pointless to see out the season. However, as there is still a mathematical possibility, you can understand why they are there. 

Bucks remain favourites for first championship since Kareem Abdul-Jabbar era

Anyway, as for the favourites, MansionBet’s basketball betting odds put the Milwaukee Bucks in the driving seat, quoting 5/2 that the Bucks can win a first championship since 1971. It’s hard to disagree with that assessment; after all, the Bucks (53-12) had the best record in NBA before the season paused. However, it should be noted that the Bucks were particularly strong at home all season (28-3), and that advantage will disappear when all games are played in Orlando. The NBA is suggesting all sorts of solutions to replicate home advantage, but measures like getting first dibs on hotels will not really replace the lift a team receives from the home fans.

LeBron James
Photo by Harry How/ Getty Images

Right on the heels of the Bucks comes LeBron James and the Lakers, with a price of 27/10. Again, it’s easy to see why the Lakers are here, having led the Western Conference for most of the season. And yet, the problem for the Lakers is that they must go through another LA side, the Clippers, to reach the Finals. The Clippers (10/3) are stacked with talent, and most sportsbooks but them right on the shoulder of the two favourites.

The trio mentioned above are heavily backed by sportsbooks, but that represents a good opportunity for bettors who like some value in their wagers. Teams like the Rockets (13/1), Celtics (20/1) and Raptors (20/1) are all capable of providing a shock down in Florida. As we mentioned, some teams could find it hard to adjust to the games after such a long period of inactivity, so why not take a chance on sides in a good position with big odds? Other teams sure to get a second look from punters include the 76ers (25/1), Miami Heat (30/1), and Dallas Mavericks (40/1).