When we last looked at the odds to win the 2020 NBA championship, online sportsbook Bovada had LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers as big (+250) favorites.
That was way back on June 17, just two days after the Lakers swung a blockbuster trade with the New Orleans Pelicans to add center extraordinaire Anthony Davis. At that time, bookmakers tabbed the Milwaukee Bucks (+550) as the most likely candidate to derail James’ quest for a fourth NBA title.
Clippers Kawhi Coup Creates Two-Team Race in Titletown
But the league’s landscape shifted dramatically less than a month later, when the Los Angeles Clippers lured Kawhi Leonard in free agency and traded for Paul George on the same day to form pro basketball’s latest “super team.” Before those transformational deals went down, the Clippers – fresh off a surprising playoff appearance but lacking star power – were listed at (+1400) to hang the franchise’s first championship banner.
Fast forward to today, however, and bet shops believe it’s the Clippers who have the best chance of outperforming the Lakers to win it all. Per the latest odds posted by Bovada, the “second sons” of L.A. hoops are (+300) to take the title, trailing only their fellow Staples Center residents in the Lakers at (+275).
And for good reason. Following a feeling out period of sorts in which the team went 7-5 to start the season, Leonard led the Clippers to nine wins in 10 games. Not to be outdone, the Lakers shrugged off a season-opening loss to their crosstown rivals by stringing together a seven-game win streak. And after that run was ended by Leonard’s former team, the defending champion Toronto Raptors, James and Davis simply sparked a 10-game winning jag.
All told, the two Los Angeles teams have put an early gap between themselves and the rest of the Western Conference on the betting futures.
That task was made much easier when Steph Curry of the Golden State Warriors – already absent Kevin Durant (free agency) and Klay Thompson (injury) – went down for the year with a broken hand, consigning a juggernaut which had appeared in the last five NBA Finals to a league-worst record. Forced to field a scrub squad rather than their usual All-Star starting five, the Warriors saw their title odds slip from (+750) all the way down to (+25000).
Eastern Conference Boasts Challengers to the L.A. “Locks”
The aforementioned Bucks haven’t skipped a beat since last season’s rousing run to the Eastern Conference Finals, battling the Lakers for the best record in the league with defending MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo harnessing his otherworldly offensive abilities to put up gaudy 30.8 point / 13.1 rebound / 5.4 assist averages. The Bucks lead the NBA in point differential by a mile too. Accordingly, the team’s odds to win the NBA championship have only improved from (+550) to (+450) – or over twice as likely as their nearest Eastern Conference competitors.
Armed with a talented roster from top to bottom, and one that earned valuable postseason experience last year, the Philadelphia 76ers are listed at (+1000) to cap off “The Process” by claiming the Larry O’Brien trophy. That number is equal to Philly’s (+1000) opening odds, but should drop if the Sixers continue their stellar play.
And despite losing Leonard to the Clips, the Raptors have performed admirably to put themselves right in the thick of the Eastern Conference race. Nonetheless, an inflated opening line of (+600) created by the prospect of Leonard re-signing with “The North” has come back down to earth a bit at (+1800), behind the Bucks, Sixers, and Celtics (+1400) in the Eastern Conference pecking order.
To find out where your favorite NBA team currently stands in terms of title hopes, and to compare the latest lines with the opening odds, check out the table below. An arrow up means title odds have improved since the 2020 NBA title odds were first released in June, in contrast a down arrow means the odds have went down:
|Team||2020 NBA Title Odds (on 12/8/19)|
|Los Angeles Lakers||+275⬇️|
|Los Angeles Clippers||+300⬆️|
|Philadelphia 76ers||+1000 (No change)|
|Denver Nuggets||+2000 (No change)|
|Portland Trail Blazers||+5000⬇️|
|San Antonio Spurs||+7000⬇️|
|New Orleans Pelicans||+15000⬇️|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||+20000⬇️|
|Golden State Warriors||+25000⬇️|
|New York Knicks||+50000⬇️|