Nearly three months after Rudy Gobert tested positive for coronavirus and forced the NBA’s hand to suspend the season indefinitely, the league’s Board of Governors have agreed to a tentative plan to reboot the 2019-20 campaign. By a 29-1 vote, the committee approved a 22-team format that would tentatively begin play on July 31. While this is a positive in what has been an mentally exhausting 2020 to-date, there are a few more steps in the process before the BoG’s plan becomes official. However, this small step for the logoman, one giant leap for the sports betting calendar, saw bookmakers racing to update their 2020 NBA championship odds.

2020 NBA Summer Season Format

So, of the 22 teams slated to participate in the 2019-20 NBA season 2.0, nine reside in the Eastern Conference, while 15 come out of the loaded Western Conference.

Eastern Conference Western Conference
Milwaukee Bucks Los Angeles Lakers
Toronto Raptors Los Angeles Clippers
Boston Celtics Denver Nuggets
Miami Heat Utah Jazz
Indiana Pacers Oklahoma City Thunder
Philadelphia 76ers Houston Rockets
Brooklyn Nets Dallas Mavericks
Orlando Magic Memphis Grizzlies
Washington Wizards Portland Trail Blazers
New Orleans Pelicans
Sacramento Kings
San Antonio Spurs
Phoenix Suns

In order to qualify for the Board of Governor’s abridged season format, a team either had to already be in one of 16 playoff positions according to their record when the league suspended the season on March 11 or be 6-or-fewer games behind the No. 8 seed in their respective conference.

If approved, all games will be played at a single-site court on the Walt Disney World Resort grounds, which may give those Orlando Magic a little bit of an edge, no?

Seeding Games

Each team will play eight so-called “seeding (regular season) games” which will help determine the final 16-team playoff field as would be the case at the end of any typical regular season. So, to determine the playoff qualifiers, you’d take the team’s existing 2019-20 regular season record and add to it their results of their eight seeding games. In what could be an awesome twist, the No. 8 seeds in both conferences could come down to best-of-two play-in tournament.

Once the playoff field is set, the postseason will be the same as every other postseason before it.

Odds to Win the 2019-20 NBA Championship

Even with the NBA regular season whittled down to eight games and 22 teams, there are definitely those “haves” and “have not” franchises in respect to their odds of winning the 2020 NBA Championship title this October.

The Haves

Lebron James

Of the 22 teams, only three boast odds to win an NBA championship of better than 10-to-1. In fact, the gap between the top three favorites and rest of the field is immense.

At 2-to-1 (+200), LeBron’s Los Angeles Lakers are the favorites to win it all down in Orlando this October. After stomaching all the pomp and circumstance behind Michael Jordan’s “The Last Dance” documentary, you have to imagine King James’ motor is running hot and he’ll go to the ends of the Earth to lead his team to the Finals.

Before the regular season was placed on pause, Milwaukee (+275) was four wins ahead of the Lakers for the league’s best record. However, their 53-12 mark was buoyed by an uncanny 28-3 home record, a significant advantage, which is now muted come the seeding and playoff rounds with all games tentatively to be played at Walt Disney World Resort.

And then there are the kings. No, not of Sacramento, but the kings of load management. Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and the Los Angeles Clippers are well rested and 3-to-1 favorites to win the 2020 NBA Championship.

The Kind-of-Haves

A quick scan of the next three NBA season restart qualifiers will highlight how the top six favorites to win the 2020 NBA title range from 2-to-1 to 15-to-1, while the remaining 16 squads are currently pegged odds 23-to-1-or-worse.

Jayson Tatum

Few teams were as thrilled to see LeBron relocate to the Western Conference as much as the Boston Celtics who, at 10-to-1 to win the NBA title, truly do have a better shot to upset the Bucks on a neutral court should they eventually meet in the playoffs. All eyes will be on Jayson Tatum who most pundits believe needs to take that next step for the C’s to have any championship aspirations.

While the pandemic was no cause for celebration, no team appreciated the time to rest up and heal more than the injury-plagued Toronto Raptors. At 14-to-1 to win, sans Kawhi Leonard’s services, head coach Nick Nurse should be commended for leading the dinos to the Eastern Conference’s second-best record before play was suspended.

As is often the case, the wild card of these top six favorites is once again the Houston Rockets. At 15-to-1, it’s truly difficult to gauge which versions of James Harden and Russell Westbrook you’ll see after such a lengthy hiatus. Plus, Harden recently stated that he’s not thrilled with the rush back to the court.

“There are so many things that have to be figured out,” Harden said on CNBC back in late-May. “I want it be safe.”

The Best of the Rest

If approved, all games will be played at a single-site court on the Walt Disney World Resort grounds, which may give those Orlando Magic a little bit of an edge, no?

While the remaining 16 NBA teams don’t boast the best odds to win the 2020 championship, there are several compelling storylines to watch and enjoy.

This begins with Zion Williamson and the Pelicans’ (+9000) pursuit of a playoff seed. New Orleans is currently on the outside looking in, but could create some buzz during the eight-game seeding round.

On the injury front, no decision has been announced by the Brooklyn Nets as to whether Kevin Durant would return from an Achilles injury that sidelined him for the past year or Kyrie Irving could participate after undergoing shoulder surgery back in February. These two significant unknowns is why you see the 30-win Nets priced at +4500 and not lumped in with the Suns, Kings and Wizards.

Speaking of Washington, it was announced this week that John Wall – who has been sidelined since 2018 – will not rush back to play in this summer session.

Team 2019-20 NBA Championship Odds (6/5/20)
Lakers +200
Bucks +275
Clippers +300
Celtics +1000
Raptors +1400
Rockets +1500
76ers +2400
Nuggets +2500
Heat +3300
Mavericks +3500
Jazz +4000
Nets +4500
Pacers +8000
Pelicans +9000
Thunder +9000
Magic +10000
Trail Blazers +10000
Grizzlies +17500
Spurs +17500
Suns +20000
Kings +25000
Wizards +30000

Sean Love

A native son of Las Vegas, Sean Love was born on Valentine's Day 1975 and has been sharing his passion for casino games and sports gambling the past 20+ years. An avid fan of the NFL, you'll find Mr. Love on the couch every Sunday during the fall. His mission is to make you all wiser with the wager no matter your preferred taste of the action.

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