Ever since its inception, the NBA has crowned a champion every season. This year, that tradition has been threatened by the coronavirus pandemic. However, the developments in the last few weeks have given fans hope that a champion will be crowned in 2020.
First, it was reported that Disney World is the front-runner to host the NBA’s return. Next came the news that the teams are expecting the league to issue guidelines that will allow teams to begin bringing players back to their home markets.
With these positive developments, let’s take a look at the top five betting favorites to win the 2020 NBA title.
Los Angeles Lakers (+210)
Led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Los Angeles Lakers stormed to the top of the Western Conference during the 2019-20 season and are the current betting favorites to win the 2020 NBA title. The Western Conference leaders were 49-14 when the season was suspended, and they were only three games behind the Milwaukee Bucks for the best record in the entire NBA.
Right before the season was suspended, the Lakers were coming off their best weekend of the season where they beat the Bucks and Clippers in back-to-back games. LeBron James led the league in assists and was one of the top candidates for MVP while leading scorer Anthony Davis was a strong contender for Defensive Player of the Year.
Milwaukee Bucks (+275)
The Milwaukee Bucks were on a mission this season after losing to the eventual 2019 champions Toronto Raptors in last season’s Eastern Conference Finals. The Bucks led the NBA from the start to the pause of the season and were a league-best 53-12 in the team standings when the games were stopped.
Giannis Antetokounmpo was having another spectacular season and the Greek Freak was the top betting favorite to win a second straight MVP award. The Bucks also had an excellent season from Khris Middleton who had his second straight All-Star season. Middleton averaged career-highs in scoring, rebounding and three-pointers made per game this season.
Los Angeles Clippers (+300)
After the Los Angeles Clippers acquired All-Stars Kawhi Leonard and Paul George during the 2019 offseason, real money betting sites immediately installed Steve Ballmer’s team as the preseason betting favorites to win the 2020 NBA title.
However, George missed a total of 22 games during the 2019-20 season due to various injuries, while Leonard sat out a total of 13 games due to rest and knee issues. With their two stars playing limited time together, the Clippers had a rough start to the year but were able to climb to the third spot in the Western Conference at 44-20, right before the season was halted.
Boston Celtics (+1200)
The Boston Celtics are a distant fourth in the odds board after posting the third-best record in the Eastern Conference this season. The Celtics had a 43-21 record when the season was suspended, and they were just three games behind the Toronto Raptors for the second seed in the East.
Boston lost Kyrie Irving in free agency, but the team signed high-scoring guard Kemba Walker to take over Irving’s spot and he clicked with his new teammates. Jayson Tatum was named to the All-Star team for the first time in his career while Jaylen Brown had the first 20-point season of his four-year NBA career.
Houston Rockets (+2000)
The Houston Rockets had a major makeover to start the 2019-20 season, as they traded Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook. Then, in midseason, Houston traded starting center Clint Capela in a move that left the team playing a “small-ball” brand of basketball.
James Harden started the season like a house on fire but cooled off a bit as the calendar turned from 2019 to 2020. Despite falling to sixth place in the West, the Rockets are still considered one of the top betting favorites to win the 2020 NBA title because they have two of the last three NBA MVPs on their squad.