The 2019-20 NBA season tipped off last night, and coming into the new season, the Los Angeles Clippers are the favorite to win the championship at 3/1 odds, according to William Hill. The LA Lakers are 4/1 odds, and the Milwaukee Bucks are 5/1 odds to win the 2020 NBA Championship.
Two super teams are emerging in the City of Angels. Bettors are backing LeBron James and Kawhi Leonard to bring home a championship to Los Angeles. The Lakers and Clippers made bodacious offseason moves to enhance their rosters, which is why their championship odds jumped.
TOP 5 NBA 2020 CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS:
LA Clippers 3/1
LA Lakers 4/1
Milwaukee Bucks 5/1
Philadelphia 76ers 8/1
Houston Rockets 8/1
The Houston Rockets swapped out Chris Paul for Russell Westbrook. They hope that Westbrook and James Harden can finally lead the Rockets to a Western Conference title. When Westbrook joined the Rockets, their championship odds shot up. The Rockets are currently 8/1 overall.
Even without Kevin Durant (free agency) and Klay Thompson (ACL injury), the Golden State Warriors are the sixth favorite to win the NBA title this season. The current Warriors, led by Steph Curry and Draymond Green, are 12/1 odds to win the 2020 NBA championship.
After negotiations turned ugly before last season’s trade deadline, the Lakers finally pulled off a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. The Lakers acquired disgruntled superstar Anthony Davis in a mega deal. Now, it’s up to LeBron James and AD to restore the Lakers to championship glory.
The Lakers are still a couple of steps away from building a championship roster. We saw the Lakers title odds spike last year when they signed LBJ. The Lakers didn’t even make the postseason in LeBron’s circus-like first year. They’ll probably advance to the playoffs this year with one of the bottom seeds in a difficult Western Conference. It’s not a title, but at least it’s a step in the right direction. The Lakers’ odds seem a little too high for their ability.
The Clippers launched a successful coup by wooing away NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard from pretty much everyone else in the league. Somehow, Doc Rivers and the Clippers also convinced Paul George to jump ship in Oklahoma City.
The Lakers are all hype, whereas the Clippers are in an unique situation. Just a couple of months ago, we all saw Leonard put the Raptors on his back and win an NBA title. It seems improbable he can do it again with a new squad, especially with Paul George out to start the season while recovering from shoulder surgery. But then again, Kawhi is out of this world. Bettors love backing a superhero with winning results. The Clippers are hovering at 3/1 odds for a reason… and that’s Kawhi’s championship experience with the Toronto Raptors and San Antonio Spurs.
The Clippers are also big favorites to win the Western Conference at 11/5 odds, with the Lakers a close second.
The Milwaukee Bucks and the Greek Freak are third overall on the futures board with 5/1 odds to win the NBA Championship. The Bucks and Clippers are a popular pick for the 2020 NBA Finals.
The Bucks are projected to win the NBA Eastern Conference once again. They were picked off by Kawhi Leonard and the Toronto Raptors in the 2019 Eastern Conference Finals. Without Kawhi in Toronto, the Greek Freak is the Big Dog in the East.
Never Mind the Bucks, Here Come the Sixers
The Philadelphia 76ers have one of the best starting five in the league. Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons look like the only real competition for the Bucks in the Eastern Conference.
The Sixers let Jimmy Butler head south to Miami, but they picked up Josh Richardson in return. He’s the X-factor that could put them over the top. If Richardson adapts quickly to his new team, and Embiid stays healthy, the Sixers could do some serious damage in the East.
Houston, You Got Lots of (Ball) Problems
Chris Paul and James Harden had a well-publicized falling out in the playoffs after the Rockets were eliminated by the Golden State Warriors. The two downplayed the rift, but the truth is in the transaction reports. The Rockets banished CP3 to Oklahoma City, where the Thunder are rebuilding their team after trading away their big stars Russell Westbrook and Paul George.
Most NBA beat writers picked the Thunder to finish last in the West, along with the lowly Phoenix Suns. If you mess with the beard, you’ll get exiled to the NBA cellar.
Meanwhile, Westbrook will rejoin his old OKC teammate James Harden in Houston. Westbrook (23.0 ppg career) and Harden (24.3 ppg) look scary on paper as a tandem. Westbrook is a triple-double machine and Harden loves to hog the ball. How can two serious alphas handle only one ball? Unless Mike D’Antoni can figure out how to score 200 points per game, Westbrook and Harden is a match that’s destined to fall apart.