The NBA season passed the first quarter mark, and the Los Angeles Lakers (24-4) and Los Angeles Clippers (21-8) are co-favorites to win the 2020 NBA championship with 3/1 odds, according to William Hill. Meanwhile, Giannis “the Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks (24-4) are the best team in the Eastern Conference, and are currently 4/1 odds to win the NBA title.
If you know the term “follow the money,” then it’s not hard to figure out that the public loves one of the LA teams to win the 2020 NBA championship. The title odds for the Lakers and Clippers are both at 3/1, but only one of them can represent the Western Conference in the 2020 NBA Finals.
The Milwaukee Bucks have the highest title odds out of anyone else in the Eastern Conference, and they’re the clear cut favorite out of the East.
2020 NBA Championship Odds (as of 12-18-19)
LA Clippers 3/1
LA Lakers 3/1
Milwaukee Bucks 4/1
Philadelphia 76ers 7/1
Houston Rockets 9/1
Denver Nuggets 20/1
Miami Heat 25/1
Only five teams won at least 20 games thus far: the Lakers, Bucks, Clippers, Miami Heat (20-8), and the Philadelphia 76ers (20-9). Four of those premier teams are also the top-four betting favorites to win the next NBA title, while the Miami Heat offer up some great value at 25/1.
The Lakers and Clippers have the top odds on the NBA futures board for a specific reason. Even though the rest of America generally loathes Los Angeles, it’s still the home to two most popular power duos: LeBron James/Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard/Paul George.
LA Lakers 3/1
The addition of Anthony Davis (27.4 ppg, 9.3 rebounds, 2.6 blocks) transformed a team that included James, Kyle Kuzma, and a bunch of no-names into the best team in the Western Conference.
AD can score at will whenever the Lakers have the ball. He’s a beast on defense, and sometimes it seems like he’s an octopus with eight different tentacles swatting away opponents or hauling down rebounds.
James (25.9 ppg, 10.6 assists, 7.4 rebounds) loves AD as his wingman because he doesn’t have to carry the scoring burden every night. AD’s presence also allows him to be more of a playmaker, which is why it’s no surprise that James leads the NBA in assists with 10.6 dimes per game.
AD recently missed a game with a sprained ankle, and the Lakers were picked off by the Pacers 105-102.
The only knock against AD over his career has been his durability, or lack thereof. If he can stay healthy, then the Lakers could legit go all the way to the Promised Land. If AD starts missing games with a nagging injury, it will derail James’ mission to secure his first title for the Lakers.
The Lakers saw their preseason title odds at 4/1, but now you can get them at 3/1 odds to win the 2020 NBA championship.
LA Clippers 3/1
While James and AD developed their chemistry in the preseason, Leonard (25.5 ppg) and George (24.7 ppg) didn’t have the benefit of getting to know each other until several weeks into the season. George missed a couple of weeks while recovering from shoulder surgery.
However, even with George back in the lineup, head coach Doc Rivers staggers load management between his two top stars. Rivers got into a little trouble last month when he rested Leonard, but mentioned he wasn’t actually injured.
Rivers is taking a cautious approach with Leonard and PG13. Through 29 games, Leonard played in 21 and George only in 18. Rivers doesn’t want to burn them out too early in the season. After all, the Clippers are on a mission to win an NBA title, so there’s no need to overwork his big stars, despite the fact fans and television execs want them to play every minute of every game.
The Clippers also have the NBA Sixth Man, Lou Williams, averaging almost 20 points per game off the bench. Montrezl Harrell (19.0 ppg, 7.5 rebounds) might be the best player in LA you never heard about.
The Clippers, currently co-favorites at 3/1 odds, have been one of the popular picks to win the 2020 NBA championship ever since Leonard joined the team.
Milwaukee Bucks 4/1
The Bucks recently had their 18-game winning streak snapped by the Dallas Mavericks. Even without Luka Donic (sprained ankle), the Mavs beat the Antetokounmpo and the Bucks.
The Bucks are looking to start another winning streak when they host LeBron and the Lakers on Thursday evening. AD is still listed as day-to-day with a sore ankle, but he told the LA Times that he wants to play.
The Bucks score a ton of points, averaging 121.0 ppg. Antetokounmpo averages MVP-like numbers with 31.7 points, 12.8 rebounds, and 5.3 assists. He’s the NBA’s second-best scorer behind James Harden. With a 34.65 PER, the Freak is tops in the NBA in that advanced metric.
The Bucks are thrilled to have Khris Middleton back in the lineup after he missed seven games with an injury. Middleton is the Bucks’ second-best scorer, averaging 18.1 points per game. Point guard Eric Bledsode averages 15.0 ppg and 5.7 assists per game.The Bucks rely on a much deeper bench this season, with a heady mix of veterans: George Hill, Brook Lopez, Done DiVincenzo, Wes Matthews, and Ersan Ilyasova. The Bucks’ role players average anywhere between seven and 10 points, but on any given night, any of them can erupt for a 20-point game.
Before the season began, William Hill posted the Milwaukee Bucks as 5/1 odds to win the 2020 NBA championship. You can currently find the Bucks as 4/1 odds to bring the first title in Milwaukee since 1971.
Miami Heat 25/1 and Philly Sixers 7/1
The Miami Heat (20-8) offer up tremendous value at 25/1 odds via William Hill. Some other offshore books still list the heat at 40/1 odds, so shop around if you think Jimmy Butler and the young Heat can cap off a remarkable season with an NBA title.
Joe Embiid and the Sixers are now the third-best team in the East with a 20-9 record after they lost to the Heat last night. The Sixers are also the best home team in the NBA with a 14-1 record in Philadelphia. The Sixers are the second-highest Eastern Conference team on the futures board at 7/1.