Eight teams remain in the NBA Playoffs, but only one team will be crowned the champion inside the NBA Bubble. The Los Angeles Clippers entered the postseason as the favorites to win the 2020 NBA championship. At the onset of both NBA conference semifinals, Kawhi Leonard and the LA Clippers are still the championship favorite at DraftKings at +210 odds. The Milwaukee Bucks started the Eastern Conference semifinals 0-2 and saw their odds tumble to 7/1.
For most of the season, three teams jockeyed for the top spot on the futures board. The LA Lakers, LA Clippers, and Milwaukee Bucks were co-favorites, and their title prices hovered around 3/1 odds during the regular season.
The Bucks jumped out to a hot start and were on pace to win 70 games for most of the season. Once the pandemic hit, they missed out on their opportunity to join the Chicago Bulls (72-10 in 1995-96) and Golden State Warriors (73-9 in 2015-16) as the only teams to win 70 or more games in a season.
|NBA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS|
- LA Clippers +210
- LA Lakers +260
- Boston Celtics 7/1
- Miami Heat 7/1
- Milwaukee Bucks 7/1
- Toronto Raptors 12/1
- Houston Rockets 13/1
- Denver Nuggets 100/1
When the NBA shut down during the coronavirus outbreak in March, the LA Lakers and Milwaukee Bucks led their respective conferences. After the eight-game restart, the Lakers earned the #1 seed in the Western Conference and the Bucks were awarded the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Despite only earning the #2 seed in the west, the Clippers were slight 11/4 odds favorites over the 3/1 Lakers, who looked sluggish during the restart.
The NBA playoffs are played at Dinsey’s World of Sports complex in Orlando, Florida. With games on a neutral court, there’s no “home-court advantage” in the traditional sense. Teams also don’t have to worry about traveling between cities in each series.
Bucks Downgrade, Raptors 0-2 Hole
The Bucks and Lakers both dropped Game 1 in the opening round to #8-seeded opponents. The Lakers won four straight to defeat the Portland Trail Blazers in five games. After a surprising Game 1 loss, the Bucks won four in a row. They knocked out the Orlando Magic in five games. Heading into the semifinals, the Bucks were approximately 3/1 odds to win the NBA championship.
In the second round, the Milwaukee Bucks lost the first two games of their Eastern Conference Semifinals series. The top-seeded Bucks trail the #5 Miami Heat 2-0 heading into Game 3. After the Bucks tumbled into an 0-2 hole, oddsmakers quickly adjusted NBA futures. The Bucks fell from 3/1 to 7/1 odds.
The defending champion Toronto Raptors earned the #2 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. They swept the #7 Brooklyn Nets in the first round, but hit the wall in the semifinals.
The Raptors fell behind the #3 Boston Celtics 0-2 before finally breaking through with a buzzer-beater win in Game 3 by OG’s favorite basketball player, OG Anunoby. The Raptors saw their odds drop from 10/1 to 12/1.
WHAT A PASS. WHAT A SHOT.
— NBA (@NBA) September 4, 2020
Celtics and Heat Uptick
The Boston Celtics and Miami Heat saw their odds jump after starting the second round of the Eastern Conference Semifinals with a 2-0 lead.
The Celtics improved from 10/1 to 6/1 odds after taking the first two games against the defending champs. However, they were adjusted slightly to 7/1 after Toronto’s comeback win in Game 3. The Celtics are -225 odds to win the series against the Raptors. The Raptors are +180 underdogs to rally back and advance to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Jimmy Butler dropped 40 points in Miami’s Game 1 victory over Greek Freak and the Milwaukee Bucks. In Game 2, Jimmy Buckets knocked down two clutch free throws with no time on the clock to break a tie game. The Heat won on a weak foul call from the officials, but it didn’t change the fact that the Bucks were down 0-2.
The Heat had the biggest movement on the futures board. They were 25/1 and jumped to 7/1. The Heat are also -167 odds to win the series, while the Bucks are +135 underdogs to overcome the 0-2 deficit.