With the second round set in the Eastern Conference, and the first round winding down in the Western Conference, oddsmakers at DraftKings updated their NBA Championships odds, making the LA Clippers a slight favorite at +260 over the LA Lakers at +275. The Greek Freak and the Milwaukee Bucks, with the top seed in the east, are +280 favorites to win the NBA title.
Those three teams were the consensus front runners for the majority of the season. The actual favorite shuffled among the three at different points during the season, shutdown, restart, and in the playoffs. But for now, the Clippers have the best title odds at the start of the conference semifinals.
NBA CHAMPIONSHIP ODDS
LA Clippers +260
LA Lakers +275
Milwaukee Bucks +280
Boston Celtics +700
Toronto Raptors +1000
Houston Rockets +1100
Miami Heat +2500
Denver Nuggets +4000
Utah Jazz +6000
OKC Thunder +15000
(Update 8.31.20 via DraftKings)
Both #1 seeds lost their opening game in the postseason. However, both quickly corrected their course and won the next four games.
The Milwaukee Bucks dropped Game 1 against the #8 Orlando Magic, but then won four straight to advance.
The LA Lakers were upset by Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of their series. However, LeBron James shifted into postseason gear and the Lakers won the next four to knock out the Blazers.
Celtics Strike First
The Boston Celtics squared off against the defending champion Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Celtics destroyed the Raptors in Game 1. Head coach Nick Nurse admitted, “We were not ourselves.”
Both teams swept their opening round opponents in four games.
The Celtics currently ride a five-game postseason winning streak. However, the Raptors are favorites in Game 2. The way these two teams play and matchup, you can expect this series to follow the zig-zag pattern.
The Celtics improved to 7/1 odds to win the NBA championships. Meanwhile, the Raptors slipped a bit to 10/1 odds to win back-to-back NBA championships.
On the other side of the Eastern Conference bracket, the top-seeded Greek Freak and the Milwaukee Bucks are ready to face the Miami Heat. Much like the Raptors and Celtics, the Heat swept their first-round matchup and have been eagerly waiting for the second round.
Lakers Await OKC/Houston Fracas
The Lakers will play the winner of the Western Conference coin-flip series between the #4 Houston Rockets and #5 Oklahoma City Thunder. The Lakers, at +275 odds, are right behind the Clippers as the top favorites to win the NBA crown.
“We still have a lot of work to do, but we’re moving in the right direction,” said LeBron James.
In the series-clinching victory in Game 5, James tallied 36 points and Anthony Davis unleashed a 43-point game heater.
The Houston/OKC opening-round series heads into Game 6 with the Thunder seeking to avoid elimination and force a Game 7. The Rockets would rather not waste any more time, and seek to knock the Thunder out on Monday.
The Rockets are 11/1 odds to win the NBA championship and they’ve been playing shorthanded. Russell Westbrook missed the first four games of the postseason with a quad injury. He looked a tad rusty upon his return in Game 5.
The Rockets are hoping Westbrook will be 100% by the time they battle the Lakers in the semifinals.
Clippers to Face Utah/Denver Winner
The #7 Dallas Mavericks didn’t exactly roll over and play dead against the #2 LA Clippers. The Clippers had their share of problems, particularly with Paul George’s shooting slump. Once PG13 snapped out of his funk, the Clippers clinched the first-round series.
“This is playoff basketball and everything is not going to go your way,” said Kawhi Leonard. “You’re going to have downs and ups. Just got to keep playing.”
“You can tell he was the one guy that’s used to closing out series,” said Clippers coach Doc Rivers. “He was calm. He got us in place.”
The Mavs, especially Luka Doncic, put up a heck of a fight. The Mavs lost Kristaps Porzingis to a knee injury, so Doncic became a one-man show. He rolled his ankle in Game 1 and played with a sore ankle for the rest of the series.
“I’m proud of our team, how we fight,” said Doncic. “We fight until the end. The Clippers have an amazing team so it was hard, but I think we gave everything.”
For a second-year player in his first postseason series, Doncic posted some epic numbers. He averaged 31 points, 9.8 rebounds, and 8.7 assists for the Mavs.
Doncic also notched a triple-double in two out of the six postseason games he played. In an overtime victory in Game 4, Doncic exploded for 43 points, 17 rebounds, and 13 assists.
Now that the Clippers knocked out the Mavs, they can focus on the winner of the Utah Jazz and Denver Nuggets series. Denver and Utah are headed into Game 7 on Tuesday.
The Clippers are the slight overall favorite at +260 odds to win the NBA championship. They hope Patrick Beverly (calf strain) will be able to roll for the West semifinals.