Who do you like for the 2020 NBA Finals? Oddsmakers at DraftKings set odds for a potential NBA Finals matchup, and the Miami Heat playing the Los Angeles Lakers is the favorite at -148 odds. An NBA Finals matchup between the Lakers and the Boston Celtics is the second favorite at +122 odds, and would rekindle a long-standing rivalry that dates back to the late 1950s.
In the Western Conference Finals, LeBron James and the top-seeded Lakers hold a 2-0 series lead over the #3 Denver Nuggets after a buzzer-beater 3-pointer from Anthony Davis in Game 2 over the weekend.
In the Eastern Conference Finals, Jimmy Butler and the #5 Miami Heat hold a 2-1 lead over the #3 Boston Celtics.
Coming into this season, almost every prognosticator projected that the NBA title would come down to a battle between Los Angeles teams with the Clippers/Lakers fighting to secure a spot in the NBA Finals against Greek Freak and the Milwaukee Bucks. The top-seeded Bucks were upset in the Eastern Conference Semifinals by the Heat in five games. In the west semifinals, the Clippers blew a 3-1 series lead against the Nuggets.
|2020 NBA FINALS MATCHUP ODDS|
- Miami Heat vs LA Lakers -148
- Boston Celtics vs LA Lakers +122
- Miami Heat vs Denver Nuggets +3400
- Boston Celtics vs Denver Nuggets +4500
The Lakers are -400 odds to win the NBA Championship, according to Draft Kings. The Heat are +550 odds to win the title while the Celtics are +700. The Nuggets are +5000 long shots to win the title.
LBJ vs Spo, Riley, and Heat
If you’re a network TV executive or work in the NBA head office, then you’re happy with the Lakers advancing to the finals because you can easily spin and hype up the Lakers/Celtics or Lakers/Heat.
If the Heat advance to the finals and meet the Lakers, it’s a classic battle of a star player versus his old team and old coach. Aside from Udonis Haslem, no one else from the Heat’s championship teams is on the current roster, but head coach Erik Spoelstra and general manager Pat Riley are still at the helm for Miami. LeBron James won back-to-back titles with the Heat in 2012 and 2013.
You can also add another layer of intrigue with Pat Riley facing his old Lakers squad. Riley, a former player for the Lakers and, later their head coach, orchestrated the Showtime era in the 1980s.
Back in June, you could’ve found the Lakers/Heat matchup for the NBA Finals are +4000 odds.
Lakers Celtics Reprise
The Lakers and Celtics rivalry officially began in the late 1950s. In 1959, the Minneapolis Lakers battled the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals. The Lakers relocated from Minnesota to Southern California in 1960, and the East Coast vs. West Coast rivalry between the franchises began.
The Lakers lost to the Celtics in the NBA Finals six times between 1962 and 1969.
The two franchises rekindled their rivalry in the 1980s with Magic Johnson and Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s Showtime fast-break Lakers versus Larry Bird, Robert Parrish, and Kevin McHale’s Celtics.
The old Boston Garden would be rocking with “Beat LA!” chants, while the LA Forum would be packed to the rafters with celebrities and the Hollywood glitterati singing along to Randy Newman’s “I Love LA.”
In the 1980s, the two franchises met in the finals three times, with the Lakers winning twice in 1985 and 1987.
Phil Jackson and Kobe Bryant ushered in another era of Celtics/Lakers rivalry when the two teams met in the NBA Finals in 2008 and 2010.
Back in June, you could have wagered on a Lakers/Celtics NBA Finals at +1400 odds.
Denver Pipe Dreams?
The Denver Nuggets are slow starters. In the last two seasons, they played four-straight seven-game series. In the 2020 postseason, the Nugs rallied from down 3-1 to win the first round and the west semifinals. Right now, Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are in a 2-0 hole, but if you ask the Nugs, they have the Lakers just where they want them. The Nugs are 6-0 in elimination games this season.
If you’re feeling frisky, then take a huge flier on the Nuggets to rally back and knock out LeBron’s Lakers. You can wager on an NBA Finals matchup between Denver and the Miami Heat at +3400 odds. You can also find a Denver and Boston Celtics finals at +4500 odds.