When the NBA Championship was suspended on March 11, 2020 as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, it presented a significant problem for the NBA Board of Governors as to how to complete the remainder of the basketball season once it was deemed safe to do so.
With all of the teams having played between 63 and 67 games at the time of the suspension and it being impossible to complete the regular season using the standard format, a way had to be found to ensure that the play-off places were decided as fairly as possible.
NBA 2020 Revised Schedule
A plan was eventually agreed to restart the season on July 30, 2020, with 22 teams (consisting of 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference teams – all teams within six games of a playoff spot) playing eight additional regular season games to determine playoff seeding at the Walt Disney World’s ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando.
There is also the possibility of a play-in tournament for the eighth seed in each conference, should the ninth seed finish the regular season within four games of the eighth seed. Once complete, the 16 remaining teams will enter a conventional post-season tournament. In an interrupted and truncated season it will be interesting to see what, if any, significant impact this has on the leading teams.
The Bookies Favourites
The online sportsbooks see three teams as the leading contenders in the outright NBA winner betting odds, with the Los Angeles Lakers, Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers being the favored trio. It’s well worth checking out freebets.com for a comprehensive list of NBA odds along with the very latest sportsbook free bets and promotions relating to the tournament.
Back the Bucks?
With the Lakers and the Clippers both being in the Western Conference, it might make sense to bet on the Milwaukee Bucks to win the NBA Championship this time. Milwaukee had the best record (53-12) when the tournament was suspended and also had the best regular season record in 2018-19 (60-22).
Of course, the Bucks can call upon the current MVP (an award he could well repeat) in Giannis Antetokounmpo, but the supporting cast is also impressive in the likes of fellow All-Star Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe.
Defensively the Bucks are by some distance the best in the league this season, with a rating of 101.6 and they are beating opponents by an average of 11.3 points per game. Another good omen is that only four teams in NBA history have ever bettered that winning margin and each of those went on to win the NBA championship when doing so.
There are question marks though, not least the fact that they lost their last three games prior to the shutdown (the first time they had dropped three consecutive games under coach Mike Budenholzer). They now have to ensure that they don’t carry that poor run of results over into the restart and to regain their previous momentum after such a lengthy break. The Bucks are the +240 betting favorites for the title with global online sportsbook, bet365.
Lakers & Clippers can Challenge
As to the other leading contenders, the LA Lakers were building some momentum themselves prior to the suspension, with back-to-back wins over the Bucks and the Clippers in March. LeBron James is now very much in the twilight of his remarkable NBA career, so he’s unlikely to get too many more opportunities to win a fourth NBA championship. The Lakers can be backed at betting odds of +260 with bet365 sportsbook to claim the title.
The LA Clippers were also in good shape, both with regards to the health of their roster and results, when the coronavirus induced suspension brought a halt to proceedings. The fitness issues of Kawhi Leonard hampered the Clippers early in the season, so the enforced break may prove beneficial on that front. The Clippers are on offer at best odds of +333 with bet365 for the NBA Championship.
Full NBA Betting Odds 2020
At the time of writing, bet365 offers the following NBA betting odds…
- Milwaukee Bucks +240
- Los Angeles Lakers +260
- Los Angeles Clippers +333
- Houston Rockets +1300
- Denver Nuggets +1600
- Utah Jazz +1700
- Boston Celtics +1800
- Toronto Raptors (the defending champion) +1800
- Miami Heat +2000
- Philadelphia 76ers +2200