The COVID-19 pandemic caused massive disruption to the sporting calendars. Sports faced a battle to complete seasons, and that has been the case with the NBA. But the good news is the season is going to resume on July 30. Could it still be a big season for Milwaukee Bucks or the Los Angeles Lakers?
The 2019-20 season was reaching an important stage in March with the play-offs due to start on April 18. Then came the suspension of the season on March 11, leaving everything in limbo.
Now has come the news that there will be a 22-team tournament to decide the NBA champions. Each team will play eight more regular-season games to determine the 16 sides that will contest the play-offs in the usual best-of-seven series matches.
The season will have a very different feel to it. There won’t be the usual home and away games; instead, the teams will all make their way to Florida. To be more exact, the NBA will be heading to the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex, situated at Walt Disney World Resort near Orlando. The games will take place inside the Field House, Arena and Visa Athletic Center. The first scheduled fixture sees Utah Jazz face the New Orleans Pelicans on July 30.
It’s interesting to see how the enforced break, and how the teams have trained and prepared players, has shifted the odds of who will win the NBA Championship. With a lack of competitive sporting activities, there is bound to be plenty of business from sports betting enthusiasts.
If you’re keen on backing the NBA favorites, there are plenty of sportsbooks available where you can place your bets, but they will have different odds on the NBA. It won’t take you long to check the latest odds with all the various markets currently available all in one place. Remember, the odds will change as the season progresses.
New Champions to be Crowned
Golden State Warriors, either winners or runners-up in each of the last five seasons, have a terrible 15-50 record this season. And last year’s champs Toronto Raptors currently sit second in the Eastern Conference, so new champions may well be crowned this time around. But who will that be?
The current favorites are the Los Angeles Lakers, who could have used an old NBA bylaw to claim the title had the season not resumed. They have won the title 16 times in their history. A win in 2020 will equal the 17 titles won by the Boston Celtics. The Lakers were last champions in 2010 but have been in top form this season.
They had a 49-14 record in the Pacific Division of the Western Conference. A tough division as the Lakers were battling the Los Angeles Clippers who were 44-20 at the time the season was suspended. The Lakers are the top-seeded team in the Western Conference and had won 26 of 32 games played on the road. That’s more wins than any other side in the NBA, so traveling to Florida to finish the season won’t hurt them too much. They are the current favorites to win the title at odds of +240.
The sportsbooks seem to believe there is an excellent chance of the title being won by a side from Los Angeles. If it’s not the Lakers, then it could well be the Clippers. They can be backed at +350 to become champions in Florida.
As mentioned just now, they are second in the Pacific Division and currently seeded second in the Western Conference behind the Lakers. It would be a historic moment for the Clippers if they did leave Florida as champions. They have never even made a final, let alone become the top team in the NBA. One worrying fact, though, is that of 32 games on the road this season, 13 have been lost compared to just seven out of 32 at home.
When the NBA season was suspended, the top-seeded team in the Eastern Conference was the Milwaukee Bucks. They had a 53-12 season record and were 14 wins clear in the Central Division. The Bucks had dominated that division, winning 13 of their 14 games played against the other teams.
Home form had seen them win 28 out of 31 matches, but that’s no longer a factor. Their away form has been good though with 25 out of 34 games ending in a win for them. Only the Los Angeles Lakers have a better record on the road this season. You can get odds of +325 on them winning the title for the first time since 1974. They beat the Boston Celtics in the final, and they just happen to resume their season against them on July 31.
It’s going to feel strange watching teams play such important games without any crowds (although not as strange as one suggestion to hold the playoffs on cruise ships). That’s the way it this, though, and the most important fact is that the NBA season is back and some exciting games are on the way.
If you’re keen to do some sports betting, there is plenty of action and opportunity just around the corner.