After their Game 4 destruction of the Portland Trail Blazers, LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are looking good again as a NBA Championship favorite. The L.A. Clippers looked like a team intent on getting their own act together after punching Dallas in the mouth on Tuesday night. In the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics will hook up in what could be the most competitive series this postseason, while the Miami Heat are lying in wait, almost assuredly, for the top-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. With the 2020 NBA playoffsheating up in a big way, let’s take a look at the latest odds to win the NBA championship and which teams are certified favorites, longshots and pretenders, along with their NBA odds.
NBA Finals: Picks, Predictions, Favorites to Win and Surprises
Odds to Win 2020 NBA Championship
- LA Lakers +260
- LA Clippers+260
- Milwaukee +330
- Toronto +700
- Boston +800
- Houston +1500
- Miami +2200
- Utah +5000
- Dallas +7000
- Oklahoma City +8000
- Denver +10000
- Portland +5000
- Orlando +250000
Now up 3-1 on Portland in their first round series, the Lakers have gotten their act together nicely after dropping Game 1. Following their uneven play in the bubble restart, Los Angeles has scored at least 111 points in each of their last three games and beat the Blazers 135-115 in Game 4 on Monday. Anthony Davis is averaging 26.5 points and 9.5 boards in the playoffs while James is putting up 25.3 points, 10.3 boards and 10.3 assists per game. Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope are both averaging double figures in scoring and the Lakers look like near-locks to reach the conference finals at the very least.
The Clippers struggled in splitting their first four games against Dallas in their first round matchup, but their stunning 154-111 Game 5 win makes me believe they are going to be completely transformed for the better moving forward. Kawhi Leonard is averaging a stellar 32.8 points per game while Paul George showed up for the first time by delivering 35 points in Game 5 in just over 24 minutes. Just as important was the mental and on-court contributions of mean-mugging power forward Montrezl Harrell who put up 19 points and 11 rebounds in game 5. The Clippers have the deepest roster in the league and now, they suddenly look lock-in and that doesn’t bode well for all of their western conference counterparts.
The Bucks looked awful in their series-opening 122-110 loss against Orlando, but that must have been the wake-up call they’ve needed because they’ve won each of the last three games by at least 14 points. Milwaukee finished the regular season ranked first in scoring (118.7 ppg) and eighth in points allowed (108.6 ppg) and their defense has been on full display the last three games. Milwaukee is going to have their hands full with Miami and if they get past the Heat, they’re really going to be tested by either Toronto or Boston. If all-star Khris Middleton shows up, they Bucks will have a good snot to reach the finals. If he doesn’t, then Milwaukee can kiss their title hopes goodbye.
Toronto and Boston
I don’t know how else to say it, but I’m completely torn between the Raptors and Celtics as they get set for Game 1 of their series opener on Thursday. Toronto swept feisty Brooklyn in their first round series while Boston did likewise to underachieving Philadelphia in their playoff-opening series. The C’s have won three of four against the Raptors this season including a dominating 122-100 win inside the bubble on Aug. 7. Boston is ranked ninth in scoring (113.7 ppg) and second – to Toronto – in points allowed (107.3 ppg). The Celtics have a trio of 20-point per game scorers in Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Jaylen Brown while Toronto has gotten 21.3 points per game from Fred VanVleet, 20.8 points per contest from all-star Pascal Siakim and 19.3 points per game from veteran floor leader Kyle Lowry. While I’m going against my beloved Celtics and picking Toronto to come out of this series, the fact of the matter is that Boston could win this series and reach the NBA Finals this year. Either way, this series is going to be an all-out thriller and either one of these title favorites could represent the Eastern Conference in this year’s NBA Finals.
Maybe it’s the fact that the Heat were playing an undermanned Indiana squad that was missing all-star power forward Domantas Sabonis, but the Heat looked mostly great in their four-game sweep of the Pacers. While all-star forward Jimmy Butler is the unequivocal leader of the Heat, Miami has been led in scoring by veteran point guard Goran Dragic (22.8 ppg) while Butler has contributed 19.8 points per game. Tyler Herro is adding 16.5 points per contest and Bam Adebayo is putting up 15.0 points, 11.3 boards and 5.3 assist per contest. While I don’t believe Miami is going to upset Milwaukee and certainly not either Boston or Toronto, the Heat’s defense, toughness and mental fortitude, at least means they won’t quit against anyone.
Portland and Orlando
The Blazers have had a fantastic run to make the playoffs, but they are completely and utterly done against the Lakers after falling into a 3-1 hole. The same goes for an Orlando team that is simply too young and inexperienced to get past Milwaukee.
Clippers vs RaptorsI’m going with the Clippers and Raptors to meet in the NBA Finals for a couple of reasons. The Clippers have arguably the best player on the planet in Kawhi Leonard and the deepest roster in the entire NBA. Conversely, Toronto has an excellent roster of players that features youthful exuberance and savvy experience. Toronto’s defense is good enough to beat anyone, but I suspect that once each of these teams goes to their respective benches, Los Angeles will have the edge. L.A. simply has too much firepower to lose this year’s NBA Finals if you ask me!
Winner Pick: L.A. Clippers
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