Well, MyBookie NBA basketball betting faithful, bubble or no bubble, the 2020 NBA playoffs are off to a thrilling start. With the 2020 NBA postseason heading into its third day of action and every team in the postseason having taken the court once thus far, now is a perfect time to offer up some expert analysis on the top title favorites that are ‘really’ worth your wager to win it all. With that said, here is a look at my top five favorites to hoist the 2019-2020 Larry O’Brien Trophy, along with their NBA Playoffs odds.
2020 NBA Playoffs: Favorites to Bet On
No. 5 Milwaukee Bucks +250
Sure, Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks went 3-5 record in the bubble before looking equally as pedestrian in their stunning, 122-110 loss against Orlando in their first round series opener on Tuesday, but there’s hope that Milwaukee can bounce back and eventually make it out of the Eastern Conference.
While the Bucks became the 13th No. 1 seed to drop the opening game of a best-of-seven-game series, nine of those 12 top seeds came back to win the series. Then, there’s the fact that, after stunning top-seeded Toronto in their playoff opener a year ago, Orlando then suffered four straight defeats while the Raptors would go on to win it all.
Milwaukee will need much better performances from Khris Middleton after he shot an uninspiring 4-for-12 for 14 points in the opener and they’ll need more offense out of big man Brook Lopez who was held to a paltry five points. Still, Milwaukee has plenty of depth and veteran leadership with guys like Wesley Matthews, George Hill and Eric Bledsoe among others. Though you wouldn’t know it as of late, the Bucks also finished first in scoring (118.7 ppg) and eighth in points allowed (108.6 ppg). If Milwaukee was the best team in the league during the regular season and if they get their act together, I think they could still come out of the east, though they aren’t my top pick – or even second pick – in the Eastern Conference, to do so.
No. 4 Los Angeles Lakers +250
LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers are an awful 3-6 in the bubble including Tuesday night’s humbling 100-93 loss against Damian Lillard and the Portland Trailblazers. Still, L.A. looks like they a team that could make it to the finals at the very least for a handful of reasons. First, they are led by the incomparable James, who had a fantastic series opener by putting up 23 points, 17 rebounds and 16 assists to record his 24th career playoff triple-double, second all time to Magic Johnson (30). Then, there’s the fact that the Lakers have another unadulterated superstar in power forward Anthony Davis, who scored a team-high 28 points while adding 11 rebounds.
But then, the problems start as I previously stated in this article. Los Angeles gets 51.4 points per game from their dynamic duo, but then there’s a significant drop-off as Kyle Kuzma is L.A.’s third leading scorer at a modest 12.8 points per contest. LA shot a dismal 35.1% against the Blazers in their opener to finish with the second-lowest 3-point percentage by a team with at least 30 3-point attempts in a playoff game in NBA history. Outside of Kuzma’s 14 points, only Danny Green reached double figures in scoring against Portland by finishing with 10 points – on 4 of 12 shooting. The Lakers should get back veteran point guard Rajon Rondo soon, and if they get past dangerous Portland, I believe their path to the finals will get easier – until they face the Clippers in the conference final that is.
No. 3 Boston Celtics +1250
If they get past super-difficult Philly in the opening round, Boston’s road to the finals could actually get easier as the Sixers represent arguably their most difficult team to face in the Eastern Conference. The C’s went a solid 5-3 in their eight bubble games before outlasting Philly 109-101 in their playoff opener on Monday night. While Sixers all-star center Joel Embiid had his way on the night, the deeper Celtics prevailed and it is that same depth that I believe could carry them to the finals at the very least. Boston – and only Boston – has three, 20-point scorers on their roster in the still-blossoming Jayson Tatum (23.4 ppg), and Jaylen Brown (20.3 ppg) while veteran point guard Kemba walker (20.4 ppg) is starting to look better after recently returning from a knee injury. The C’s rank an encouraging ninth in scoring (113.7 ppg) and have the league’s second stingiest defense by limiting the opposition to 107.3 points per contest. While the loss of Gordon Hayward will certainly make life more difficult moving forward, Boston’s offensive balance, cohesiveness and willingness to play defense makes them my No. 3 pick to win it all.
No. 2 Toronto Raptors +850
It’s not Toronto’s series-opening 134-110 smackdown over a clearly overmatched Brooklyn Nets squad in their playoff opener that makes me believe the Raptors have an excellent shot of reaching – and winning – this season’s NBA Finals. It’s not the fact that the Raptors are a blistering 8-1 inside the bubble. No, it’s the fact that Toronto is a team that is cohesive, smart, tough-minded and clearly lacking in respect when it comes to their prime time performers.
Toronto has already beaten the likes of top title contenders like the Lakers, Heat, Bucks, Sixers and Nuggets during their restart campaign. The Raptors hit the postseason ranked a solid 15th in scoring while owning the league’s best defense by limiting the opposition to 106.5 points per game. More importantly, Toronto has a whopping six players that all average double figures in scoring – and one of the best backcourts in the league in heady veteran Kyle Lowry and sweet-shooting backcourt partner Fred VanVleet. Team scoring leader Pascal Siakim is still blossoming and the Raptors have some excellent complimentary role players in Normal Powell, Serge Ibaka, O.G. Anunoby and Marc Gasol. Toronto is dangerous – and my No. 2 pick to \win it all.
No. 1 Los Angeles Clippers +275
While the Clippers went a modest 5-3 inside the bubble before getting past Dallas 118-110 in their playoff opener on Monday night, I believe the best is yet to come for the deepest team in the league. Not only does L.A. have a two-time finals MVP in team leader Kawhi Leonard (27.1 ppg) and another all-star in veteran small forward Paul George (21.5 ppg), but they have four other players that all average in double figures in scoring and four more that out up at least 6.8 points per game, not to mention, two of the top Sixth Man of the Year contenders in Montrezl Harrell (18.6 ppg) and Lou Williams (18.2 pp).
The Clippers can score the ball with any team in the league as they rank fourth in points per game (116.3 ppg) and they have a defense that finished the regular season ranked 13th in points allowed (109.9 ppg) and one that I believe will be infinitely better as we move further into the postseason as evidenced by the fact that they forced Mavs superstar Luka Doncic into a whopping 11 turnovers on Monday. The Clippers are fully healthy and they are hungry, making them my top pick to win the 2020 NBA Championship.