NBA Season Overview: West Is Best In Eyes Of Oddsmakers
Let's have a look at the current odds for the 2019-20 NBA Championship:
- Six of the top eight favorites to win the 2019-20 NBA Championship are Western Conference clubs
- The East hasn't won back-to-back titles since 2012-13
- LA's two teams - the Lakers (+300) and Clippers (+350) - are top two favorites to be 2019-20 NBA Champions
The Toronto Raptors made NBA history during the 2018-19 season. Toronto became the first NBA champions to reside outside of the United States. Getting history to repeat itself should prove to be a daunting challenge for the Raptors.
Toronto star Kawhi Leonard proved to be a one-and-done Raptor. Acquired in a summer 2018 trade with the San Antonio Spurs, after leading the Raptors to the NBA title and winning his second career NBA Finals MVP Award, Leonard bolted via free agency and signed with the Los Angeles Clippers.
Many NBA stars heeded the age-old advice of Horace Greeley and opted to head West - or least switch from one Western Conference team to another, in some cases.
The Oklahoma City Thunder traded Paul George to the Clippers to team with Leonard. The New Orleans Pelicans dealt Anthony Davis to the Los Angeles Lakers.
The Thunder also shipped Russell Westbook to the Houston Rockets, where he'll team with James Harden, giving the Rockets two players who've been both NBA scoring champion and league MVP. Meanwhile, the five-time defending Western Conference champion Golden State Warriors were decimated in the offseason.
Kevin Durant, Boogie Cousins and Andre Iguodala left via free agency.
All of this movement has left the West as the dominant conference in the NBA 2019-20 odds.
Six of the top eight teams in Bovada's 2019-20 NBA championship odds are based in the Western Conference.
NBA Eastern Conference Contenders
Last season's departure of LeBron James to the Lakers ended the four-year reign of the Cleveland Cavaliers over the NBA's Eastern Conference. With Leonard departing Toronto, the conference title again looks to be up for grabs.
These are the top contenders in the NBA betting odds, with betting lines provided by Bovada.
Milwaukee Bucks (+150)
With league MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo still in the fold, the Bucks, who posted the NBA's best regular-season record (60-22) but lost to Toronto in the East final will be a tough out. The Greek Freak is eligible for free agency at season's end, so he should be motivated to light it up again.
Philadelphia 76ers (+220)
On paper, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons look to be a great 1-2 punch but it never seems to mesh when it matters most. The addition of Al Horford to spell Embiid and Jason Richardson to bolster Philly's defense makes this a very intriguing team.
Brooklyn Nets (+1000)
The Nets added Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant, which like the Sixers, looks good on paper. But Irving has always been a me-first guy and Durant (Achilles tendon) may not play at all this season.
Toronto Raptors (+1100)
The joy in Toronto was sapped quickly when Leonard left town after the entire city spent a month begging him to stay. The Raptors also lost guard Danny Green to the Lakers. They're still good enough to make the playoffs, but that's it.
NBA Western Conference Contenders
The oddsmakers see the NBA's Western Conference being an LA story this season. The Los Angeles Lakers are favored to win the West. But just behnd them in the free NBA picks, the Los Angeles Clippers are the second betting choice.
A look at the Western Conference contenders according to Bovada.
Los Angeles Lakers (+200)
Adding LeBron last season couldn't even get the Lakers into the playoffs. Bringing aboard Davis gives them a second scoring threat but this still isn't a very deep team.
Los Angeles Clippers (+260)
The Clippers were already one of the toughest teams in the NBA to play against. Adding Leonard and George, an NBA defensive player of the year finalist last season, makes them all that more difficult to get past.
Houston Rockets (+500)
The Rockets are the NBA's perennial underachievers. Harden and Westbrook will either be a fantastic pairing, or the most dysfuncational marriage since Madonna and Sean Penn. Is there enough ball to keep both of these shooters happy?
Golden State Warriors (+550)
With their personnel losses and the absence of Klay Thompson (ACL surgery) for most of the regular season, Steph Curry will need to post MVP-like numbers in order to keep the Warriors relevant.
Utah Jazz (+850)
A backcourt of Donovan Mitchell and Mike Conley behind NBA defensive player of the year Rudy Gobert is intriguing. But the Jazz sitll have to prove that they can hum with the big dogs.
Denver Nuggets (+1100)
A team with Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray can't be completely counted out. There's a school of thought the Denver will be the NBA's next great team. But it probably won't happen this season.
NBA Finals Outcome
Two teams that have been on the cusp of greatness for some time now will finally get over the hump this season and get it done in the NBA betting odds.
The Golden State Warriors have been the only team to stop the Rockets (+850) in the playoffs in recent springs. Golden State won't be a problem this season, so James Harden and Russell Westbrook wiil find themselves in the NBA Finals.
They'll face a 76ers (+750) team that has also seen its nemesis the Raptors neutered. Philly gets there for the first time since 2001 but just as was the case that year against the Lakers, Houston will prove to be a problem for the Sixers.
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