The day has finally arrived.
Following nearly five months of inaction, the NBA is ready to tip off and resume its season — along with much-anticipated NBA betting. In the bubble of Orlando, Florida, 22 teams are set to continue their quest for the ultimate prize: The NBA Finals championship.
The season resumes tonight as the Utah Jazz and New Orleans Pelicans kick things off at 6:30 p.m. EST, followed by the Clippers and Lakers at 9 p.m. EST.
Realistically, though, only three teams seem worthy of lifting the Larry O’Brien Trophy. When it comes to NBA betting, these three teams have been odds-on favorites to win the title since the season’s onset: the Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers.
How the NBA betting odds look
It may not be overly risky, or even fun for non-fans, to put some money down on one of these teams. But if sportsbooks have any say, they are your best shot at pocketing some cash in the world of legalized sports betting.
And regardless, history will be made if any one of these three franchises is the last one standing.
For starters, should LeBron James win with the Lakers or Kawhi Leonard come out victorious with the Clippers, they will become the first players to win championships with three different teams.
Sure, the Lakers have worn the crown 16 times already. Another championship, however, would push Showtime into a tie with the rival Boston Celtics for the most NBA titles.
The Bucks, meanwhile, have just one championship, claimed in 1971, and the franchise hasn’t returned to the big stage in 46 years. And the Clippers, well, they haven’t even PLAYED in a Finals series.
|DraftKings Sportsbook||FanDuel Sportsbook|
|Milwaukee Bucks +250||Milwaukee Bucks +240|
|Los Angeles Lakers +250||Los Angeles Lakers +260|
|Los Angeles Clippers +333||Los Angeles Clippers +320|
Which team gets your bet?
Certainly, bettors will seek out best-value wagers, the teams that will return maximum payouts for a reasonable price. For those looking for a more sure thing, these are the three teams to consider.
Milwaukee Bucks (53-12)
The Bucks sit as the favorites at most sportsbooks. And for good reason.
Giannis Antetokounmpo is on his way to a second straight MVP title, averaging career highs in points (29.6) and rebounds (13.7), and is a serious contender to add Defensive Player of the Year to his resume to become the third player in NBA history to win both titles in the same season.
To boot, Khris Middleton is averaging a career-best 21.1 points and 6.2 boards while shooting a career-high 49.9% from the field.
As a whole, Milwaukee is intimidating. The Bucks had the Toronto Raptors on the ropes in the Eastern Conference Finals a year ago, leading 2-0. If not for some stellar clutch genes from Leonard and the Raps, perhaps it would be Milwaukee entering the restart as defending champs as opposed to their friend to the north.
Somehow, the Bucks are better this year, leading the league in scoring (118.6 points per game) and opponents’ field goal percentage (41.3), while ranking second for shooting (47.7%) and third in blocks (6.0).
By no means is taking Milwaukee to win it all a boring pick.
Los Angeles Lakers (49-14)
This may be the best defensive team James has ever been on. And you know what they say about defenses and championships.
Of course, the King is putting up King-like numbers: 25.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, a career-high and league-leading 10.6 assists per game. And no doubt he is in consideration for his fifth MVP as he seeks his fourth NBA title.
But Anthony Davis has bolstered this squad. To go along with 26.7 points and 9.4 boards, the Defensive Player of the Year candidate is tied for second with 2.4 blocks and also records 1.5 steals per game.
Opponents have struggled against the Lakers, to say the least. Los Angeles ranks third in defensive points per game (106.9), sixth in opponents’ field goal percentage (44.4) and first in rejections (6.8).
While the Lakers will miss the likes of Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley, they still feature Kyle Kuzma, Alex Caruso and a resurgent Dwight Howard. Even new addition J.R. Smith could provide some lift, especially if he gets hot from 3-point land or doesn’t forget how much time is on the clock.
Los Angeles Clippers (44-20)
Soon, the Clippers will be back to full strength. Hopefully, for their sake, that time will come sooner rather than later.
During the last week of scrimmages in Orlando, Los Angeles was without five of its top 10 players due to family-related issues, illnesses, completing required quarantine times or violating league protocols by grabbing a basket of wings at a certain Atlanta establishment for gentlemen.
The question is not about talent or ability. In fact, when even reasonably healthy, the Clippers run deep.
At the top, Leonard is enjoying a career-high year, averaging 26.9 points, 7.3 rebounds and 5.0 assists. Alongside him, Paul George scores at a 21-point clip. And off the bench sit two Sixth Man of the Year candidates: Montrezl Harrell (18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds) and Lou Williams (18.7 points, 5.7 assists).
Again, the question is not about skill. Rather, it is about if the Clippers can put all their pieces together at the right time.