The sports world came to a screeching halt three months ago. As the coronavirus pandemic rapidly spread, a prominent player in the NBA tested positive for COVID-19.
After that player, Rudy Gobert, tested positive on March 11, the game between his Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder was postponed. Before the day ended, the NBA scrapped the remainder of the scheduled season with hopes of resuming it at a later date.
For weeks, uncertainty abounded as to whether the 2019-20 season would ever conclude — if the season would have a champion at all.
Now it appears we will, as the NBA will pick up play starting July 31 with an NBA Finals champion decided by October 12. As such, NBA betting will certainly become more active at legal sportsbooks across the country.
NBA plan to monitor, prevent coronavirus
The NBA’s board of governors approved the league’s proposal June 4 — by a whopping 29-1 margin, and approved a day later by the National Basketball Players Association — to resume the season in Orlando, Florida, with 22 of 30 teams expected to take part.
Adam Silver, commissioner of the NBA, and the league’s advisory/finance committee pitched the idea to teams to play at the Walt Disney World Resort, a plan that would include 13 Western Conference teams and nine Eastern Conference franchises.
Per Adrian Wojnarowski, Senior NBA Insider for ESPN, the NBA and the NBPA remain in negotiations regarding safety protocols and competition.
That said, players and coaches will need to maintain proper social distancing when out golfing or eating at restaurants. Beyond that, the NBA intends to conduct uniform, daily testing on campus at Disney. Any positive tests would result in those individuals to be quarantined and treated while the league continues to test other members of that team as play continues.
Disney employees must maintain similar protocols and will not be allowed in players’ rooms while hallways will be monitored to avoid crowding.
How the NBA will look in Orlando
Invited teams will start training at team sites in July before moving on to full training camps in Orlando. As noted, the format includes 13 teams from the Western Conference and nine from the Eastern Conference.
The list includes the top eight teams in each conference as well as any team that was within six games of eighth place when the season paused:
|Western Conference||Eastern Conference|
|Los Angeles Lakers||Milwaukee Bucks|
|Los Angeles Clippers||Toronto Raptors|
|Denver Nuggets||Boston Celtics|
|Utah Jazz||Miami Heat|
|Oklahoma City Thunder||Indiana Pacers|
|Houston Rockets||Philadelphia 76ers|
|Dallas Mavericks||Brooklyn Nets|
|Memphis Grizzlies||Orlando Magic|
|Portland Trail Blazers||Washington Wizards|
|New Orleans Pelicans|
|San Antonio Spurs|
As Wojnarowski reported ahead of the NBA announcement, teams will compete in eight regular-season games that will lead up to a play-in tournament featuring the eighth- and ninth-seeded teams in each conference. Such a scenario would only occur if the ninth seed finishes the regular season within four games of the eighth seed.
Should this situation arise, the No. 8 team would only need to win once to advance, while the No. 9 would need back-to-back victories.
NBA betting odds
As players get ready to report to training camps in anticipation of the resumed season, legal sportsbooks across the country have reposted futures odds for this year’s champ.
Certainly, not all lines will be the same, but the trend at the top will all look similar in terms of favorites:
- Milwaukee Bucks
- Los Angeles Lakers
- Los Angeles Clippers
As for the full field of 22 teams, here are the odds as of June 5 courtesy of FanDuel Sportsbook and DraftKings Sportsbook.
|FanDuel Sportsbook||DraftKings Sportsbook|
|Milwaukee Bucks +240||Los Angeles Lakers +250|
|Los Angeles Lakers +270||Milwaukee Bucks +250|
|Los Angeles Clippers +340||Los Angeles Clippers +333|
|Houston Rockets +1200||Houston Rockets +1300|
|Boston Celtics +2000||Boston Celtics +2200|
|Toronto Raptors +2400||Toronto Raptors +2200|
|Denver Nuggets +2500||Denver Nuggets +3000|
|Miami Heat +2700||Miami Heat +3000|
|Philadelphia 76ers +2700||Philadelphia 76ers +3000|
|Utah Jazz +2900||Utah Jazz +3300|
|Dallas Mavericks +3600||Dallas Mavericks +4000|
|Brooklyn Nets +6000||Brooklyn Nets +8000|
|Indiana Pacers +10000||Indiana Pacers +10000|
|Oklahoma City Thunder +10000||Oklahoma City Thunder +10000|
|New Orleans Pelicans +12000||New Orleans Pelicans +12500|
|Memphis Grizzlies +21000||Portland Trail Blazers +17000|
|Portland Trail Blazers +21000||Memphis Grizzlies +25000|
|San Antonio Spurs +21000||San Antonio Spurs +25000|
|Orlando Magic +25000||Orlando Magic +30000|
|Phoenix Suns +25000||Phoenix Suns +30000|
|Sacramento Kings +25000||Sacramento Kings +30000|
|Washington Wizards +25000||Washington Wizards +30000|
You’ll also be able to bet on the 2020 NBA Draft, likely taking place this fall.