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NBA Championship outright odds (As of February 13)
Los Angeles Lakers: 3.50
Milwaukee Bucks: 3.70
Los Angeles Clippers: 4.00
Houston Rockets: 16.00
Utah Jazz: 17.00
Denver Nuggets: 22.00
Toronto Raptors: 24.00
The Lakers are heading into the All-Star break as the top-ranked team in the NBA’s Western Conference, their 0.774 record is second only to the Milwaukee Bucks. Even if the Lakers lost their last game before the All-Star break against the Denver Nuggets, they would still have a two-game cushion over the two teams that trail them in the standings, the Clippers, and Nuggets.
The Lakers showed how dominant they can be on the defensive end in their win over the Phoenix Suns on Monday. Not only did they hold the Suns to 100 points — 10 points below their season average — but they also held Devin Booker to a season-low 10 points on 18.2% shooting in just over 31 minutes. In all fairness to the Suns, they were a little shorthanded, but when the Lakers are locked in defensively like they were on Monday, it almost doesn’t matter who’s on the other end of the floor.
Since getting in Anthony Davis in the preseason, the Lakers have looked like a different outfit. His partnership with LeBron James has been delightful to watch and envious if you are from the opponent’s camp. Playing alongside each other has brought the best out of them. Although well past his prime, LeBron James is still among the top players in the league and has complemented well with Davis. Davis’ impact on the defensive end of the court has put in the Defensive Player of the Year conversation.
As of Thursday, LeBron had odds of 7.50 to win the regular-season MVP award, and Davis had odds of 1.34 to take the Defensive Player of the Year award, at PlayNow.com
Another team vying for the NBA Championship is the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks have bullied their way to a 46-8 record heading the All-Star break. The biggest contributor the Bucks success has been Giannis Antetokounmpo, an offensive system unto himself. Antetokounmpo’s ability to teleport in transition—or in the half-court—draws the eyes of multiple defenders at a time.
The Bucks lost a few key players from their 2018-19 team over the summer. Malcolm Brogdon signed with the Indiana Pacers, Nikola Mirotic left the NBA to join FC Barcelona, and Pau Gasol took his talents to the Portland Trail Blazers. However, the Bucks still have a very strong supporting cast surrounding their star Giannis. They re-signed Giannis’ second fiddle Khris Middleton to a new deal, found room in the budget to re-sign Brook Lopez and George Hill, and added Robin Lopez, Wesley Matthews, Kyle Korver, and Giannis’ brother Thanasis Antetokounmpo. All these players are having an impressive season - truly adding to the notion that the Bucks look like a Championship winning team.
Bettors are bullish on Giannis winning the regular-season MVP award, over 88 percent of the money wagered is on him. As of Thursday the Bucks had odds of 3.70 to win the NBA Championship.
Heading into the 2019/2020 season very few people believed that the Raptors would be able to defend their title after Kawhi Leonard’s departure, however, the Raptors have silenced all the critics! The Toronto Raptors just ended a franchise-best 15-game winning streak, and are about to head into the All-Star Break with roughly the same record (40-14) they had this time last year (43-16), when superstar Kawhi Leonard was on the team.
While the Milwaukee Bucks have largely run away from everyone for the East’s top seed, Toronto sits just two games back in the loss column of the Lakers for the NBA’s second-best mark. As of Thursday, the Raptors had odds of 24.00 to win the NBA Championship, over 11 percent of the money wagered on the outright market is on them.