From 16-1 to the Top: How Leonard, George Moved Clippers to Title Favorites

From 16-1 to the Top: How Leonard, George Moved Clippers to Title Favorites article feature image

Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

  • With the Kawhi Leonard signing and Paul George on the way via trade, the Los Angeles Clippers are now favorites to win the 2020 NBA Championship.
  • Below is a tick-tock of how the Clippers' 2020 NBA title odds moved from 16-1 to 3-1.

The Westgate Las Vegas SuperBook opened odds to win the 2020 NBA Championship on May 4 — the same night that the Houston Rockets beat the Golden State Warriors in Game 3 of the Western Conference Semifinals. (Oh how the times have changed.)

The Warriors (+175) were the favorites, followed by the Milwaukee Bucks (+450) and Boston Celtics (+700).

More importantly, the Los Angeles Clippers were listed at 16-1, tied for sixth with none other than the New York Knicks. Now the Clippers are the new favorites to win the 2020 NBA title.

Let's take a look back at how their odds moved from 16-1 to 3-1.

(An explanation on the odds below: +350 means a $100 wager would profit $350, while +1000 means a $100 wager would net $1,000)

Opening 2020 NBA Title Odds

After NBA Draft Lottery

About two weeks after the NBA Draft lottery the Clippers moved from their opening odds of 16-1 all the way down to 7-1.

At 7-1 on May 27, the Clippers were already down to the third favorite to win the title behind just the Warriors and Bucks as the only three teams listed below 10-1.

For the Clippers, they wouldn't sniff double-digit odds again for another month as the market began to look at them as serious contenders to acquire a superstar (or two).

After NBA Finals

By the time we reached the end of the 2019 NBA Finals between the Warriors and Raptors, the Clippers were down to 6-1 — tied for the second-best odds in the league just behind the Lakers, who were priced at 5-1.

The Lakers were 10-1 three or four days prior to the end of the NBA Finals, but rumors of Anthony Davis and Kawhi Leonard to Hollywood began shifting the market.

At the time, four teams were listed under 10-1 to win the title, with the Lakers ahead of the pack by a slight margin.

At that point, 12 teams were listed at 20-1 or lower to win the 2020 title, with these four teams moving the most (none being a huge surprise):

  • Lakers: 20-1 to 5-1
  • Clippers: 16-1 to 6-1
  • Raptors: 20-1 to 10-1
  • Nets: 30-1 to 20-1

After Anthony Davis Signs with Lakers

Once the domino finally fell, the Lakers moved from 5-1 to 3-1 while many teams like the Knicks, Nets and Clippers saw their odds fall back with the news that LeBron James had found a running mate.

With Davis' move from New Orleans to LA, the Clippers saw their odds shift from 6-1 back to 7-1, simply due to the Lakers' odds shortening to 3-1 and the fact both teams are in the same division.

At the time of the trade, the Pelicans were 60-1 to win it all and their future odds did not move as the price had the departure of Davis already built in.

The 6th of Kawhi …

Early in the morning on July 6, the internet (and our #NBA slack channel) lost its collective mind after news broke that the Los Angeles Clippers were trading for Paul George and signing Kawhi Leonard to build an All-Star duo in the same arena as LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The Clippers' odds to win the 2020 title fell all the way to +300, making them the favorites to win the NBA Championship.

From reports that Kawhi was headed to the Lakers to build a new "Big 3," to the market reacting to him "99%" heading back to Toronto, bookmakers and bettors were simply caught off guard by Leonard the entire time.

Current 2020 NBA Title Odds

Now at a current price of +300, the Clippers and Bucks are the two favorites to win the 2020 NBA Championship, with the Lakers and Sixers the other two teams listed below 10-1.

The Raptors moved all the way back to 80-1 to win the title and the Thunder are now listed at 100-1 after trading Paul George to Los Angeles.

The Clippers and owner Steve Ballmer have finally landed their superstar and the market has taken notice. Over the last decade, the Clippers' odds to win the title have never looked so elegant … and short for that matter.

The @LAClippers odds to win the NBA title:

2009: +15000
2010: +10000
2011: +2000
2012: +2200
2013: +1400
2014: +1200
2015: +1200
2016: +3500
2017: +19000
2018: +40000

2019: +270 favorites ✅ (FanDuel)

— John Ewing (@johnewing) July 6, 2019

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