Our Staff’s Favorite NBA Championship Bets: Is There Value in the Eastern Conference?
Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports. Pictured: The Toronto Raptors celebrate with the Larry O’Brien Championship Trophy after the 2019 NBA Finals.
- The 2019-20 NBA season tips off on Tuesday October 22.
- Our crew analyzes and picks their favorite NBA Title odds for the upcoming year.
Last season, the Warriors were expected to breeze through the NBA season and win a their third consecutive championship. Instead, they were suffered one too many injuries and were upended by a preseason longshot that was 18-1 to win it all.
One year the later, the NBA landscape has changed drastically and the race for the Larry O’Brien trophy is as wide open as it has been in recent memory.
The Los Angeles Clippers (+300) are the favorites in the preseason with their Staples Center rival Lakers (+500), the Milwaukee Bucks (+500), Philadelphia 76ers (+650) and Houston Rockets (+900) rounding out the top five.
Odds as of Monday afternoon and via PointsBet, where Action Network users can access an exclusive promotion to get a 200% deposit match (deposit $50, bet with $150).
Below our NBA crew analyzed and picked their favorite NBA championship futures bets for the 2019-20 season.
Staff Favorite NBA Title Bets
Matt Moore: Lakers (+500) and Rockets (+900)
Yes, I like to take multiple positions. Sue me, I’m a hedger.
There’s something with the Clippers that keeps giving me pause. I’m not sure what it is, yet, but I’m cautious there.
The Rockets have been the second-best team in the NBA the past three seasons (yeah, I said it, Cavs and Raptors fans) and come up short because of the Warriors … who are no longer the Warriors. So they’re the brain pick.
As far as the other side, a smart man once told me that the NBA is the only sport where you should bet the narrative. This season’s narrative is probably going to be “Lakers are back!”
Give me LeBron James with a wide-open field now that the Warriors are gone, with Anthony Davis looking to capitalize on his prime, and a supporting cast I think has been underrated in preseason analysis. I love this combo.
Wob: Utah Jazz (+1200)
I don’t think the Jazz have enough firepower to actually pull this off, but I have to keep reminding myself that I’m betting the number as much as I’m betting the teams.
The Utah Jazz are right there.
Every hole the team had the past couple of seasons — the lack of star power, the inability to get a half-court bucket when the spotlight was brightest — was plugged with the additions of Mike Conley Jr. and Bojan Bogdanovic.
Here’s my worry: What happens if either Conley, Gobert, or Donovan Mitchell go down with injury? The answer is Dante Exum will have to become the X-factor, something I feel like we’ve said for the past three seasons.
His inability to stay healthy gives me the heebie-jeebies. But on the contrary, if the Jazz are as good as many experts think they will be, the trade deadline goes both ways.
Imagine if they add even more help to this roster in February? That is a bet I’m willing to take. I truly believe the Jazz will shove all in because they don’t have the precedent to attract A-level superstars in free agency. They will make their move this year.
I don’t know how or when, but this team is going to get even better at some point. Live dog!
Bryan Mears: Philadelphia 76ers (+650)
I’ll be honest: I think it’s fair to have the Milwaukee Bucks pegged for more regular-season wins and the No. 1 seed as a result, but I don’t see a universe where they should be favored to make it to the Finals over a healthy 76ers team.
I get it. Milwaukee has Giannis Antetokounmpo, the reigning MVP and current favorite to repeat. It’s possible he clearly asserts himself as the best player in the world at some point soon as some of the other stars reach the end of their respective peaks. But let’s not pretend this roster is loaded.
It has talented players, sure, and the schemes on offense and defense are both strong ones for the regular season. It doesn’t have a lot of guys we can expect to take leaps, however, and it’s missing some key pieces from last season, notably Malcolm Brogdon.
Meanwhile, the Sixers are starting Ben Simmons, Josh Richardson, Tobias Harris, Al Horford and Joel Embiid. I mean, come on.
We’re so focused on Simmons’ shooting and Embiid’s health that we’re missing the forest for the trees — and the forest here is an absolutely loaded roster, especially with the main guys, who will handle most of the minutes in the playoffs.
We’re also seemingly underselling the additions of Richardson and Horford, who are perfect glue guys for what this team needs. Richardson is one of the league’s best perimeter defenders and has shown capable in a variety of offensive roles, and I don’t need to say anything about Horford, who has clearly proven himself as a winning player over the years.
I don’t think the Sixers are the most likely to win it if they played, say, the Clippers. But I do think they should be favored to come out of the East — perhaps even somewhat significantly — and thus are offering value on that bet plus their title odds.
I got the Sixers at +800 at Westgate, but betting them at this number now allows you to make decisions if they make the Finals on whether you want to let it right or hedge.
Brandon Anderson: Philadelphia 76ers (+650)
The Sixers have more size than anyone in a year when size appears to be en vogue, and they have the potential to be a nasty, dirty defensive team. There’s no more weak link to pick on in J.J. Redick, and rookie Matisse Thybulle only adds another layer off the bench.
This team has more shooting than it seems — think number of shooters, not volume — and they are a matchup nightmare with all that size.
The East is a two-horse race. Philly has bodies to throw at Giannis. They were confident they’d beat the Bucks last year and got better this summer while Milwaukee lost Brogdon and Nikola Mirotic.
Can the Sixers realistically win in the NBA Finals? That depends on how the offense develops. The Clips don’t have anyone who can stop Embiid, and the Lakers don’t have the guards to match up. The Sixers can win with size, strength, and defense.
The 76ers’ odds at Caesars (+900) were too juicy to pass up, but I still see value at their current number.